5 ways to create a winning presence at the B2B trade show

Making your B2B trade show booth stand out doesn’t have to cost the entire marketing budget

You have a great brand – take it out of the box, let it stretch its legs and let it shine. A great-looking B2B tradeshow booth design doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. You can get lots of marketing m2 by designing and printing a set of snazzy rollups or a fabric backdrop.

Another way to direct attention to your booth is to use tall beach flags that rise above the other booths at the fair and that visitors will see from far away. Combine your printed branding material with a flat screen TV where you loop a marketing presentation or a video clip and top it off with a few laptops with your website’s product pages on it, for easy access when you want to demo your products to booth visitors.

Coach your booth staff to tradeshow greatness

Gather your booth staff a few days before the tradeshow and set expectations for the event. Talk about why the company has decided to exhibit at this particular B2B tradeshow and what the overarching goal is. This could be for example branding for the company or lead generation or both. Show your booth staff a floorplan and your booth design, talk about what information you will show on the TV screens in your booth, what sales collaterals you have prepared as handouts etc.

It is also a good idea to give your booth staff a quick brief of other exhibitors related to your industry and the expected demographic of the visitors to the trade show.

Set goals and focus

Setting clear goals and making sure that your booth staff is focused throughout the event is key. After all, you only have a finite number of hours at the fair where you can showcase your company and drum up new business opportunities.

A goal for your B2B event presence could be that you want to book 30 meetings with decision makers over the course of the day or that you want 100 people to partake in your in-booth competition. You could also set up an internal competition for your booth staff where you incentivize them with a fancy lunch if they hit their goal of 30 meetings and a stretch-goal for hitting 40 or 50 meetings.

In order to maintain focus throughout the day, make sure your team is energized, fed and hydrated – and if someone secures a meeting with a great company, celebrate! A high five doesn’t cost much!

Deliver value to your booth visitors

The best way to secure new business connections and meetings at B2B tradeshows is to be active on the fair floor and show your booth visitors that you are a value provider. Turn down the sales-y and turn your consultative, knowledge sharing side up to 11. If they just wanted a product sheet, they could have gone to your website and downloaded a pdf.

Why not share interesting industry data, your latest infographic or other information that the person can bring back to their organization and make them look good. If they look good, chances are that you get a meeting after the fair as you have known that you are a value adding company.

Continuing on the value theme – throw a functional giveaway into the mix

Nobody needs another 128Mb USB key with a permanently loaded PowerPoint, come on. If you are going to use giveaways, make them useful and lasting. Think about what your target audience would love to use every day and what they’ll happily keep on their desk. A branded stainless steel travel mug or a nice-lookin’ ball pen maybe?

Last but not least: Be active and collect leads!

Last but definitely not least, be active on the tradeshow floor! Hiding behind a desk or pressing up against your booth walls won’t give you any business. If you want people to come into your booth and interact with you, you’ll first have to go out and interact with them.

Take a few steps outside your booth (and your comfort zone) and stop people as they walk past, hand them your value-adding infographic, talk about them not you, and steer the conversation towards scheduling a time for a meeting or a phone call after the event. Gather all your leads with a Google Form or similar and make sure to follow up after the event.

Good luck with your B2B tradeshow!