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Here’s Four Tips to Maximize Your Trade Show Investment

Twice last month, I made the trip from Atlanta to Las Vegas: first for CES 2015 and then for the LasVegas Furniture Market. The team and I spent more than 70 hours standing on concrete introducing our ReST Bed™.

We got great coverage and acknowledgements, so we (and the ReST Bed™!) must have done something right during those 70 hours. Here are four tips to maximize your trade show investment…the first two of which happen before the show even starts.

(1) Keep in mind traffic flow when designing the booth

For us, the ReST Bed™ was the centerpiece of the booth, so we wanted to make sure that everyone who entered had the chance to experience its automatic and customized response. But how to ensure people approach the bed? What if a line formed? What if the line had consumer and journalists? What if someone is blocking a visitor from getting off the bed? Does it change the experience if a visitor sees the bed before or after he sees the body pressure map? As we designed the booth, we talked about the visitor’s experience. And it didn’t hurt to work with InReality, the leaders in helping companies think through how consumers experience their brands.

(2) Rehearse

Before the CES, we asked Nate Wells (our Account Manager) to play the role of the visitor. Corey Westerman (our VP of Operations) played the role of the ReST team. How did Corey greet Nate? How did he invite him to experience the ReST Bed™? What if someone was on the bed when Corey approached the bed with Nate? What if Nate asked an inappropriate question (the shows were in Las Vegas and we were showing beds after all!). By rehearsing ahead of time, we thought through the visitors’ experiences.

(3) Watch and listen

After eight hours of talking about our bed, it would have been easy to go into auto-pilot. Luckily, my colleague John Thorp gave me a great tip: as you are talking, watch the visitor’s reaction to what you are saying. If they give any physical (or verbal) cue that you said something that interests them, expand on that point.

Relatedly: listen to what folks say as they get on the bed. Their reaction (e.g., “Hey, Joe. You gotta try this!”) lends itself to a deeper understanding of our value proposition – and candidates of words to use in our marketing messages.

(4) Wear comfortable shoes.

Standing on concrete for 70 hours is physically tiring. We were lucky that when we had a quiet moment, we could spend a few minutes relaxing on the ReST Bed™. But most of you won’t fall into that category, so wear comfortable shoes!

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