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by Carolyn Hudson
on 01-09-2020

5 Essential Business Trade Show Tools

5 Essential Business Trade Show Tools


When attending a trade show you should be thinking about your return on investment at all stages so you are positioning your time and resources wisely.

A trade show is extremely valuable. There are certain activities that will ensure your return on investment is maximised, for example face to face opportunities with potential clients, the chance to answer any questions and deal with objections to buying your product or service, capturing leads and making new contacts during activities throughout the day.

You have a great opportunity to enforce your branding and business personality off-site too, as the environment is less formal and the atmosphere is exciting and positive!

Here are five tools to use at trade shows to ensure maximum potential for your business or organisation.

Lead Capturing

How are you going to follow up with businesses after the event? How will you get in touch with a potential customer for your business?

Here are some ways you can capture information to ensure you are not missing out on opportunities.

• Paper forms - enter details for competitions or prizes, interest in products or services
• Business cards – drop into boxes or bowls to enter a promotion
• Use of scanning apps to record information from business cards
• Check out the feature on LinkedIn’s app ‘LinkedIn Code’ – scan a profile’s code to connect or show your own code to scan
• Utilise an app like iCapture to capture data from tickets or badges
Remember - always make sure you have the correct permissions in place when using paper forms or when capturing electronic data in terms of GDPR regulations.

Engaging with other stands

In a business to business trade show, there are already so many potential opportunities in the close vicinity to you! Take the time to visit all other stands and make conversation with the people who are representing the businesses being promoted.

This is straight forward if you have a team representing your business on the day, however you can make arrangements to organise this activity if you are going it alone!

If you are running your own stall then make contact with other stands during a quieter time. Leave an option on your stand to leave details or take information, or you could team up with the stand next to yours and cover for each other so you can facilitate engaging with stands and not miss any opportunities to network.

Over time, relationships can be built – be interested in their business journey and enter any competitions they are holding. Look up their business on social media and be social, tag or mention when creating content surrounding the event.

Visual tools

You have the perfect opportunity at a trade show to raise the visibility of your products and services. Information can be given directly into the hand of a prospective customer and hopefully create that sale! Create visual tools that will not only create an impression on the day and target potential clients, but ones that can leave a lasting impression and trigger another touch-point after the event has finished.

• Pop-up banners with logos, contact details and relevant imagery and branding
• Business cards
• Leaflets giving further information on your business services
• Screens showing presentations and videos
• Product pricing and examples

Of course, if you sell edible or drinkable products then this is a fantastic tool to use at a trade show, for example testers and samples.

Interactive activities

Engaging your visitors is a good way make you - as a business - more approachable. Offering an interactive activity encourages conversation and brings the human side of the business to the forefront as it breaks the ice.

Competitions which involve questions or quizzes, or involve the people or local area surrounding the business can be useful.

Demonstrations of products or services maybe involving use of a tablet or laptop, or testing a piece of equipment helps the potential customer get to know your business and whether it might be a good fit for them.

Simple things that can be ordered online like scratch cards with a prize can liven up a dry topic of business.

If your business has free tools for customers you could demonstrate those eg quotes or free advice tools. Helping your potential customers use your website obviously has its advantages and provides another touch-point, showing your expertise and building trust.

Interactive activities

Engaging your visitors is a good way make you - as a business - more approachable. Offering an interactive activity encourages conversation and brings the human side of the business to the forefront as it breaks the ice.

Competitions which involve questions or quizzes, or involve the people or local area surrounding the business can be useful.

Demonstrations of products or services maybe involving use of a tablet or laptop, or testing a piece of equipment helps the potential customer get to know your business and whether it might be a good fit for them.

Simple things that can be ordered online like scratch cards with a prize can liven up a dry topic of business.

If your business has free tools for customers you could demonstrate those eg quotes or free advice tools. Helping your potential customers use your website obviously has its advantages and provides another touch-point, showing your expertise and building trust.

Merchandise

Branded merchandise is the perfect way to engage visitors to your stand as you can offer something to people straight away, therefore eliminating the sales pitch. There’s so much to choose from with merchandise – pens, branded sweets, key rings, drinks cups, note pads, and so on.

Making up goody-bags is a fantastic way to promote your business during the trade show and hopefully long after, if you provide a bag that is branded, re-usable and durable. Where your visitor goes, your business is advertised!

Useful tech merchandise seems popular – webcam covers, branded memory devices, bank card holders, and charging hubs can raise your visibility and fulfil a task for a lead or customer at the same time! This is an excellent way of raising awareness and building consistent visibility plus these can be a talking point.

Sustainable products made from reusable or organic materials can convey a positive message about your business and its practices.

About Author

Carolyn Hudson
Relationship Manager , B2B Growth Hub Limited

I am a postitive, tenacious, highly motivated and self driven person and have a consistant and proven track record of success and over achievements in sales, marketing and business consultancy. I have a wealth of experience working across all business sectors and worked for large corporates extensiv...