Trade Show TalesBlog

Trade Show Tips to the Beat of the 1980s

July 27th, 2016 1 COMMENT

1980s

The Keys to a Successful Trade Show:  Handling Mistakes

Advicertainment by M. Christine Delea

What do customers want? It’s not complicated. They expect you’ll be good to them. How you respond makes all the difference, and saying and showing them that I’ll be good to you sets the right tone. However, even when you are paying attention and putting customers first, unexpected things can and will happen. Being human means that mistakes happen.

How we handle our mistakes is what sets us apart from our competitors. Admitting that your customer is correct — it’s a mistake, you take responsibility, and “Where is my mind?“— will go a long way toward repairing the situation.

Straight Up

StraightUpClear communication will be remembered more than the original mistake if it is sincere and straight up. And what goes around comes around, so it benefits your karma to treat others well when they stumble.

At the trade show, when a coffee clerk messes up your order, put it in perspective. When you are stepping out of the elevator and a distracted child spills juice on you, give that kid your sweetest smile. It’s all about attitude.

  • When your colleague steps on your foot,
  • When you realize someone at the office packed the wrong cards,
  • When the cab driver goes to the wrong address,
  • When the venue lists your meeting in the Abracadabra Room instead of the Magic Room…

Keep the faith and remember that things can only get better.

Salt In Your Tears

M_BrileyNo one wants to deal with a loud, belligerent, angry jerk — and that is why they sometimes get what they want, because a reasonable person just wants to get rid of them. However, those people also get spit in their soup, lost spa reservations, and no vacancies for next year’s trade show. The calm, pleasant person is more likely to get problems solved, and can eat their meals worry-free. That’s a good thing.

Sometimes it snows in April. Sometimes a butterfly in Costa Rica flaps its wings and your luggage ends up in Allentown instead of Georgetown, the location of your convention. That’s life. Accept the fact that mistakes happen, and it’s best to deal with them pleasantly. You’ll feel better about yourself if you own your mistakes and forgive those of others. And the jerk with the red face and the gross soup? Let him blunder his way to high blood pressure. He’s not worth the salt in your tears.

With accountability and a forgiving attitude, you can be a Zen master at the next trade show. Who knows, you may even be asked to come dancing to some Classic 1980s tunes. It’s all part of the positive karma of participating in a trade show.

Other Posts in the Series:

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.


 

 

Trade Show Tips to the Beat of the 1970s

July 22nd, 2016 3 COMMENTS

1970s

The Keys to a Successful Trade Show:  Customer Service

Advicertainment by M. Christine Delea

Taking care of business means taking care of your customers. Giving them your time and attention and always being courteous. It can all be done — or at least started — at trade shows. You want your customers to look at your booth and think that nobody does it better.

What’cha Gonna Do

pablo_cruiseConventions and trade shows can be overwhelming and a bit frightening. There are a lot of people, an overwhelming amount of noise, too much recirculated air, and by mid-afternoon you cannot tell the diamonds from the rust. It can be tiring to the point that you start daydreaming about napping. But don’t get so far away that you neglect those who still have the energy to stop in at your booth.

So, how do you make the trade show experience valuable for customers and successful for you? What are you going to do?

First, your customers, as well as your colleagues, deserve your undivided attention. After a couple of days, attendees may be tired and possibly cranky. Same with you. But your smile and your eyes should say, they don’t know. Even if you end up listening to someone’s life story, keep your phone off and your smile on.

Don’t Stop

Second, take good notes when people talk to you, especially if you’re tired. Don’t stop at name, company, and title. Listen “between the lines,” and hear what they are saying about their business needs and wants. Those notes will help once you are back home, remembering the last time you saw him.

fleetwoodmacvintageDon’t make people wait. No one should have to knock three times to get you to say, “How do you do?” Everyone should be greeted the second they appear at your display. And every gesture, no matter how small, deserves a hearty “Thank You!”

The Show Must Go On

Finally, here are some easy suggestions. Be sure to give your business card to everyone. Always post photos and observations on your company’s Facebook and corporate website. Tweet and pin as often as possible.And, take lots of pictures of your booth and your customers.

The show must go on, but you — and everyone you have contact with — will have a much better time if you have a frame of mind that puts attendees first.

Who knows, you may even go dancing in the moonlight to some Classic 1970s tunes. It’s all part of the super time you’ll have of participating in a trade show.

Other Posts in the Series:

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.


