Trade Shows

Also select a unique bowl to collect business cards. It should be about the size of a large candy dish. I use an unusual pewter bowl that I found at a craft fair. It looks great and always draws comments. It’s a great conversation piece because it’s so artistic. Take a cue from successful exhibitors and increase the number of business cards you receive by offering a raffle prize.

The prize should somehow relate to your business, e.g., a savings bond if you’re in banking, a wine selection or overnight hotel package if your business is hospitality related, or a briefcase if you sell office supplies. Great raffle prizes for any business include gift certificates for Nordstroms or other quality store and club memberships. Whatever prize you offer, the perceived value has to be obvious.

An overnight stay in a nearby nondescript town would not encourage anyone to leave a business card. You’ll want to prepare a flyer with a special time-sensitive offer. This will inspire prospects to take action. Before it goes to the printer, double check to ensure that you have your name, business name and at least the phone number included. Many people actually leave off critical details like this, which defeats the whole purpose for having the offer. Make sure you have plenty of business cards. If you have brochures, be selective about who you hand them out to. Not everyone is a potential client and you don’t want to waste your material.

You might want to develop a brief questionnaire. If you can create questions that inspire the attendees to think about why you would do business together, you’ll get a better response. This gives you a great reason to talk to people who stop and wonder who you are and what you do. If you have a newsletter and want to hand it out, bring a clear display stand that will show it off.