Trade shows can be really fun, both as a vendor and as a guest. My first advice is if you’re going to be a trade show vendor go to a show beforehand and see the place in action. Who’s getting sales? What colors are common? Approach booths and you’ll quickly find out what you want to avoid as clichés run rampant. You’re almost guaranteed to see or hear some of these well-worn tired clichés. If you want to make a good impression and not send potential customers running and screaming from your booth, read on for the worst offending clichés and avoid them. Your business depends on it!
Don’t ask stupid questions.
“Can I help you?” and “Are you enjoying the show today?” are just a couple phrases used so much they are meaningless. My head hurts at the end of the day from rolling my eyes so much. Help me with what, exactly? I would love help cleaning my house, thanks. And yes, I am enjoying the show today. Are you here to ask mundane questions or try to convince me I cannot live another moment without your product? First impressions are everything.
Giving out meaningless samples, like candy.
Unless you’re a homemade candy company, of course. But if you’re marketing accounting software or all natural pet products, candy has nothing to do with your booth and is simply a waste of money. For a pet company, try a dog biscuit sample with your business card in a clear bag tied with a ribbon.
Overdoing the display with bright colors, patterns, music, etc.
I’ve walked right by these eyesore booths in trying to save myself a massive headache. Yes, you do want to stand out with unique colors, maybe a different feel than the common black and orange/red/green/insert neon color here. Try a more relaxed scheme like you’d see in your own home. Sage green and dark purple would make an interesting display and stand out from the modern, high-tech vibes so common in trade shows. Music might be okay for your booth in some instances, but always make sure you can easily talk with your potential customers!
“Cry for Attention Gimmicks”
People dressed in spandex bodysuits dancing, jugglers, a clown and monkey jumping on a pogo stick. You get my drift. We’ve all seen the extreme shows that some vendor inevitably hires in hopes to attract attention, often with lines that make us cringe. Cue the clown and monkey on the pogo stick- “Hop on over to Mimi’s Mums now!”.
Resist the urge to pull up a chair and chat with a colleague. If you need to sit down, go somewhere else for a few minutes. Think about it. Are you more likely to go up to a booth with vendors slouched in chairs with their feet up, or a vendor standing casually while smiling and being attentive? It may seem like a no-brainer, but please do not read, talk or text on your phone, use foul language, overdo the perfume or cologne, or eat, drink, or chew gum while in the booth. I have personally seen every one of these and it gives off a very unprofessional vibe. If the vendor doesn’t care enough about their product, why should I?
Unfortunately, clichés will always exist. Don’t fall victim to their lure. Be creative, don’t talk like a robot, and be yourself. Let your passion for your product take over and just talk to people. If you let your passion show through, that will gain more customers than any cliché ever will.