Last month, Iron Mountain Fulfillment Services exhibited at Interphex, the top venue for manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and biomedical devices and companies that service those industries. It was a great opportunity to educate one of our key verticals about Iron Mountain’s marketing production and fulfillment solutions. But it turned out to be a terrific learning experience, as well. Let me explain…
During my breaks from staffing Iron Mountain’s booth, I walked the exhibition floor to see what other exhibitors had to offer. From the other side of the booth, I couldn’t help but notice the impact their attitudes and actions had on potential customers. I’d like to share a couple of observations I gained from this experience about what to do – and what not to do – when staffing your next trade show.
Tip #1: Be Proactively Friendly
At some booths, staffers made no attempt to greet or even acknowledge my presence. Heads down, eyes averted, or engaged in conversations with each other, they created invisible, but powerful, interpersonal obstacles that stopped conversation before it even began. A potential customer has to really, really want what their companies offer to breach these barriers. Someone who isn’t familiar with what they sell will probably just walk on by.
Iron Mountain staffers made a point of greeting everyone who approached our booth, turning potential passer-byes into visitors and visitors into leads – we had hundreds of leads by the end of the conference, which ain’t too shabby!
Tip #2: No Eating, Texting, Phone Calls or Office Work in the Booth
If you’re doing any of these things while staffing a booth, you may as well hang up a sign that says, “I’m busy; don’t bother me.” Prospects will be reluctant to interrupt you if you’re already in a committed relationship with your sandwich, smart phone or laptop.
When we go to a trade show, we save the paperwork, phone calls and eating for break time. Not eating in the booth also saves us a lot on dry cleaning bills and ruined collateral!
Tip #3: Lure Visitors in with “Swag”
People love to get something free, and companies have been handing out premiums since the Middle Ages. Picture Gutenberg wooing potential buyers with a sample page from the first mass produced edition of the Bible! Okay, that probably didn’t happen, but you get my point.
At Interphex, our swag included a mixture of power bracelets, pens, hand sanitizers, cell phone holders and even branded water, for the thirsty exhibit goers! Booth visitors could also enter a daily drawing to win one of two KindleTM Fire tablets. Did it work? You bet! Over the course of the three-day exhibition, we had hundreds of visitors. We also got a ton of feedback that our swag was the best at the show. It was enough to make us blush.
Tip #4: Follow Up Those Leads!
Leads are your raison d’etre for going to a trade show. If you don’t follow up right after the show, you may as well have set fire to the money you just spent to exhibit there.
Of course, lead fulfillment is one of the marketing solutions Iron Mountain offers its clients and – not to be biased – we do it better than anybody else. We had our follow-up mailer written, ready to be personalized and drop before the show, so it was in our visitors’ hands within a day or two after they returned to their offices.
To sum up, it may be trite; but it’s also true: You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. If you’re going to spend valuable marketing dollars and staff time to attend a conference or exhibition, be sure you are 100% present, courteous and professional when you’re in the booth. That’s how you’d like to be treated when you’re an attendee; that’s how you should treat others when you’re the exhibitor.