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Six Tips for Retaining Your Tradeshow Visitors

A few observations from a tradeshow warrior By Denise Harrison
TradeshowsHaving spent some time in the media, I run across problems that I know your potential customers run across as well. This week Im going to address a few problems I noticed at the SIGGRAPH trade show this year, but are problems Ive run across for years.

1. Who the heck are you?

You have gorgeous graphics, a snazzy booth and huge floor space. But who are you? Its amazing how many times Ive walked around an entire trade show booth and still couldnt figure out what the company does or what it offers. Somewhere? you need a description of what you offer. While you might think a photo of your widget is enough description, believe me, its probably not! Place the words somewhere prominent. And if your booth is very large, be sure to place those words in several prominent places.

Your graphics -- label them. Not just with the product name (UVE-3lGOI-HJONG doesnt tell me anything!). And youre better off labeling it with benefits. Remember, youre selling benefits, not features.

"The UVE-3lGOI-HJONG Saved Jim Johnsons Company $5,000 in Power Costs Last year."


"The Simpson Company Installed this Church AV Equipment in One Day, Below Cost."

2. Front Desk Claustrophobia

Some of the larger companies have one or two front desks where greeters are giving away promotional items, swiping visitors cards, answering questions, hunting down meeting participants, running contests and answering the phone. The crowds at these desks can be six people deep! While it makes you look busy, its making it impossible for the media or potential customers to get through to ask questions.

People come to your booth for a wide variety of reasons so as much as possible, set up areas specific to those reasons. In an ideal booth, you could have clearly-marked areas for contests and promotional items, meeting room receptionist, media inquiries, general product inquiries and even an area marked "How to purchase." This would help you identify the inquirer by which area they approach and youll know what type of staffing you need at each area. (I realize most booths arent big enough for this but this would certainly be ideal.)

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