Master the Skills of Trade Show Seminars and Be Successful
Master the Skills of Trade Show Seminars and Be Successful
As with any kind of promotional event, meticulous planning is a necessity. Nothing can be left to chance. Having a detailed script for every aspect of the trade show seminar is a fundamental requirement. Keeping to the script helps you identify where modifications need to be made for improvement in future. An “after action” account of what worked and what didn’t will help you refine your trade show seminars.
Decide Exactly What You Want to Accomplish
The most important part of a trade show seminar is to decide exactly what you want to accomplish. Obviously, the seminar is an expensive undertaking, so it’s important to decide what you want in return for your investment. And consider how you will measure this. How will you judge if you had a good return on your investment?
Do you want immediate income from ticket sales, or reservations for the event? Is it possible to get commitment at the event for later seminars, based on the first one? If so, would that seminar be in-person, or available online? There are many variables and considering them in advance will help you create better seminars and get more out of them.
And, with potential customers, is it possible to get sales for your company’s product, based on the trade show? If that’s your goal, you need to be able to track those sales. They’ll likely come some time after the trade show. Can you judge trade show seminar sales accurately enough to compare different seminars?
You Need to be Personable
This is true for any kind of presentation. You need to be personable. You need to make a connection with the people attending your seminar. How do you do that? It’s pretty simple. Don’t wall yourself off from the attendees, neither literally nor figuratively.
Don’t stand behind a desk, a table, or a podium. If you’re on a stage, stand fairly close to the edge. If you are on the same level as the attendees, move into their group at times. Choose people to speak to directly. Make eye contact. Ask questions. Have them ask you questions.
You need to put a face on the company you represent. Think about what values your brand represents and think of the face that such a business should have. A friendly and attentive face is good for business.
Have Post-Seminar Discussions with Attendees
Consider whether you had any “high-value” people attend your seminar, by which people normally mean people like CEOs, presidents, or company board members? Try to speak to those people after the event, one-on-one, if possible. High-ranking members of other companies are ideal candidates to influence others and to help “spread the word” about your company.
Make Your Seminar Memorable
How do you get attendees to remember your seminar? The usual suggestions are giving gifts to attendees, including those with the company name. Instead, get people to remember your company through the presentation.
Have a presentation that maximizes contact between the presenter and attendees. Don’t use tons of slides. Avoid slide after slide of dense PowerPoint graphics. You should be able to change your presentation on the fly, as needed, to maximize interaction with attendees.
Nail Down the Basics
Be absolutely sure the mechanics of your seminar are firmly in place. Are you using media equipment? Test it. Do you need backup equipment? Where is it? How can you get it? If possible, test it.
Also test your presentation one more time. You should know the presentation so well that you can deliver it from beginning to end, but you should also be able to change things on the fly if the need or opportunity arises. For example, could you make your presentation if there was a power failure?
The comfort of you and your attendees is also a basic requirement. Ensure that the room or space where your seminar is to be held is clean? If distractions are present, can you neutralize or reduce them? It’s also worth checking that your room been reserved for the correct time?
Old School Still Works
One way to get people to remember you is by having a plentiful supply of business cards at your disposal. Have a decent-sized stack. “Encourage” attendees to take several. They may be able to give one to someone who would have liked to have attended the seminar. Your business card would need your business e-mail and cell phone number.
How about yourself? Do you need to remember people, phone numbers, and company names on the fly? Don’t try to enter everything in a tablet or a notebook computer. In a seminar context, use what’s worked for decades: a pocket notebook and a pen. If you’re really set on electronic records, copy the information later.
Be Assertive, not Aggressive
Much of what determines how successful your seminar will be is how you treat people. It’s good to be assertive, but don’t be aggressive.
You can choose people to center your attention on, briefly. That’s assertive. If you don’t let them disengage, that’s aggressive.
Avoid any temptation to force your answers or responses on people. And don’t plow over them. If you feel either of these things happening, switch focus to whether the person you’re talking to has additional questions or observations? Answer their concerns, keeping communication open.
You Aren’t Done When the Seminar is Over
Was your trade show’s function to gather leads? If, so, you need to follow up on them. At the very least, do so as soon as the seminar is over. Waiting even 24 hours is too long.
Related to promptly following up on leads is persistently following up on them. Once or twice isn’t enough. Being persistent without being a pest can be tricky, but it’s a line worth learning. Besides phoning, send e-mails. And make it easy for those trying to get in touch with you to do so.
Plan Far in Advance
It’s best to plan your seminar much in advance, such as several months early. For very large gatherings, you could need a year. In part, knowing how long you’ll need to plan a seminar comes from experience. You can also get advice from companies that plan similar events.
Need More Information?
If you need more advice or information about creating a successful trade show seminar, our professional, experienced team will be glad to help. We’re looking forward to hearing more about your concerns and needs.