Sales Tips: Six Deadly Tradeshow Sins

© 2001 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Winter 2001
Author: Tom Wadsworth
Page 48

Sales Tips

Six Deadly Tradeshow Sins

Since the home show season is fast approaching for garage door dealers, we sought some exhibiting advice from one of the top experts in tradeshow marketing.

Susan Friedmann calls herself the Tradeshow Coach, having coached several hundred companies in more than 30 industries in the U.S., Mexico, and Europe. The following six mistakes, she says, are among the most common mistakes exhibitors make before, during, and after the show.

1. Failing to set goals.

"Knowing what you want to accomplish at a show will help plan every other aspect," says Friedmann. If you set a goal, e.g., to sell 25 doors and 30 operators, this goal will help you determine your theme, the booth layout and display, graphics, product displays, premiums, literature, etc.

2. Leaving graphics to the last minute.

Rush charges, overtime costs, and last minute changes add significantly to your expense burden. The Tradeshow Coach recommends planning your graphics 6-8 weeks before show time. If your show is in March, plan graphics in January (now!).

3. Neglecting staff preparation.

You put enormous time and money into preparing your booth, but you often just tell booth staff to show up. Yet, Friedmann says these ambassadors are critical to your success. Do they know questioning skills? Do they know your goals and your strategy?

4. Substituting literature for real interaction.

Staff members who feel uncomfortable with visitors often hand out literature or giveaway items just to keep occupied. Friedmann: "Literature acts as a barrier to conversation, and chances are, it will be discarded at the first opportunity."

5. Delaying follow-up on leads.

After a show, your desk is usually swamped with other management duties. "But the longer leads are left unattended," says Friedmann, "the colder and more mediocre they become." She recommends setting timelines for follow-up even before the show starts.

6. Overlooking show evaluation.

Next year's show will repeat this year's mistakes, unless you evaluate your performance. If you wait three weeks to evaluate, you'll have forgotten key details. "Invest the time with your staff immediately after each show," she says. "It pays enormous dividends."

See more tradeshow tips at Friedmann's Web site at