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Someone is going to win Best of Show – It should be you

It’s springtime, and I know you’re all antsy to get outside in the fresh air and hit the trail like the road warriors you are. But wait. I want to give you a quick lesson on something you might find fun and interesting: winning.

Yes, winning. It’s not just for Charlie Sheen. Nothing looks better on your next PR piece, in your next industry magazine issue, or even on the wall above your front desk receptionist, than a shiny new award. Sure, you can shout to the world about how great your company, product or service is, but when someone else hands you an award for it, that’s a big deal. You may be closer to your next award than you think.

Did you know that almost every show has some type of best of show award? Often, there is more than one type of award presented at any given show. Maybe you qualify for the “Best New Product” or the “Best Small Business.” Whatever awards are being offered, make sure to put yourself in the running to win. Many companies don’t bother submitting and overlook the opportunity. Don’t be that guy. As the NY Lottery ads say, “You’ve got to be in it to win it.” Look for award submission opportunities at each and every show where you plan to exhibit.

Maybe you’ve got something really different that you’d like to win an award for. If you have a relationship with the show’s producer, you can even suggest a category. Maybe you think that your product deserves an award for “Fastest Bacon Frying Machine” in show. Even if no one else at the event is showcasing a machine that fries bacon quickly, getting that award still looks good to your potential customers who never have to know how limited your competition was.

Keep in mind that most shows require you to submit your product or service for consideration well in advance of the show, so do your due diligence early. Research what award programs the show has. If you can’t find this information on their website, call the show’s producer. Note that some shows charge a fee for entries, so make sure to include this in your budget.

Make sure you understand and follow all the rules for submission. They all have deadlines, but they may also limit the amount of categories in which you can submit. They may limit the amount of words you can use to describe your product and service. Just be sure that you understand and comply with their rules so you don’t find yourself eliminated from the running.

Okay, class, it’s time for the fun part. You won! Congrats! Your work isn’t over though. Make sure to react quickly to maximize the benefits. Have a press release template ready to go. After you clinch the award, send that press release right out to target publications, attending media members and anyone who can include your announcement along with their coverage of the show. Also be sure to add it to your corporate website and on paid and free press release sites.

Winning an award is an invaluable third party-validation of your product or service. Add it to your marketing materials. Tell all your existing customers. Tell all your potential customers. This is big, exciting news. Come up with ways to tell the world that you’re a winner.

Homework:

1) Look at all of your upcoming shows and determine what awards you would like to receive at each show.

2) Submit to each one.

About Linda Musgrove, the TradeShow Teacher
Linda Musgrove is President of the Trade Show Training firm, TradeShow Teacher. She focuses on teaching companies to significantly improve Trade Show Results through strategic, customized Trade Show Training for individuals, departments or entire teams. Musgrove also presents customized training programs for Trade Show Producers to offer exhibitors. Most recently she authored “The Complete Idiots Guide to Trade Shows”, published by Alpha Books/Penguin Publishing. Learn more at http://www.tsteacher.com and sign up for the FREE monthly Trade Show Tactics newsletter. Follow on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/tsteacher. Send an invite to connect on LinkedIn (email is: linda@tsteacher.com )

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