If you’re an experienced exhibitor, you probably maintain a consistent trade show routine. You know the drill: handle the pre-show promotion, train the staff, set up the booth, attract and manage new leads, tear down the booth, and follow-up with prospects. Your current procedure does the job, but you always feel a little rushed in the midst of it.

It’s easy to become robotic and stick to a routine that seems to work. But it’s also important to critically examine your process for ways you can utilize your time and resources more efficiently. Here are a few time-saving tips.

Booth Staff

With booth staff, the real time-saver occurs before training even begins — it starts during the hiring process. It’s crucial to hire skilled brand ambassadors who know how to handle the expo floor. Their expertise and experience will allow you to relax and trust their judgement, saving you time, training, and headaches. By hiring masters of face-to-face marketing, you can stay focused on communicating the important stuff: your company’s specific goals, guidelines, and behavioral expectations.

Another way to save time with your staff is to appoint your most experienced staff member into a “lead role” position. Though you should still host meetings before the show to refresh them on your expectations, it’s helpful to have someone else to handle things when you’re not in the room. Your lead role can alleviate a few responsibilities, such as handling simple questions about scheduling, guidelines, and goals.

Exhibit Design

Your booth design should be appealing and functional, but also simple to build and tear down. This will save you a lot of time in the days prior and following the trade show. Now days, there are many alternatives to the traditional booth set up. Some include renting an easy-to-build exhibit, or hiring a contractor to set everything up for you.

If your goal is to save time pre-show and post-show, make sure to never sacrifice the quality, integrity, or aesthetic appeal of your booth. Doing so would be detrimental to your trade show success — you can find other ways to save time.

Show Selection

Prioritizing your show appearances is a powerful way to free up large chunks of time. Be sure to examine your return on investment at specific trade shows in past years — rank them, compare them, examine them. Which shows are yielding the highest return? Are there shows that aren’t providing the results you’d like?

If a certain trade show isn’t serving your company in the way it should, don’t be afraid to eliminate it from your line up. Doing so will free up time — time that you can place toward your other, higher-yielding exhibitions and make them even more fruitful.

Promotion and Giveaways

Promotions are a key factor to the success of any trade show booth. Your company can’t eradicate promotional items, but you can make them more versatile. Rather than tailoring your gear for a specific trade show, find ways to unify them for multiple appearances. This makes your promo items re-usable and saves you a lot of time on designing, selecting, and purchasing them.

Study the demographics of the shows you’ll be exhibiting at — it’s likely that the majority at each show will be remarkably similar. Use this information to purchase promotional items that will appeal to an audience at multiple exhibitions. Your giveaways and gear should be versatile — but that doesn’t mean they should be vague or uninteresting. Find the balance between re- usability and uniqueness.

Follow-up

Our recent blog post describes ways to make your follow-up process easier and more efficient.
You company can save an incredible amount of time by better utilizing on-the-spot screenings and systematically organizing your new prospects.

The process of following up with new leads is often met with resistance — after a show, you’re susceptible to get caught up in all the emails that have flooded your inbox. Make the follow-up process simpler and less overwhelming by doing most of the work beforehand.