Tradeshow Tip Sheet
Grateful and Thankful at the Tradeshow
Wait a minute. Tradeshows are a mile-aminute band of chaos. What is there to be thankful and grateful for about a tradeshow? If you’re an exhibitor, you spend all of your time planning and executing a marketing program in a highly chaotic landscape. Then you come back to the office with a load of leads, of which – if things run true to form – the sales department will only follow up on 1 in 5. If you’re an attendee, there are undoubtedly a hundred booths that you weren’t able to stop at simply because there’s not enough time in the day. And the food mostly likely sucked, the hotel was small and the rental car felt like it was on the verge of breaking down. Not only that, you probably went over budget. Maybe you drank too much. Maybe you said the wrong thing in front of a client or a prospect. The plane flight was long, not to mention the screaming baby. No doubt you could continue the list of woes that you ran into at the last tradeshow. So doesn’t it just irk you that your work partner had the exact opposite experience? She came back tired from the show energized by all of the great contacts she made. She’s rarin’ to go with the follow -up calls, emails and personal notes. Boo! So who’s ‘grateful and thankful’… ?
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Wear a Smile!
I suppose you’ve been told countless times in your life that you can improve your attitude and the attitude of those around you by wearing a smile. It’s true. But what if you don’t feel like smiling? You’ll just have to muddle through and fake it ‘til you make it. Smiles are great for a number of reasons. For starters, it improves your appearance. Smiles also have the ability to make things right again and say more than words can. Smiles create trust and rapport. A smile shows people you trust them and invites them to trust you. It says “hey, you’re great, I’m OK, and we’re going to have a good time!” Smiles make you feel good. Smiles make others feel good. A terrific genuine smile is contagious. Mark Twain said “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been." Smile wrinkle lines should be worn as a badge of honor. Now, about that whole ‘I don’t feel like smiling’ thing…try these: think happy thoughts; be genuine; learn to love life; be playful. All of these can take you much closer to genuine smiles.
Editor: Tim Patterson
1865 Beach Ave NE Salem, OR 97301 503-371-9411 Fax: 503-371-9402 InterpExhibits.com Tradeshowguyblog.com @tradeshowguy
TRADESHOW TIP SHEET
What is graciousness and how does it apply to a tradeshow floor? To be gracious is to be ‘characterized by kindness and warm courtesy, tact and propriety.’ Now that we’ve encouraged you to smile as often as possible, add to the mix a willingness to meet and greet people with kindness, warmth and good taste. It’s not too difficult to do, but how many exhibitors or attendees do you see at tradeshows acting with graciousness on their mind? Too often you see people hustling for free samples, sprinting through quick meetings, and checking off lists of people to see with little regard to the quality of the interaction. Which is precisely why a person with grace will stand out like a rose in a snowstorm. I’ve seen it before: I had a brief interaction with a woman at a booth (why is grace almost always associated with women?) that was full of grace. I was treated to a beautiful, genuine smile; she answered a couple of questions with quiet knowledge and confidence and I went on my way. I realized later that the something about that interaction stayed with me all day. I didn’t recognize until later what it was, but finally it came to me that the quality that stood out the most was grace. Imagine if you could capture that feeling and spread it among all of your visitors!
WAY TO SHOW YOUR GRACE AND THANKFULNESS IS WITH A HAND-WRITTEN CARD WITH A PERSONAL NOTE.
Personal Follow UP!
Yes, the UP is capitalized on purpose. When you follow up, your mode and attitude should be in the UP position. As in positive. UPbeat. One of the best ways to follow UP in a positive way is with a personal card. Yes, a phone call is also personal. And it’s very one-to-one. But unless you have a pre-arranged time to make the call there’s a good chance that your telephone call will interrupt whatever that person has got going on. But a card – well, a card is one of those things that people can keep and re-read. Put a nice personal message in a card in your own handwriting and you’ve made a statement; you’ve made a long-lasting impression. If you can connect with a card and a phone call, the next thing is to try and connect in person. Obviously that’s impossible with everybody, particularly if it’s a national show and your follow-ups are spread across the country or around the world. If you’re able, make a personal stop to solidify a connection. Another way to connect that’s personal, but doesn’t involve travel is via an online video calling system such as Skype. If your contact is computer-adept, it’s easy to set up a time to sit in front of your laptop or a PC with a webcam and chat. Video is the next best thing to being there: you get to see the person in real-time, and as a result the connection becomes more personal and meaningful. There are a lot of ways to follow up. Send a small gift along with a card using SendOutCards.com or another gift service. Stand out in your connection’s mind. Go a step further than your competition and
WILL SAVE SUCH CARDS FOR YEARS.
Showing gracefulness, thankfulness and a willingness to connect – and stay connected – isn’t something that most people are willing to do. It’s so easy to go to a show, meet people, exchange business cards, make a call or two, send an email and then let the connection drift away into nothingness. Which is too bad. Admittedly, the first connection at a tradeshow, by its very nature, is going to be tenuous. But put a little effort into it with grace and thankfulness and you’ll be able to grow those fragile threads into something much stronger. All it takes is the will to make it happen.