 

Trade Show Tips to the Beat of the 1960s

July 14th, 2016 COMMENTS

1960svs2

The Keys to a Successful Trade Show:  Las Vegas and Money

Advicertainment by M. Christine Delea

Eventually, you will find yourself at a trade show in Las Vegas. Before you hit the road, make sure your booth is up to the magic moment.

It’s time to consider a new exhibit, new graphics, and an updated approach to your trade show marketing. If you are truly honest with yourself, you know the same old song won’t attract customers.

It’s Not Unusual

RespectChange your presentation. Anything from letting someone else take the creative lead to creating new brochures will be a step in the right direction. Unusual giveaways and interactive booth pitches are also a clever way to make sure that lightning strikes. Because under all the glitz and glitter what you are selling has to have substance, has to be truly new and improved, and has to be worth your customer’s time. It’s all about respect — you get what you give on the trade show floor.

Careful planning will ensure you bring exactly what you need to succeed. This includes everything from brochures to business cards, electrical chargers to comfortable shoes. Yes, most things can be bought in Vegas, but shopping on the Strip comes with a steep price. In the hustle and bustle of a trade show, you won’t time to shop around for a bargain.

Stay a Little Bit Longer

Speaking of money… as with any other expensive destination, there are ways to lessen the sticker shock of Vegas. It might be worth it to stay at an off-Strip hotel. Check out the free shows and less well-known entertainment venues. Fremont Street has casinos and restaurants where you can wine and dine clients less expensively than on the Strip.

People get ready — Some may balk at the cost, but the benefits of exhibiting are worth it. You won’t be crying over money if you realize this is a marketing investment, one that requires planning and a strategy.

Fun, Fun, Fun

FunThe money you spend going to trade shows is a lot less than the money you would spend going to Old Orchard Beach, Wichita, West Islip, Boring, Yazoo City, Albert Lea, Truth or Consequences, Big Ugly, and everywhere else you have customers. At trade shows, your customers and potential customers come to you.

You can work out a budget for Vegas that is realistic and do-able. There’s no need to exist on candy bars and trail mix from home, but you don’t need to blow the entire year’s budget, either.

With budgeting, you can be a neon cowboy in Vegas. Who knows, you may even go dancing on Fremont Street to some Classic 1960s tunes. It’s all part of the fun of participating in a trade show.

Don’t forget to follow up on those leads after the show.

Other Posts in the Series:

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.


 

Five (5) Sober Mid-Year Resolutions

July 12th, 2016 COMMENTS

New-Year

Perhaps it’s time to start a new tradition — Mid-Year Resolutions. Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “I never keep my resolutions, so why should I make more in July.” Think back for a second. Did you make those 2016 resolutions around 11 pm December 31st? With a drink in your hand?

We all make them. Lose weight. Get fit. Eat better. Read a book. Spend more time with the family. Who are you kidding? No one keeps those. There’s no financial incentive. Heck, it’s better to daydream about being skinny or how you’ll spend your $540M MegaMillions lottery winnings.

I’d like to propose five sober resolutions to my trade show friends. Each one represents a financial opportunity you may not be pursuing or maximizing.

Don’t expect a Tony Robbins you’re a winner speech or a No Money Down Guide to Flipping Displays. These are real mid-year resolutions. They require effort. But no one’s asking you to eat kale, do push ups, or spend time with your second cousin Crazy Sal. Be assured, I’m rooting for you to win the Powerball Jackpot, but until then, try these.

Ivey_3

LED Lightboxes

I know. You are showing lightboxes in island exhibit designs. Big deal. Islands are only the tip of the iceberg. There are inlines, which is a bigger market.

However, there are even bigger markets:  corporate environments, retail stores,  events, public spaces like airports, stadiums, museums. The potential is massive if you are willing to work with customers outside your comfort zone. Are you chatting with architects, event planners, marketing and advertising agencies? No one has more lightbox options than Classic Exhibits with our SuperNova line. Any size. Any shape. Very cost-effective solutions for single or double-sided lightboxes.

RentalRewards

Rental Exhibits

Don’t sigh or roll your eyes. Here’s a reality check and a prediction. Within the next three years, rentals will represent at least 40 to 50% of all exhibits at major trade shows. Of those, maybe 20% will be ho-hum kits. Those who win the long-term rental battle will approach rentals with the same design intensity as a new exhibit. You can quote me on this — “Creative rental exhibitors will recognize a better ROI because of their willingness to adapt to changing markets with targeted exhibits.”

Building a rental inventory is expensive. Classic Rental Solutions has already made that investment and will continue to invest in custom, hybrid, and Gravitee solutions. Unlike nearly everyone else, we have the luxury of a large distributor/customer base. That allows us to turn and depreciate those assets faster and add new designs. Bigger really is better when it comes to rentals.

