Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Preparing for an EXPO

Will you be exhibiting this year at the 28th Annual BUY LEHIGH VALLEY EXPO presented by the Women’s Business Council of the Chamber? Here are some suggestions to support you during this and other expos that you might be considering.

1. Be perfectly clear about what it is you want to achieve by the end of this specific conference. You are networking to a targeted audience. How many cold leads do you want to gather? How many warm leads?

2. People like to do business with folks they know and trust. How will you gain that in a room with how many other vendors????

3. Draw schemata of what your booth will look like? Where are your entrance points? Your exit points? Above all NEVER SIT DOWN - be prepared to greet your customers.

4. If possible, get an end unit near where the flow of traffic will be. The first row towards the main entrance may be tough because of congestion. If there's a reception area, or a breakout area, location near that may be optimal - you may experience a burst of folks but it's manageable.

5. If you can, put your exhibit behind you and stand in front of your space. Interacting over a table is awkward.

6. Make your space inviting. Colors intrigue people - but use them sparingly.

7. Pretend it's Halloween. You're gonna have the folks who want goodies. They may be the grab and go's. Have a tchotchke that people will want and make sure your tagline and contact info are on there.

8. They may or may not permit selling on the floor. If you have books, CD's or other collateral/products that you are bringing out, remember, you'll have to bring home whatever you don't distribute. Do you have a merchant card account for charge sales? Are you prepared to take cash? Will you accept checks?

9. Offer mini-samples of sessions, if you can. I usually put something up to the effect 10 minute laser sessions available. Have a timer. Have a sign-up sheet.

10. You are there to spread the word about your business and collect warm leads. If you have a drawing, you can easily collect business cards. Make your give-away something of value that individuals who are unfamiliar with your profession will want-to-win.

11. If possible, ask the host organization to provide the name of other professionals in your industry who have participated in the past. Ask for a reference.
Just as we provide references, if you are investing in this costly venture, you'd like someone else's opinion about that particular conference. Then, you have to put it in perspective and see if it will work for you and or your needs.

12. Your residuals. What will you do with the names you've collected? Did you mark your business cards that you collected with some defining information? How about a sign-up sheet for your e-newsletter? What is the burning offer that you can suggest to those folks -a free webinar? A white paper? What will you give them in an email you send out two days after the conference ends? How will you capitalize on your new found friends? Is your newsletter ready to go before you leave? What are some highlights you can share with your new audience?

Your de-brief won't be complete until at least a week after your offer has expired. BUT, you should sit down and write what you liked; noticed what others were doing that brought in crowds. You don't want all of the Halloweeners; but you do want warm leads. What might you do differently next time?

Again, a week after your offer expires be prepared to send something of noteworthiness, a link to a great article you read - something to build up that trust - to demonstrate you are aware of the problems they are facing and offering solutions.

©2013 Kayte Connelly CCT, Best Principled Solutions LLC, is a leadership coach and organizational consultant. Best Principled Solutions LLC is the founding member of the Greater Lehigh Valley Leadership Consortium which will be hosting the 2013 Chick-fil-A Leadercast on May 10 at DeSales University. For more information, go to www.bestprincipledsolutions.com, http://tinyrul.com/CFALeadercast or write kayte@bestprincipledsolutions.com.

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