- Make the necessary trade show preparations far in advance, 3 to 12 months ahead, to avoid excess charges, fees, and last minute no-shows.
2. Going Cheap
- Invest some money to enhance your exhibit booths or trade show display area. An attractive exhibit display will most likely generate leads and give attendees a good experience, leaving a good impression to your company.
3. Annoying Barriers
- Tables and chairs are basic necessities in a trade show but if you put them in the wrong place, they'll become a barrier between you and the attendees. Always place your trade show exhibit booth tables at an angle of either your space corner or on one side so that you're free to welcome and greet attendees. Putting your tables in front of your exhibit booth space and sit behind it creates a barrier.
4. Nobody Knows You're There
- One common trade show mistake is not notifying potential customers of your trade show appearance. Though this can be amended through sending out newsletter to your business' email list. If you have a local newspaper, get your trade show appearance published in a news for the public to know that you will be an exhibitor. If you have been using social media platforms to market your business, then use it to connect with your prospects before the trade show. Lastly, see to it that you are listed on the trade show exhibitor list.
5. Sending the Wrong People
- Some business owners prefer to send low-level employee instead of attending the trade show themselves because they afraid that if they leave their office or stores, everything will go off-course without their supervision. Business owners themselves should attend their trade show appearances. But if a business owner absolutely can't attend, then sending a top-level and knowledgeable employee who has the authority to make instant decision making on behalf of the owner. "I will have to check with the owner", this line is what attendees are always irritated about when their questions are unanswered and presenters comment them with this.
6. No Teamwork
- Stop the blaming but instead work together as a team. To be successful in trade shows, it takes a good plan with a leader as well as a well-ordered trade show team that is willing to overpass the difference between the sales and marketing.
7. Not Following Up with Attendees
- Studies after studies show a common trade show mistake is not following up leads or potential customers. During trade shows, sometimes you need to be persuasive to consumers that are somehow interested in your product. I suppose you are able to get the contact numbers of your leads. Just right after the trade show is over, it is important to follow-up on your leads. Calling is best, but be sure to send an email to ask them when their most convenient time for a phone conversation before keying those numbers in your phone.
8. Exhibiting at the Wrong Trade Show
- Logically, if you are in the garment business, you will not need to exhibit at a medical equipments trade show. Do not get listed on trade shows that you think you are irrelevant to the attendees interests. Because the industry trend changes often, choose the trade shows you want to exhibit and pick the right shows.
9. No Plan B
- Always have a back-up plan. Your display doesn't show up, one of your booth staff is sick, or your exhibit display doesn't meet a certain show regulation, these are just some common trade show scenarios that would require a backup plan. If you have more in mind, then better start listing them now and make a plan B for each.
10. Not Connecting with Competitors
- A trade show is an arena wherein different companies compete, but that does not mean you should close doors with your competitors. It is actually the best time to make a partnership. One good example is if you are exhibiting in a home and garden trade expo, reach out to swimming pool and patio exhibitors. Another one is if you are in the baby furniture business, try connecting with baby photographers or infant clothing and garment exhibitors. Developing partnerships during trade shows will get you a good number of long-term referrals.
11. Failure to Measure Results
- After the trade show, you return to your business and evaluate the outcome of the show based on the data you have gathered to show others including yourself whether or not the exhibit was of a success. Just like in a court of law, you need evidence to win a case.
12. Forgetting to Celebrate Success
- After evaluating the outcome of the show, you see all the goals of the company were achieved and indeed it was a successful exhibit, go celebrate and build on that success!
If you are able to avoid these twelve common trade show mistakes, you will be even more successful and encourage not only attendees, but also other exhibitors.