Archive for the ‘Trade Show Magician’ Category

Trade Show Giveaways: To Think or Not to Think

Thursday, June 13th, 2013 by bobgarner

SWAG (which stands for the “Stuff We All Get”) at trade shows is enormous, yet it serves a purpose. While it can aid in getting attendees to stop by your booth, help initiate discussions, or be used as a “thank you” for coming to the booth, the main purpose is to help remind attendees about your booth and product/service after the show. In other words, it’s about post-show mind share.

Like much advertising/promotion (which is what SWAG is), some companies over-think it, some under-think it, and some don’t put any thought into it at all. With nearly 30 years of experience at trade shows for companies that range from small to Global 100 corporations, here are the most common groups and some tips to more effectively utilize the power of SWAG.

The Over-Thinkers:
It’s wonderful when an exhibit has a theme, and tying your give-away into your theme can be neat. However, primarily the people who will be aware of a booth “theme” are those who created it and possibly those who are working the booth. Attendees may notice, but they actually don’t care nor will they remember your theme.

What is most important on a giveaway is your logo and website. If you choose to have your slogan, that’s fine, too. But, keep in mind, instead of fussing over the tie-in to your theme – spend that time looking for a giveaway that will be something an attendee will actually want to take home. Any giveaway can be customized with your theme, but remember, unless it’s your slogan mark, they won’t remember your theme. Instead, focus on obtaining some SWAG that is eye-catching, interesting, fun or useful.

The Under-Thinkers:
Every year, a “new” giveaway is born and the under-thinkers jump on it not only because someone said it was new, but also because it’s an easy decision. Never mind that a bunch of other exhibits will have the same giveaway or that, as marketers, a little creativity is a good thing to use.

This group is the polar opposite of the over-thinkers and will put little thought into choosing a giveaway. Like the over-thinkers, you need to spend some time researching not the “latest and greatest,” but what would be appealing to your particular audience at the show. Think about what YOU would like to bring home or to the office.

The giveaway doesn’t have to be super expensive. There are many inexpensive, creative, eye-catching giveaways out there. You just need to do some research. As mentioned, it shouldn’t have tons of copy on it, a list of products, etc. It’s not a brochure; it’s SWAG. Keep it short and simple.

The Not-At All Thinkers:
This group usually consists of those who refuse to give away free stuff, because they don’t want a bunch of free loaders stopping by the booth. This group can also contain those who actually think that attendees don’t want free stuff!

Unless you have the hottest and latest product/service at the show, you are deluding yourself to think that your service/product is enough to entice potential customers from walking by your booth. True, some of your current customers may stop by, right before they go to your competitor’s booth that has giveaways. While they’re there, your competition can now chat with them, while you stand in your booth and check your email for the 30th time. You may get a few new attendees to drop in, but what’s the incentive?

While you will get the “tire kickers,” keep in mind that just because an attendee approaches your booth because of the free stuff, doesn’t mean they couldn’t necessarily be a good prospect. As mentioned, free stuff – if used properly in the booth – can aid in initiating conversations with reps.

Additionally, everyone likes free stuff; they just don’t like free junk or more of the same stuff that everyone else is giving away. I have been to countless high-level executive trade shows, and when we had a good giveaway, the “suits” take it. When you have a fun, unique or useful giveaway, attendees take it.

What I also find interesting about the last two groups of thinkers is that they spend a lot of time discussing signage, videos and booth design or money to sponsor the big party, a lunch or a banner and spend little to no money or time on choosing an object that an attendee can take back to his/her office or home with their company name/brand on it.

It’s highly unlikely that attendees will remember the look or design of your booth, your signs, your video or what company paid for lunch. But, when they take a piece of cool SWAG back home or to the office… now you have some mind share. It not only reminds them about your company, but, if it’s a neat giveaway, they talk about it with others back at work. It sits there on the desk or at home as a reminder of your company. That’s mind share; that’s power!

Therefore, in addition to the aforementioned benefits of using giveaways to initiate conversations or as a “thank you” for stopping at the trade show, some thought should be used when choosing your giveaways. Remember, SWAG is a small piece of advertising that gives an exhibitor the opportunity to provide current or potential customers with some mind share, after the event is over. And in today’s competitive business world … that’s the power of SWAG.

Bob Garner has nearly 30 years of experience as not only a trade show magician, but also as a consultant to many of his Fortune 1000 corporations on sales performance and trade show ROI. To see how you can increase your trade show ROI, watch his trade show magicians video.

©2013 Bob Garner. All Rights Reserved. Feel free to post this article, but please use my byline and resource box. Thank you.

