GUEST COLUMN: Creating a buzz at your booth
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Nov 08, 2012  |  Vote 0    0

GUEST COLUMN: Creating a buzz at your booth

City Centre Mirror

Each month, Toronto Business Times solicits expert opinions on a question of relevance to the small business community. This month’s question is about trade shows.

By Mike Bradford

How exciting for you that you’re doing a trade show. It’s a chance to showcase your business and meet people, specifically clients and prospective clients.

As a business coach I would like to share a few things I have experienced over the years.

1) Planning and alignment of your objectives with your marketing plan

Planning is the first thing for you to take on as you sit down with your marketing plan and review all the work you have already completed.

Make sure you are up to speed with clients’ needs, wants and preferences and be prepared to test and/or strengthen that understanding. Ensure your trade show objectives align with the value your clients care about, your budget and your company brand.

2) Preparation is the key

Make sure you are crystal clear in terms your value proposition and how you and your team are going to communicate with prospects.

I can remember my first trade show at BMO when these organizers had my team prepare for about four hours prior to going into a full-day training and afterwards the value was obvious to all. Make sure your people are prepared with scripts, open questions to ask and comfortable on how to use your promotional tools.

Mike Bradford is a “recovering banker” and founder of Business Coach Toronto,, a firm that provides coaching and promises measurable business results.

What products/services are you going to feature to build and/or deepen relationships? What material and giveaways fit with the message you want to project?

As a coach, I love using rolling video of a client testimonials, and offering draws for free consultation (stated with a dollar value). It is consistent with my overall marketing and deepens the relationship with the prospect. However, each business is different and there is no answer that fits everyone, so you need to come up with yours.

3) Buzz at your booth

The third thing you want to do is create a buzz. There are a number of fun things you could do here to keep the energy high for visitors and keep your people engaged. You might want to consider bringing your staff into a brainstorm session and create a number of ideas. For example, I know one company that regularly partners with a retired NHL goaltender leveraging a friendship a staff member had (hint: he won the Stanley cup for Toronto Maple Leafs in ’67). This personality help create a buzz and it has worked very well for them for many years.

Keep within your budget but arrange and set up something that fits with your brand, such as a promotion, a giveaway or a discount. And make sure you create a list of your prospects/clients, make contact with them and promote the event as this will be a friendly audience that all of your new prospects will notice and appreciate.

Trade shows are a great way to re-energize your team, your marketing program, and deepen relationships with clients/prospects. Sales growth is always rewarded with a great trade show so have fun with it.

Mike Bradford is a “recovering banker” and founder of Business Coach Toronto,, a firm that provides coaching and promises measurable business results.

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