Have a Booth at a Trade Show? Follow 4 Steps for Success


May 7, 2015

Johnson Pest Control

The hard hats Johnson Pest Control home inspectors Cody Mauldin, left, and Darrell Bledsoe wore to the News Sentinel Women Today Expo in Knoxville, Tenn., drove attendees “buggy.”

This is the time of year when we set up at trade shows. Your company may participate in these super-networking events as well. Trade shows can be an ideal place to meet with potential new customers, say hello to many of your current clients, and meet some of those clients you wouldn’t recognize if you ran into them. (Let’s face it, would you recognize every customer you have if you saw them?)

Following are tips to make your company’s show booth successful:

1. Look professional, but with a twist. Our home inspection team wears their nice-looking uniforms, but they also don hard hats decorated like a bug. A little wackiness works well at trade shows. You wouldn’t believe how many folks have wanted to buy a bug hat. People have fun getting their picture taken wearing the bug hat, and we immediately post each photo to Facebook. We’ve received lots of “likes” on our Facebook page for doing this.

2. Don’t worry, be happy. Happiness in and around your booth is the key to interaction with the public. People want to buy from someone who offers a cheerful, satisfied feeling about the company they’re considering. With that in mind, offer an environment of enjoyment at your booth. That makes your company not only look cool, but the public sees your employees’ exuberance and wants to be a part of your company as well.

3. Keep active. Having fun makes the time fly. I’m sure you’ve seen the person who mans a booth by sitting behind a table reading, eating and just looking at the people walking by. This poor soul looks like he drew the short straw and is imprisoned at the company booth until paroled. This is what you don’t want to do.

Instead, stand up. Put the table at the back of the booth so no one can sit behind it. Be nice, offer a friendly smile, and hand out something. Our best giveaway is the good old flyswatter with our company logo prominently displayed. We also give out Million Dollar Bills with our logo on the back that say “Thanks A Million.” When the people who stopped by our booth get home, they don’t throw away that flyswatter or Million Dollar Bill.

4. Don’t be a jerk. In today’s social media age, anyone with a smartphone could record and upload the nasty, unkind attitude you may have displayed generating bad press for the company. So instead, smile and be happy!

You can reach Ray Johnson, a past president of the National Pest Management Association, president of Sevierville, Tenn.-based Johnson Pest Control, and founder of ACES for Business, at ray@johnsonpestcontrol.com.


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