Many first time show attendees believe that if they build a great booth or have a great product, buyers will magically come. The problem with this strategy is that most major retail buyers have already pre-scheduled their time and are running a very tight schedule. These buyers are running from one appointment to another and are not simply browsing down each aisle to see if something catches their eye. Having a great booth with no list is like having a great website and not doing any SEO. Building your list begins well before the first day of the show and is crucial to your shows success.
I am sure you are asking, “What the heck is My List?” Your list should consist of the people you have reached out to prior to the show and let them know who you are, where your booth is and why you would like them to come by. Remember, this is a numbers game, the more people you reach out to and introduce to your company; the more buyers will make time in their schedule to come visit you.
You might be saying "isn't the whole reason to have a booth at a show to capitalize on the buyers and media that are walking the show?" Perhaps! However, do you really want to spend upwards of $5,000-$6,000 for the mere possibility someone will wonder in your booth? If so call me, I have some property in Florida I want you to look at. In all seriousness preplanning is the key to trade show success. Below are 3 hints to get your started on your list.
- Gather your key contacts - Who is it you really want to see at the show? Gather your contact list together and make it as thorough as possible. Names, addresses, phone numbers and emails.
- Create an invite - Put together a simply emailable postcard inviting your key contacts to come visit your booth. This postcard should be professionally done as it will serve as your first impression. It should be short and to the point, no one wants to read through a long paragraph to find out what you could have told them in one line. "Come see what is new in American Made Cookware"! Call for an appointment or come by booth 1234. This simple sentence tells your buyer a couple of key facts about your company. 1. You sell cookware, 2. You have something new, 3. Your product is American Made and 4. You are busy enough to be setting appointments.
- Don't wait to the last minute - Do your best to get on buyers schedules early as they will fill up quickly. Start sending out your information 3-4 weeks prior to the show.