In a recent coaching
session, my client started telling me all about the different products
he was going to be showing at the trade show he was preparing for. I
listened patiently and then asked “which is the most important one?”
“They all are” was my client’s response.
Over the years I’ve seen this mistake played over and
over again at various shows. Booths stuffed full of stuff, different
stations and activities that makes it look like a three-ring circus.
Presented with this jumble, the visitor may or may not try to figure out
whether the exhibitor has something of interest to offer.
According to psychological
research, when the brain is presented with too
much information to absorb, it easily becomes confused. And at a trade
show, a befuddled mind often takes the easy way out, and together with
the body, moves on to the next booth.
The message I get from these types of exhibitors is
three-fold – ill-prepared, lazy, and selfish.
They are ill-prepared and lazy because they haven’t taken the time to
focus on one specific product or message for their target audience, and
selfish because it’s all about them and not about their prospects and
To avoid buyer confusion at your next show, here are
three important keys:
1. Take time to plan and crystallize your exhibiting
goals and objectives. The purpose of your booth is to attract the right
buyers so that you can have a meaningful conversation about their needs
2. Have one clear message and focus for your booth.
Remember that according to trade show research, over 76% of visitors go
to shows to see “what’s new.” With this in mind, present something new,
exciting and different.
3. Keep your booth open and welcoming.
a. Get rid of chairs to avoid the sitting temptation.
b. Keep tables at the sides or at the back of the booth (tables at
the front act as a barrier).
c. Make sure your booth isn’t overflowing with your own staff who
stand around chitchatting with each other when the show is slow.
Finally, as you prepare for your next show, remember to
keep focused on what’s most important to your target audience – not you!