Have clear goals and objectives
“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are, you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they may have planned for you? Not much.”
The first and most important aspect to having a successful tradeshow is the planning. In any area of our live actually – we've all heard the saying, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Yet for most companies it's the most glossed over and brushed aside area.
A clear budget with focused objectives and strategies give you a massive edge when used in the tradeshow area. Your team knows what is happening and how to make it happen as well as it gives you a solid foundation for you to launch your campaign from, and track the return on investment after it's over.
Three Components of Powerful Goals and Objectives
Jim Rohn often said that the major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes you do to accomplish it. This will always be a far greater value than what you get. That is why goals are so powerful. They are part of the fabric that makes up our lives.
Goal setting provides focus, shapes our future and gives us the ability to hone in on the exact actions we need to take to achieve the outcomes we desire for our company.
Please keep in mind that although the same principals apply to both - we are discussing company goals and objectives here not personal goals.
Powerful goals have three components:
- They must be inspiring.
- They must be believable.
- They must be goals you can act on.
When your goals inspire you, when you believe and act on them, you will accomplish them!
Key Aspects of Goal Setting: There are three main areas of emphasis that we believe need to be followed when setting goals related to tradeshows:
- Evaluation and Reflection
The only way you can decide what you want from this tradeshow and how you will get there is to first know where you are right now and what your level of satisfaction is for the state of your company. The first order of business is for you to set aside some serious time for evaluation and reflection.
- SMART Goals
SMART means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-sensitive.
- Specific: Don’t be vague. Exactly what outcome/s do you want after the show?
- Measurable: Quantify your goal. How will you know if you’ve achieved it or not?
- Attainable: Be honest with yourself about what you can reasonably accomplish at this tradeshow while taking into consideration your current position.
- Realistic: It’s got to be doable, real and practical.
- Time: Associate a time frame with each goal. When should you complete the goal? For a lot of you this will be simply the end of the tradeshow – however some companies will have a longer time frame attached to the goals. Especially if they are dealing with long term contracts or relationships.
Think of the word accountable. It means to give an account. When someone knows what your goals are, they help hold you accountable. Having a person who can hold you accountable - an accountability partner - will give you another added boost to accomplishing your goals. This will typically be your marketing team or management team. But also sharing the goals with everyone involved in the tradeshow experience, whether it's being there on the day or helping get ready, is vital.
Put It in Writing!
Goals committed to paper are more effective than goals held only in your mind. The process of writing the goals down requires you to think them through thoroughly and to articulate them clearly. It also provides a record of the goal, when it was made and when you want to achieve it. And putting it in writing is a commitment to complete it.
Post the goals where you and your team can see them. Make them “real” and a real part of your daily routine as you approach the tradeshow. Don’t just jot them down and tuck them away in a drawer, or put them on a poster on the back of a door. Make a daily or weekly habit to email everyone on the team with an update on where you are up to and be sure to have the goals clearly show on every email.
Write the goals in positive language that expresses a firm commitment to achieving them. Include a statement about why the achievement of this set of goals is important to the company.
Enlist the help of others.
No one exists in a vacuum, and while there are some personal goals you can complete on your own, it’s essential to have the advice and support of your team.
Don’t be afraid to ask other like-minded people in your industry that have done tradeshows before or even ourselves.
An interesting thing happens when you enlist the help of others. Often, someone will have an idea that can directly help you achieve one or more of the objectives in some small way. Also, having planted the seed of the outcome in the team’s subconscious minds, they will unconsciously begin looking for ways to help. They will come up with ideas, stumble upon resources or help you look at things in a different light - all of which can directly or indirectly help to achieve the goals.
Incorporate Rewards into Your Goal Plan
The days and weeks prior to a tradeshow and achieving the goals is hard work. To keep your motivation high, build in little rewards at critical points in your plan. Self-motivation is the key to success, and there’s nothing like positive reinforcement to keep self-motivation high. The rewards don’t need to be fancy - lunch for the team, a personal thankyou to each team member at your daily/weekly update meeting or a $20 gift voucher may be more than adequate - but recognizing your progress and accomplishment is vital.