You just returned from your first trade show. You are both tired and excited. You have plenty of leads to call. You are anxious to start dialing.
But before you start making any calls, what did you learn from the trade show? What were the key takeaways?
It’s always a good idea to sit down with others who attended the show with you and analyze how well you did, and how you could improve at the next show.
1). Did you obtain the number of leads that you expected? If you have gone to the same trade show in the past, that should be a good measuring stick on how well you did. If you fell short this year compared to last year, what happened? Was attendance down compared to last year? Were you in a bad location? Was your booth too small? Did you have enough people managing the booth this year compared to last year? Could you have done a better job publicizing the event prior to exhibiting at the show?
If this is the first time your company attended the trade show, did it meet your expectations? If not, what do you think happened? Would you attend the same event next year?
Sometimes it’s not the quantity but the quality of the leads that matter. Sure, maybe you had fewer leads than expected or the year before, but if you need a better job this year qualifying your leads, you may actually obtain better sales.
2). Exhibit Booth Location. Were you in a location with good walk-thru traffic? If not, is there a better location that you can select for next year? At most trade shows that I’ve attended, the prime location is always near the front entrance. However, that location is usually expensive. The next best location is at a corner, or near a heavy walk thru area like the rest rooms or food court area. Depending on the number of exhibitors, booth location may not make much of a difference. For example, I’ve attended trade shows where you only had 15 to 20 booths. So no matter where you were located, you would expect prospects to eventually stop by.
3). Exhibit Booth Size. Was your booth large enough to attract more prospects? If not, does it make sense to make the booth larger next year? At larger trade shows were you have 50 or more exhibitors, and 5,000 plus attendees, size does matter. Depending on the length of the trade show, not all attendees are going to have time visiting each booth. So if you have a larger booth, have more displays, and have more literature, you stand a better chance of attending more prospects.
4). Pre Show Publicity. Did you do enough to publicize that your company was exhibiting at the trade show? Did you promote the event well on your website? Did you send out enough emails to your clients and prospects before the show? Did you use social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook) effectively prior to exhibiting at the show? If you were lucky enough to obtain the attendee list prior to the show, did you do an effective job publicizing your booth? Would it have been a good idea calling attendees prior to the show?
5). Enough Booth Coverage. Did you have enough people working the booth this year? Did you have too many attendees walk away because there weren’t enough employees managing the booth to help them?
I hope the above checklist will help you in future trade shows. Please let me know if you have any suggestions.