More Trade Show Tips – Presentations & Key Questions

8 05 2014

With Surtex just a couple of weeks away, followed by Book Expo and then Licensing Expo—it’s the peak of trade show season and time to get out and sell yourself, art, brand or characters.

Whether you are in a booth or walking the shows, my best advice is to spend the time preparing.  When you are getting organized, think about making presentations that are very short.  Have your quick 15 and 30 second descriptions of your business and goals well-rehearsed so it’s top-of-mind.  Then expand on them to create a more comprehensive 2-3 minute presentation for those who are interested.

Remember that anyone attending a trade show will be talking to 50, 100 or more people in a day and, in general, you shouldn’t expect long initial meetings. If you try to force them into a 10-20 minute presentation, there is a good chance you will kill the lead.

For art licensing presentations, if possible allow the prospect to turn the pages or click the images on your iPad, so they can pace the presentation themselves.  When presenting a character or story, it’s more important to quickly go through a sequential explanation to set the stage and then give the prospect some concepts to flip through.

Please be courteous if you are an artist walking any of the shows, especially where other artists and brands are exhibiting in the booths.  Agents in the booths are, of course, always interested in learning about new talent. But whether you’re meeting an artist representing themselves or an agent, they have invested a great deal to exhibit. Every year, after the shows, we read about insensitive people who try to usurp the time and energy of those in booths to learn about the industry, while the exhibitors get frustrated and are potentially missing out on viable leads with licensees. Don’t let that be you.

I recently learned that 85% of the impression you will make with potential licensees at a trade show is based on booth staffers.  So remember how critical your role is, as the owner or part of the supporting team.  Make sure you have a list of questions clear in your mind and ready to ask potential prospects. I presented these questions last year in my blog, but they are worth repeating for those of you who are now ready to attend a show or exhibit this year:

  • What does your company do?
  • What exactly do you do at your company?
  • What are you hoping to find at the show?
  • What are you interested in, or caught your eye, in my booth?
  • What products do you produce?
  • Where do you distribute your products?
  • What consumers are you interested in targeting most?
  • How can I help you?

smiley faceAlso, remember not to get discouraged by negative responses. At a trade show, as in life, a general rule is that you “must go through 10 to find the one.” So don’t give up.

Lastly—keep an optimistic attitude; don’t burn bridges; show interest in them; and keep smiling!



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