Rental Furniture Header

Rental Furniture

This is a gift that will keep on giving. With the new Rental Furniture Galleries and our partnership with Cort, you can consult, sell, and make a healthy margin on Rental Furniture. Do you really want to “give” that business to a GSC. Of course not. You care about your customer, and you want them to make the best possible decision about their rental furniture options. You want their furniture to be functional, attractive, and cohesive with their exhibit design.

Most Exhibit-Appointed Contractors will tell you that 75-90% of their installs include rental furniture. And, it’s not just islands. Walk any major trade show and you’ll see a bistro table and chairs in a significant number of inline displays.

chargingblogheader

Charging Stations

Why do convention centers have bathrooms? Because people gotta go. Why are exhibitors increasingly adding charging stations to their booth spaces? Because people need juice for their phones and tablets. It’s no longer a need. It’s a necessity.

Don’t force attendees to linger in the reception area like electric beggars. Or worse, force them to hunt for an outlet along the perimeter of the hall. That’s humiliating and nasty. You want them in your booth space. Give them a reason to linger and talk about their business, their kids, and their favorite college football team. Make a friend instead of just exchanging business cards and trinkets.

Classic can install USB charging ports in almost any counter, pedestal, workstation, monitor stand, or table. And we design them all so they don’t look like an ugly airport charging tower. Plus, it’s very unlikely you’ll discover ABC gum under the countertop of a Classic Charging Station. Yuck!

BPAbanner

Non-Trade Show Projects

At Classic Exhibits, we’re no longer exclusively in the trade show business. We design and build whatever someone needs for their trade show, event, retail space, visitor’s center, or corporate environment. That should be your approach as well.

Why not? No one understands 3D marketing better than exhibit professionals. You may not be an expert in custom cash stands or corporate lobby desks, but if you have an open-mind and a solid partner, you’ll get there.

We get many projects that have little to no connection to trade shows. Yes, your client may need a new display, but what else do they need? Big lightboxes in the company conference room with corporate values statement. An employee recognition wall. Restaurant menu board. Tablet stands or kiosks. It’s there waiting for you to ask the right question and make a connection with the right source.

Embrace the mid-year resolution. It’s July, and there’s a surge of potential orders on the horizon. Share your comments and suggestions below. And no whining.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
https://twitter.com/melmwhite

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.


 

Trade Show Tips to the Beat of the 1950s

July 8th, 2016 COMMENTS

1950s

The Keys to a Successful Trade Show:  Pre-Planning

Advicertainment by M. Christine Delea

What’s the biggest mistake that exhibitors make? They wing it rather than plan. It could happen to you. Maybe you don’t know what to expect, or you just need a refresher. Here is some friendly trade show marketing advice with a few entertaining music videos along the way. Enjoy!

Put the same time and effort into your booth as you do with the clothes you wear. Orange sneakers with pink shoelaces? Perhaps. Short shorts? Probably not. A LBD by Coco Chanel? An Italian suit? Much better.

Unforgettable

Nat King ColeThink about your display the same way. It needs to be unforgettable, for all the right reasons. Attendees shouldn’t leave your booth space thinking ain’t that a shame. It shouldn’t be all glitz with no substance or simply not up to the standards of your competitors. Do your research and work with a professional.

Your booth design should explain your product, your brand, and your company’s personality — quickly. The graphics should entice, inform, and entertain. The unexpected is a plus, especially if you attend trade shows on a regular basis — Johnny One Note gets dull fast. Your booth should invite people in. In essence, it should say c’mon everybody! Come over here for something special!

Only You

Give yourself enough time before the show to think about your message and your audience. Only you know how long this will take, because only you know what has already been done.

Worried about what to say? Put your ideas down on paper and practice them but don’t over-rehearse. You don’t want to sound like a robot. But you do want to make yourself comfortable as you review your products and services with attendees.

What a Difference a Day Makes

Everyone on your team should be prepared, know their responsibilities, and be able to answer questions. You know what a difference a day makes. Don’t let an unprepared colleague feel as if they are stranded in the jungle.

You’ll be rocking around the clock at the show, so get some sleep before you leave. Get up early in the morning and resist the urge to go walking after midnight. Eat well and exercise.

With a little pre-planning you’ll be a superstar at your next show. Who knows, you may even want to go dancing to some Classic 1950s tunes. It’s all part of the thrill of participating in a trade show.

Other Posts in the Series:

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.