Pace yourself. Exhibiting for the first time can be overwhelming. Keep in mind the Exhibit Hall is a marathon, not a sprint. The next few days are going to be busy.
Make a good first impression. Studies show first impressions are made in a tenth of a second. Take the time to think about your exhibit space and how to best present your company’s brand to an attendee walking through the aisles of the Exhibit Hall.
Actively engage with attendees who are visiting your booth. Give a friendly greeting, and welcome their questions. Be sure that your body language is friendly (for instance, don’t fold your arms across your chest). As you chat with booth visitors, find out what aspect of your business they are most interested in. Be prepared to offer solutions to issues they may be experiencing.
Stand out. Studies show you have about 3 seconds to let attendees know what and who you are in a busy expo environment. Use vibrant displays, product samples that attendees can touch or try, banners that are not too text heavy, or large graphics. (Just be sure not to block the line of sight down the aisle.)
Staff your booth at all times with knowledgeable and enthusiastic personnel. Attendees are there to gain valuable information. Be sure your booth personnel are fully trained and knowledgeable about your product or service.
Let attendees interact. Bring your product ready for attendees to see/use/feel. Not all products are easy to display, but if you can find a way, not only will you generate interest, but attendees will get a better understanding of the value of your product or service. Have samples or trials for them to use after the show.
Stand up in your booth. Exhibitors often sit behind their tables while attendees stand looking down at them. You must get up and engage! And remember to leave your phones and computers alone until you have down time.
Strike up a conversation with people, even if you are not at your booth. Receptions, coffee breaks, walking to the convention center, or riding the shuttle bus are perfect opportunities to meet someone and to invite them to stop by your booth.
Use social media. Be sure to use the hashtag #ASHA20.
Read the attendee’s badge, and use their first name. If you have a company-issued name tag, position it on your right shoulder to correspond with your handshake. Attendees will be able to put a name to your face.
Make eye contact with attendees walking by your booth. There is a real skill in connecting with someone in a matter of seconds, especially when you want to sell them something. Sometimes, a simple “good morning” or a smile will help to reel people into your booth.
Don’t eat or drink. But do keep water handy. You may also want something to soothe your throat.
Know the prime times for traffic flow. Review the Schedule at a Glance in the Convention Guide. Knowing the busiest times in the Exhibit Hall will help you determine when you need to be the most forward-facing and focused.
Don’t pitch to competitors. Although it’s great to talk to other exhibitors, we recommend not pitching your company to competitors, so be sure to ask whom they are representing before engaging. But, walking by other exhibitors during breaks can help you pick up ideas for upcoming tradeshows.
Order lead retrieval. Lead retrieval (aka “badge scanner”) is an easy way to collect information about your booth visitors. Just scan the attendee’s badge. At the end of the show, you will receive a USB thumb drive with all your leads. Information will be included in the Exhibitor Service Manual.
Stay energized. When the show is almost over, the crowds have dwindled, and your energy is drained. If you look like you’re ready to pack up and leave the moment the show is over, it can be a turn off to a potential customer who’s looking to interact with you when you’re less busy. Staying engaged until the trade show is officially over (or longer) proves to customers that you are a company committed to their business.
Follow up! After the show, don’t forget to follow up with your leads. You’ve worked hard to get them; don’t let them go dead. The sooner you follow up, the better.