Last week we took part in the Tampa Business Journal 2012 Business Expo. This is the first time that J. Thor Productions has participated in being an exhibitor and not a supplier. After much researching, asking colleagues and observation of others at the show I've come up with a list of trade show etiquette I think will help you at your next exhibit.
1. Dress appropriately: Use tasteful choices. If you weren't go into a business meeting with flip flops, surf shorts, and t-shirt do not present yourself at a trade show dressed like that. Business casual I believe is a safe way to go. You are standing most if not all day need to comfortable but business like.
2. No eating or drinking at the booth: I saw a few vendors who were chowing down on food and therefore couldn't talk to attendees, a few walked away.
3. Body language: I noticed the vendors who didn't sit down and were standing either beside their table or in front of got more noticed. The exhibitors were eye to eye with the vendors which created a more relaxing conversation and ready to help.
4. Pitching: There was a booth close to ours were the gentleman turned in his pitch as soon as someone was near his booth. No questions were asked about the attendees needs or if they were interested in hearing what he had to say. Relationships are your first priority. Ask questions get to know what they needs are before trying to sell them. Ask open ended and engaging questions and remember just because they might not need your services now doesn't mean they won't need them in the future. Listening is key.
5. Fully stocked: There was a vendor I came across that I was very much interested connecting with after the show however when I asked for their business card, they didn't have any. The manager was coming out in a few and was bringing them with him. The trade show had already been going on for 2 hours and they lost the much contacts simply because there wasn't a business card to take with them.
These are just a few that I found important or that I saw from others that I that were mistakes in my opinion. There are many more things that you could do to improve your experience as an exhibitor. Google trade show etiquette and you would find about 2,590,000 results.
P.S. Never under estimate the power of a first impression. It could make all the difference.
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