If there's one thing that I used to despise, it was trade shows. I'd stand there awkwardly behind my sparse display (perhaps calling it minimalist makes it better?), waiting for people to come over and talk to me. Instead, they'd cast their eyes to the floor as they snuck by my booth, feeling guilty for not stopping at the 8 foot long table with the white tablecloth, no signs, a few pieces of paper, and 500 business cards. Really, could I blame them? Thankfully, over the past 8 years, I've figured out that you really can grow your business with trade shows.
What was getting in my way when I first started was how do you set up a booth when you have no inventory to sell and all that you offer are health coaching programs? *I* was the inventory! Even if you have an essential oils business, you probably don't carry a lot of inventory to sell retail, but have a whole business based on people purchasing their own product or having a class, and having it shipped to their house.
It doesn't matter if you don't have much (or any) physical inventory, you still have to make your booth or table visually interesting.
I can't count how many times I've went into a store I didn't even like because there was something interesting set up in the front window. There's power in visual displays.
It's the same thing as having a visually beautiful website. The pretty pictures will draw people in, but your amazing written content and valuable expertise will keep them there.
My second problem with trade shows was once the people were there, how to do you turn them into actual paying clients? It's one thing to have someone take your business card, but it's entirely another thing to have someone pay you for your program after they found you at a trade show, especially if your programs are 3 or 6 months long and close to $2,000 like mine were.
After a few years of horrible waste of time and money trade shows (my fault, not theirs!), I came down with a system that worked to bring in hundreds of new email subscribers and new paying clients. Here are 9 things to keep in mind to grow your business with trade shows: