Man Is A Social Animal, Trade shows Are No Exception!
posted Nov 20 2017
You are an exhibitor at a trade show. You have the most comprehensive plan ready, you have a strategy and you have insights. However, you are so involved in following the step-by-step guide that you forget to look around and observe.
What experiences teach you, no book can. Referring to blogs, industry insights and trends, whitepapers might be a faster process, but what experiences and people teach you, it will always be wiser. It may be soft learning, which may seem unmeasurable, but holds much more value.
No amount of technology can match what human interactions are capable of. And that’s the reason, when at a trade show, you must interact with the other exhibitors, and not just work in isolation.
Watch and learn
They may come across as competition, but you can always “watch and learn”, especially if you are a first timer. Meeting them or at least observing will give you the answers to some of these questions:
- Are they just handing over tchotchkes to the visitors or are their giveaways more exclusive?
- How are their sales professionals behaving?
- Are the people manning the booth being proactively interactive, or are they rather waiting for the visitors to come over and talk to them?
Take notes but keep in mind that everything that works for them may not definitely work for you.
A two-way street
If you are exhibiting at say ABC trade show, and considering to exhibit at XYZ in future. XYZ may sound the ideal plan on papers, but is it practically worth your effort and time? This is where other exhibitors could be helpful. Get intel on industry trends. Have they been to XYZ before? What was their experience like?
Besides that, if the bond develops, you can compare daily insights of the ongoing show–statistics about the median age, gender, and the work profiles or positions. It has to be a “give and take” scenario, and you must reciprocate.
However, don’t get discouraged if some are not very keen on talking, keep going on and you will find a few friendly beings in every show.
Be social, not clingy
Engaging in a full-on conversation is not recommended; the passersby will mistake it for a meeting and may give your booth a miss, not wanting to “interrupt”.
Also, try and avoid visiting another booth when a potential customer is already there. Your visit will be seen as an impolite distraction, and would give the other booth exhibitors the impression that they can freely behave with you in a similar fashion.
Also, don’t even think about soliciting others’ customers, or make an attempt to contact them in the aisle, as they walk towards a booth. Rely on your own ethical tactics like in-booth presentations, live streaming, Q&A sessions and distribution of environment-friendly yet useful giveaways, but DO NOT “poach”. It’s not only in poor taste but would also give your company a bad reputation.
If you interact with other exhibitors, it’s a sign of your farsightedness, and quite a positive one for that matter. You need to look beyond the show. Every little information you gather may go a long way in preparing you for the future.