Conference Planners: 4 Ways to Increase Exhibitor Participation at Trade Shows

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 by bobgarner

Convention and conference planners understand that with tight budgets, the advent of web meetings, and more companies than ever before hosting their own customer events, conference trade shows have taken a bit of a hit. Some conferences have vanished, while others have had to combine with other shows in order to stay alive. True, there are some conventions that are still robust, yet the footprint of many companies at those shows has been reduced.

Despite cutbacks, one concern that affects a company’s decision to exhibit at a show is whether they receive a quantifiable ROI from their participation. While conferences do make money from attendees, they also make a huge amount from exhibitors via exhibiting fees, sponsorships, and advertising opportunities at the show. Therefore, it would be in the conference planner’s (and conference management company’s) interest to aid exhibitors in receiving that ROI. The following are a few things that meeting and conference managers can do to make that happen:

1) Non-Conflicting Show Hours:
Probably the largest complaint from exhibitors is having the exhibit floor open while there are sessions running. Oftentimes, the traffic is light to non-existent and exhibitors view this as a waste of time.

Conducting sessions concurrently during exhibit floor hours forces your attendees to choose between attending sessions (for CEUs, personal interest, etc.) and visiting exhibitor’s booths. Depending on the industry, you may be required to supply a certain amount of educational hours. However, don’t keep the hall open at those times. Instead, start the sessions earlier or open the hall later. Possibly hold a session or two in the exhibit hall. This gives attendees the freedom to attend the session, while others can visit the booths.

2) Lunch is Not Hall Time:
Some conference planners still insist on having lunch in the exhibit hall and then starting up sessions shortly thereafter. By the time attendees have gotten through the food line and have eaten, there needs to be time for those attendees to visit the booths. Try to keep the hall open – with no conflicting sessions – for an hour or more after lunch. This not only helps your exhibitors, but also aids your attendees, as they do want to spend quality time with exhibitors without being rushed.

3) Talk to Exhibitors:
Make sure your staff actually visits all of the exhibitors – not just the large booths – and asks them for feedback. Make sure that the staff listens and backs up those conversations with viable actions.

4) Trade Show Police:
While every booth should adhere to the rules, don’t go overboard and run the show like it’s the military. I have seen small exhibits attacked for minor infractions, while larger booths get carte blanche. Remember, this is a trade show where companies are competing for the time and attention of attendees. While some companies spend money and time creating ways to attract attendees, others do not – and these are the exhibits that do most of the complaining. Again, there are rules, but they need to be flexible. A trade show is not a library or a high level meeting room. There will be noise, contests, attractions, and attendees in the aisles. As long as the noise is not overbearing and the aisles are relatively clear, then let the companies do what they do, which is compete.

Following these simple steps will aid your exhibitors in realizing a higher ROI from participating at your conference. While they seem simple and logical, many conferences planners and convention planners do not take them into consideration. Hence, why many companies have lessened their footprint at trade shows or have decided not to go at all. As a conference or meeting planner, it’s important to take all parties of your event – attendees and exhibitors – into consideration. After all, both are your customer, and part of your job is to help them to come together – so that all may benefit from being at your show.

With nearly 30 years of experience at trade shows, Bob Garner has seen it all. A trade show magician with clients worldwide, Bob has also counseled many of these clients on what shows to attend and how to exhibit. As one of the most respected trade show magicians in the business, Bob helps his clients achieve a high ROI.

©2012 Bob Garner. All Rights Reserved. You may use this article, but you must use the byline and author resource.

Trade Show Presenter – Two New Testimonials for Trade Show Magician and Corporate Entertainer Bob Garner

Monday, July 9th, 2012 by bobgarner

As a trade show presenter, my job is to gather a crowd, entertain them and deliver important information about my client’s products and services. Being a trade show magician – actually, a trade show mentalist – and a corporate entertainer makes my job a little easier because I can entertain an audience. However, the job does entail delivering messages that will aid my clients in finding out who, among the crowd watching me, is interested in finding out more information and then getting  those attendees into the exhibit. It’s like being a live commercial that shows instant results!

I am always grateful to my clients when they provide me with a video testimonial. Even though all of my written testimonials are on file, the video testimonials are special.

Here are two of the latest:

In this video, my client confirms that I DOUBLED their booth demos…


In  this video, my client confirms that I created a “BUZZ” for them and aided their reps in “breaking the ice.”


Bottom Line: If you want to create a “BUZZ” at your booth, increase your number of demos, get more attention to your products and enhance your trade show ROI, then give me a call or go to my trade show magician site. Watch the video demo of my services as a trade  show corporate magician.

