What’s the best way to set yourself apart at a trade show? Mike discusses ways to make the most out home shows and events. Learn how to keep prospects at your booth just a little longer by getting to know you and increase¬†your chances of the next sale.

In This Episode

  • Determine which way the traffic will be flowing
  • Avoid unprofessional behavior such as eating at your booth
  • Try to find something in common with your prospect


Charles: Well, Mike, what are some of your ideas for setting up for a trade show?

Mike: Well, Charlie, that’s a great question. You know, shows are visual. They’re always in the eye of the beholder, and the first thing you should learn is which way the traffic’s coming. Usually, if the traffic’s flowing in one section, you can put your display … In our case, we like to use a whole vehicle, at times, and have it where it’s to our advantage, the best advantage, the best look. Naturally, all cleaned up. The biggest … Besides having it well lit and in a great area, is to have reasonable literature, and things that can be absorbed quickly. Large pricing, your name, bold. You know, people will come up and ask you questions, no problem. Just look like you’re available to answer the questions.

I know I have one big pet peeve, one thing that should never be done. If you really want to know the mark of an unprofessional, they’ll have food that they’ll be eating or have eaten, half-eaten, at the booth, in plain sight. This is impoliteness, at one of the highest levels. Should be avoided at all costs. You’re supposed to wear a smile, and clothing appropriate. If you feel your service should only be seen in blue, as a working service, by all means, put on the blue. Never outdress. If these people are coming in from the beach, make sure you’re not in a suit. You should just be about the same type of wardrobe they’re in. Always clean, smell good, have the cards at the ready, and your answers, and a smile.

A good vocabulary always enhances your chances, so use good words. Say “yes” instead of “yeah.” Emerson said, “What a person is speaks so loud, I can’t hear anything else he’s saying.” It’s nice to look like that person that knows what they’re talking about, dresses appropriately, and represents his company well. People like that. They also like a little bit of humor. They’d rather be relaxed. Smile at everybody. It’s nice to give out something sweet to the kids, and the old people. As an old person, I like certain pieces of candy, something to stop by and hold them for a moment as they unwrap the candy and pop it in their mouth. You get that few moments that you can talk.

I like to find something in common with them right off the bat. “Where do you live?” is completely unobtrusive, and if you happen to know where Harper Woods is when they say Harper Woods, you say, “Oh, sure, love the houses in Harper Woods. You know, all of those have that side door a lot, you could drop the hose down to the basement, and hey, look at you,” and they go, “Gee, the guy’s been in my house.” You’re familiar with them already. Or, if they belong to St. Veronica’s Parish, over in that city, pretty soon, you can say, “I have a cousin there,” and you have things in common, and most people would rather deal with people that they have things in common with, that they know, and you could trust right off the bat, so you should work on that. That’s the whole idea of selling, you know. Salesmanship.

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