If you ask businesses what’s most important about attending trade shows, you’re likely to hear a lot about products and services. After all, isn’t the goal of these events to promote your business’s offerings so that more people will become customers? 

The answer is yes – and no. While trade shows are absolutely a promotional opportunity for businesses, and trade show guides often place a significant emphasis on preparing your booth display, yours products and services will always play second fiddle to your team. Indeed, the reason trade shows are such a powerful business tool is that they encourage personal connection.

As you prepare for your next trade show, then, it’s important for your company to emphasize the human factor at least as much as anything else. 

These 4 changes will help center networking as the main attraction at your booth – and your business the place to be during the course of the event.

Host An Experts Café

Whether your business emphasizes services or tangible solutions as its stock and trade, customers come to you for your expertise. Capitalize on that fact by hosting scheduled experts’ café sessions at your booth. Your business gets featured spots, of course, but you’ll also want to include other businesses that complement yours. Don’t forget to post about the speakers on your social media to make sure others stop by to hear theses mini-presentations.

Create A Scene

It doesn’t matter what you have going on at your booth if people aren’t excited by and attracted to the space. With that in mind, be sure to design your booth with multi-sensory elements, including audio content and interactive components, and train your people to build on these display features. They should have scripts for engaging clients, but also have a deep enough understanding of your business’s products and services that they’re able to adlib based on the need and interests of visitors.

Provide Value

While you want people to come to your booth for reasons related to your business, at a busy event it’s no surprise that people will scope out the spots that offer something they need. Make your booth that spot by offering a need or luxury such as snacks or a charging station at your space. Whenever possible, opt for “slow” services – items that take a minute to prepare or use so that people will be encouraged to stick around and look at your offerings.

Look For The Matchmakers

As a presenter, you can do a lot to facilitate connections at your own booth, but you don’t have to do it all yourself. One way to make sure you’re getting the most out of your trade show experience is by finding events that offer matchmaking services for participants. These programs facilitate meetings between companies that could benefit from a cooperative relationship and they can help your business build connections you might not without their support and insight. Because the organizers have comprehensive knowledge of who’s participating in the event, they’re well-equipped to make valuable connections.

Few events offer such rich networking opportunities as trade shows and most companies only attend a few each year. Take advantage of these shows to build strategic connections that will benefit your business for years to come.