Medical Client Confirms Garner is Astonishing, Relevant and Perfect at National Sales Training Event

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 by bobgarner

Wanted to share my latest video testimonial as a funny motivational speaker. I had the honor of speaking at a recent national sales training event for medical client Devicor Medical Products.

What an awesome group of dedicated and passionate people. I want to thank the SR. VP of Global Marketing for saying this about my presentation…

Astonishing, relevant and perfect for not only sales reps, but also customers – WOW – thank you for those words.  As always, if you’re looking for a funny motivational keynote speaker or a kick-off/wrap-up speaker for your meeting, you can give me a call.

Byy the way, here is a link to a few more testimonials about not only my entertaining motivational speaker programs, but also as a trade show magician – or should I say trade show mentalist !

Trade Show Presenter Testimonial Confirms Bob and His Team Are the Best

Thursday, February 9th, 2012 by bobgarner

Hi Jill again,

Just got this testimonial from one of Bob’s clients with regard to Bob and his teams work for them at a recent trade show in the Big Apple! At the show, Bob was more than a trade show magician, he was a trade show mentalist who gathered crowds and then sent them over for a more detailed presentation by two of Bob’s top trade show presenters.

Take a look at the testimonial to see one of the top trade show magicians, as well as outstanding trade show presenters. For more trade show presenter testimonials or to take a look at Bob’s trade show magician video, just click on the links.

Trade Show Magician Testimonial Confirms No One Can Do What Bob Garner Does

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011 by bobgarner

In addition to being a funny motivational speaker, I also work with clients worldwide to help them create a bigger “BUZZ” about their products and services at trade shows. I’m usually referred to as a trade show magician or trade show presenter, but I prefer trade show mentalist.

However, what really counts is that I help my clients draw more attention to their trade show booth, as well as deliver key information and then make sure that qualified attendees get scanned and have access to the sales team. This latest testimonial confirms that is what I do.

Trade Show Magician Bob Garner – New Testimonial Confirms High Leads and “Wow” Factor

Thursday, September 29th, 2011 by bobgarner

Trade show magician Bob Garner has a new testimonial that confirms how he consistently delivers high quality leads and the “WOW” factor to his clients at trade shows.

More than just a trade show presenter, Bob has been working with this client at their large shows for over 7 years! Check out the video and if you want to generate high quality leads and the “WOW” factor at your next exhibit, call trade show magician and trade show mentalist Bob Garner.


Associate Derek Hood Rocks Them for New Client

Thursday, September 29th, 2011 by bobgarner

A couple of years ago, I started looking for a new associate for my roster and I found the perfect addition in San Luis Obispo magician and mentalist Derek Hood.

He is a great talent, easy-to-work with, highly professional and a nice guy, as well. He is definitely one of the “up and coming” trade show magicians.

I have used him on a number of corporate events and he always delivers high! Last week we sent him to DC for new client Exxon Mobil and he did a great job. In just a few days, Derek heads for Salt Lake City for AHIMA. I know he’ll do well there too!

trade show magician associate for Bob Garner

Trade Show Presentation Tips: Why Most Employee Trade Show Presenters Fail and How to Stop That

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011 by bobgarner

If you have to deliver presentations at a trade show, there are a few things you can do that will aid you in not only doing a better job, but also help you get “positively” noticed by your company and by others looking to hire someone with your product knowledge who can also speak well. As a trade show magician, I have witnessed thousands of employee trade show presenters and most fail miserably. You see empty seats, bored attendees, poor communication of the message, as well as little or no follow up interest by attendees who heard the presentation – they just get up and leave. Here are a few trade show presentation tips to help you do a better job at the show and, also, achieve the little known bonus secret of standing out in the minds of others as a skilled communicator.

1) Be Prepared – Write out what you are going to say and remember that trade show presentations should be no longer than 10 minutes. If you can’t tell attendees what you offer in less than 10 minutes than you need to cut, cut, cut.

2) Call to Action – At the end of your presentation, make sure to include a “call to action,” which is stating that you would be willing to further discuss what you’ve been speaking on and tell them where you will be located in the booth. This is more effective than asking if anyone has questions. Get those with questions over to your demo station where you can provide more detailed information and penetrate the account.

