Your company’s presence at industry trade shows is critical to stay competitive in a global marketplace. A properly managed trade show display can be one of your most effective and powerful sales tools.

Here are some pointers to consider as you approach the challenge of maximizing your trade show selling efforts:

– To get started, enlist the early interest and participation of your Marketing Director. He/she should be a dedicated promotional partner in getting your exhibit program launched. If you do not have a communications department in your company, consider hiring your trade show exhibit company or an outside trade show marketing consultant. If you do not have the budget for a consultant, take the time to educate yourself and your sales team on the basic essentials of trade show selling.

– Recognize the importance of trade show exhibiting and give it your very best. Business-to-business marketers in greater numbers every year are adopting the trade show exhibit function as an increasingly valuable component of their promotional toolkit. A study on the nine basic marketing approaches used by the nation’s top companies, trade show exhibits rank #3 in marketing dollars spent, only behind advertising and sales promotions and ahead of sales force management, direct and online marketing, premiums, public relations among others. What this means is you need to spend time and effort on exhibiting at trade shows to remain competitive.

– Set standards for trade show exhibit quality, design, and staff conduct to optimize the trade show exhibit area experience. A well-presented exposition area can be a very compelling attraction especially if you make it a first-class event with strict standards for quality trade show displays with a set of guidelines. Portable and custom modular exhibits are now available through professional exhibit specialists who handle the entire design and build function from initial graphics to delivery of the finished exhibit at the trade show site. New lightweight materials and collapsible construction make assembly, breakdown, and shipping both easy and affordable.

– Train your staff to effectively sell at your trade show booth. Keep in mind who you are exhibiting to, what your specific message is, and why visitors to your trade show booth need to know about your product, service, or message. Practice your message with your staff to make it clear and brief. Be sure you have the informed staff at your booth to answer specific questions in detail. Make sure they are effective representatives for your company and that they have proper trade show booth etiquette: no eating, no lounging, no chatting among themselves, and ignoring client prospects.

– Seek guidance from reliable sources. As the trade show exhibit industry has grown, so have its resources for providing support for those interested in making the trade show exhibit function an important part of their marketing efforts.

As you plan your sales and marketing function, take a closer look at the added value of a well-conceived or upgraded trade show exhibit. In today’s business environment, where the high tech conveniences of e-commerce and cell phones eliminate face-to-face encounters, your company is probably craving the high touch experience a trade show exposition can add to assist your sales team.