Tim Patterson never set out to be known as The Trade Show Guy. He happened upon this as a result of his people skills. Fast forward to today, and he is the “go to” guy for all things tradeshow booths.
The Tradeshow Guy came from a 25+ year radio career and moved into the tradeshow world in 2002.
To learn about the industry when he started, Tim interviewed experts in the field and created what is now one of the most popular podcast shows, TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, that addresses topics to do with tradeshow success.
He started his own company TradeshowGuy Exhibits in 2011. Tim’s been helping companies such as Bob’s Red Mill, Dave’s Killer Bread, Schmidt’s Naturals and others with design and fabrication of tradeshow exhibits and logistical support.
Tim’s also been blogging for over eleven years at TradeshowGuyBlog.com, where you’ll find his weekly vlog/podcast TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee.
Hub for all information is at www.tradeshowguy.net
A few of the highlights from our conversation are listed below. To get the full interview go to…
Foundation for Success
- Understand that marketing can be expensive when participating in trade shows.
- Do your homework to figure out costs including staff, travel, booth space, and all the miscellaneous items.
- Determine how customized your booth will be. The more you customize, the higher the investment.
- Marketing costs before, during and after a show.
- Make sure you are going to the right show for the goals you have.
When you first start out, it may be a great idea to attend a show to get a feel for what’s going on. But once you make that decision to attend, commit to it.
When you select the right show, your audience will be there. You need to be prepared.
Statistics indicate that over 80% of leads are never followed up on. Have systems in place for your follow up. Prepare your staff for the follow up.
Is the sales team on board? If they don’t think the leads are good, they likely won’t follow up. This is a huge mistake. You never know when you will hit the target.
Make Your “Booth Time” Engaging
Staff training is essential to create interest in your booth. Avoid being on cell phones, talking among staff and ignoring the attendees and watch body language. Unless it’s a food show, don’t eat at the booth. Even then, staff should not be eating.
Ask engaging questions. More than, “Why are you here?”
Ask questions to get people involved. You are looking to qualify people with your questions. You are also looking to disqualify them. If they are not a good lead, it doesn’t make sense to follow up. However, if they are a great lead, you need to have a plan in place.
- Postcards to clients with your booth number.
- Send something they need to bring by the booth to redeem for a gift.
- Email clients ahead of time
- Announce in your newsletter
- Post on your website
- Integrate social media marketing
Private Gatherings at the Show Site
It may be beneficial to have a private VIP gathering. This is based on budget and preparation.
If you have a presence there already, a private gathering can be very effective.
Where is the best spot on the trade show floor?
Find out what Tim Patterson recommends for the best location when exhibiting. You may be surprised at his answer.
Swag – Worth it or not?
Find out if giving out swag is a good investment. There are some items that are very popular, and people do keep. Other things, they toss. Determine the best use of your budget.
One way to increase your ROI is through collaborative partnerships. Find out when it’s a good idea and when it’s not.
Goals for the Show
Tim Patterson makes recommendations on how to set realistic and effective goals for your participation in a show.
Hands down, this will be one of the most important interviews you listen to if you plan to participate in tradeshows.
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