3) Rehearse – So many employee presenters “wing it,” and it shows – it embarrassingly shows. Rehearse your script with your power point and do the whole thing including the call to action. Make sure that everything moves smoothly and run through it until you’re sick of doing it. Also, rehearse for failure. By that I mean, rehearse your presentation so that if the power point stops or there is another technical glitch, you can still deliver your presentation. Now some feel that they know their content so well or that they are so clever that they don’t need to rehearse. Let me tell you, even the most skilled comedians and speakers don’t “wing it.” There comments may look “off the cuff,” but they’ve delivered those same lines a million times. Winging it works if you’re a bird, but as someone who is representing your product and company, you look foolish. Rehearse.

4) Show Day – On the day of the show, get to the booth early. Get familiar with the microphone and do a microphone check. Run through your presentation again – complete with the power point – and imagine the seats filled with people and then do it again imagining the seats only semi-filled. This is called “owning the room,” and it gives you self confidence and allows you to command the stage – which is what you want.

5) Check Out Your Surroundings – See what is going on in the other booths near you. Does the booth across from you have a trade show magician in it? Does another have a professional trade show presenter or other attraction? Be aware of your competition, because professional trade show presenters are trying to attract the same attendees you are with one major exception – they are getting paid to attract a crowd and, therefore, have more incentive to outdraw you.

6) Show Time – Due to your following the previous steps, when it’s your time to “hit the stage,” you will deliver a well-thought out presentation with confidence and clarity. What is happening around you or how many seats are filled won’t affect you and, due to your call to action, you will later meet with attendees who are really interested in what you had to say.

7) Video Tape Your Presentation – Watch it and see where you can make improvements. Also, when you have enough video, edit your work into a short 5 minute demo. Why? You never know when this “video calling card” may come in handy should you look for another job. Doubt that comment? Please read the next step.

Bonus Time – According to 2010 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the number one skill employers consider crucial for employment is effective communication skills. As an employee who knows how to effectively communicate a message to a large amount of people, you will be noticed by your peers and executives from your company in a positive way. Additionally, other companies are always at the show and “power people” are always looking for those who have product or industry knowledge and can speak well. Therefore, the ability to do so is a skill worth cultivating.

I can’t tell you how many times I have been offered a job to be a sales rep due to my ability to speak to large groups. Imagine what could happen to you should you combine your expertise in your field with effective communicative skills?

With nearly 30 years experience as trade show magician and corporate spokesperson, I can tell you that if you follow these trade show presentation tips, you will do a better job at the show and your personal lead count will be elevated. Plus, you will be noticed by your company and by others at the show as a skilled communicator. This secret bonus may not only help you solidify your current job, but also aid you should you be on the market for a new one.  If you want to have the seats filled for every presentation than go to my site at

2011 Copyright BobGarner.

Trade Show Magician Video Shows How To Increase Trade Show ROI

Thursday, February 10th, 2011 by bobgarner

At a trade show, the goal should be to attract attendees to your booth, deliver your message and then get the attendees who are truly interested in what you have to offer into your booth to talk in more depth with your reps. That is the only way to increase trade show ROI.

Just having a “presence” is a waste of corporate dollars. I have seen large booths with no attendees in them and the trade show manager will say, “We aren’t here for leads. We just are here to be seen.” What?

If you’re not at a trade show to let attendees know what you have and why they need it, then you shouldn’t be at the show. How do you know if your competitor’s clients are unhappy and maybe looking for a change? You can wait for them to “drop in” to your booth, but is that “going after the competition?” Isn’t “going after the customer” what the Director of Sales preaches to his or her sales team?

All corporations are focused on improving the bottom line and getting qualified attendees into your booth to hear what you have to offer and giving those attendees “face time” with reps or product managers is what improves that bottom line and you can’t get that with an empty booth.

Just having a booth and waiting for attendees to “drop by” and maybe scan their card for a prize is just a waste of time and money. Is there any trade show manager who doesn’t dread hearing the question, “Why are we at this show?” or “Do we get any leads at this show and are they any good?”(And then the marketing department wonders why their trade show budget has been cut and why “trade shows” at their company are viewed so poorly. It’s because you aren’t showing a ROI.)

As a trade show magician with nearly 30 years of experience working in a variety of industries, I can tell you that my clients believe in a proactive approach to gaining mind share and generating quality leads from the shows at which they exhibit. Trade show managers enjoy reaping the benefits of having the booth with “all the buzz.” There is not a single trade show manager that doesn’t love having the booth that everyone is talking about. Sales managers and sales directors love to see me load up their booth with qualified attendees who want more information. Sales reps jump over backwards when they get to go back to their office with a high number of quality leads that they can follow up on and turn into sales. That is major ROI.

If you are looking to increase your trade show ROI and want a proactive approach to doing so, the trade show magician video below shows what I can do for your company as a trade show magician and how I can help you be the “BUZZ” at your next show.