Have you ever attended a Business Convention, full of shiny booths with people excited to share about their topic, genre, or product? I got to do just that on November 29th, 2022 from 2pm-6pm here in Hamilton at Carmen’s Banquet Centre on Stone Church Rd. Thank to everyone who came to check me out! I think it was a roaring success! See BizCon.ca for upcoming events.
Recently, before the event, I was lucky enough to participate in a Zoom call with some talented and experienced entrepreneurs who shared with us some insider tips on about running your own booth. And since this was my first endeavor into booth-dom, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share the wealth with you.
So, without further ado, 7 Helpful Tips for Hosting Your Own Booth at a Convention:
1) Always bring a support person.
The hope is that you’ll have so much traffic you’d be overwhelmed on your own, trying to interact with every potential lead that stops at your booth. Bring someone who is knowledgable about your field or product and will be able to answer questions. This can be a co-worker, or a co-conspirator, whoever it is, make sure they are well-versed in the topic at hand, you don’t want someone who will chat just for the sake of conversation. This is a business focused event.
2) Work your booth.
You are here at this event to get leads — people who are likely to become customers. Sitting at the table and looking down into your phone will not attract people to your booth. Stand, smile, engage with traffic, be the one to start the conversation. Let people know how you and your product or service can help them.
3) Weed out the dead weight.
Some people may just be interested for a moment and then launch into a story about how your booth reminds them of something they once did. This takes up your time, and keeps you away from other potential clients. Be polite, but end the conversation. You could say something along the lines of “I’d love to continue this conversation, but let’s pick it up after the event. Can I get your contact information?” We don’t want to alienate anyone coming to our booth, but we don’t want to get caught up in a conversation that isn’t likely to generate a new lead. Be kind but decisive.
4) Know your industry, know your competition – Be different.
If there are likely to be competitor’s booths, or even if there aren’t, do something a little different. Promote a part of your business that is interesting, eye catching, or surprising. You are looking to capture the attention in 5 to 7 seconds. If you promote in a way that brings people in asking a question about something they’ve seen or read on your booth, then you start off on the right topic from the word go.
5) Lead generation.
This is why you’re here. Have a ballot box, a giveaway, a reason for someone to leave their contact information with you. Make sure there is a check-box that says you have permission to contact them. Once you’ve held your draw, reach out to the other leads. You can use the opportunity to offer a deal or discount. “You didn’t win, but we’re holding this promotion for the next 30 days if you’re interested.”
Having some sort of swag for people to pick up as they come visit your booth is always a great thing. Whether it’s related to your industry, or it’s just a pen with your contact information, it’s a great way to put your name and website address in their hands. The best items, that often go overlooked, are water bottles — go down to Costco, grab some cheap water, slap your label on it, and you’ll be surprised how many people will be excited for this. And bags, bags, bags, bags! So many business cards, flyers, pamphlets and swag, and here we are, people who only have two hands! They’re going to be so grateful you provided them with somewhere to put all this stuff. And lastly, never deny the power of a bowl of candy to bring people right up to your table. Individually wrapped candies, chocolates, etc. are a great way to pull them in, the rest is up to you!
7) Follow-up with your leads.
I can’t stress this one enough. When you get leads from this event, don’t sit on them for a week before you call. The leads you get are considered WARM leads — they’ve seen your booth, they may have spoken with you or read your pamphlets, they know they gave you their card or filled out a ballot for a prize. Call them while they’re still warm, the longer you leave it, the colder they get. Even if you’re anxious, even if you don’t remember them specifically. Call those leads the next day or as soon as humanly possible.
Some other tidbits that can set you on the right track:
- bring an extension cord if you want power in your booth
- zip ties, you will need these, even if you can’t imagine what for, grab some from the dollar store
- set a goal for the event, see how well you do
- use a transparent container for your draw, people tend to prefer seeing their ballot and standings
- the best time to advertise is 2 weeks out
- water, water, water! You’ll be talking a lot, stay hydrated
Hopefully you’ve found some useful information here, I know I have. I look forward to hearing about your next booth, or seeing you at mine! For more information leave a comment below or reach out on my contact page.