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Raise your profile at trade shows

Attract the right crowd to your booth

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

As winter fades, trade show season kicks into high gear. If you’ll play host at your company’s booth, make the most of it.

First, realize that an hour spent at a trade show requires far more stamina than a routine day at the office. That means you should sleep well the night before, eat a full breakfast and drink plenty of water before and during your shift. Wear comfortable shoes and plan hourly breaks.

To draw attention to your booth, follow these guidelines:

Engage visitors. In this age of interactivity, draw passers-by with a contest, a touch-screen kiosk or some other visually appealing attraction. Providing a PC with free Internet access can draw an instant, captive crowd.

Another idea: Hand out short, fun quizzes about your company and give prizes to those who get all the answers.

Use space wisely. To get lots of people to congregate at your booth, leave plenty of open space for attendees to see your exhibit. Rather than place tables, chairs or other large elements in the center, keep them off to the side to let visitors move in and out easily.

Stage a demo. Many attendees will welcome a chance to sit down and enjoy a quick show. If there’s room, unfold some chairs and let visitors watch a demonstration of your product.

Hunt for VIPs. Scan trade show materials ahead of time to see who will be attending. Identify people you’d really like to meet. Alert your colleagues in the booth to look for these people and flag them down if they walk by.

“I post a list of the seven or eight most influential folks at the trade show on a bulletin board in our booth,” says a marketing VP for an apparel firm. “All of us know who to watch for and, when these people stroll by, we actually show them our VIP list and say, ‘We’ve been expecting you.’ It strokes their egos.”

Forget fancy freebies. Many people will grab your goodies and run off without noticing your booth. Save special giveaways for serious prospects.

Make bigwigs accessible. Ensure that at least one of your top executives is always available to greet visitors. Making your leaders visible will entice equally powerful leaders to drop by. Make sure they wear easy-to-read name tags so everyone knows who they are.

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