Mobile devices, included iPads, Android tablets, phones and iPhones are being used more and more at trade shows these days.

Whether it’s as a mobile sales tool in a sales reps hands, a tablet on a stand showing videos, or even just a mobile tool for scanning badges, Trade Show Managers need to prepare their sales teams appropriately.

Over the past year, I attended a bunch of trade shows that focus on the Medical Sciences and Lab Automation Industries.  The exhibiting companies have literally thousands and thousands of products.

So it was awesome to see so many individual sales reps with mobile devices, with tons of product information at their fingertips.

I also had the opportunity to interact with mobile devices in the booths. Unfortunately, many reps and booths were simply not prepared to use them to their maximum potential.

If you are planning on rolling out a mobile device with a mobile sales app at your next trade show, don’t make these mobile device mistakes that could cost you valuable trade show ROI.

1. Basic Mobile Device Trade Show Training for Everyone in the Booth on Your Mobile Sales App

I was amazed at how many booths employees and sales people didn’t know how to use their own mobile sales apps. Out of our list of mobile device mistakes, a lack of app training could have the most impact on trade show ROI.

Even though now, almost everyone has a mobile device, don’t assume it’s easy for everyone in your booth to know how to use your app to view your products.

Your customers are watching and judging. Your sales people need to guide prospects on the apps to find the great stuff you are offering.

This means really knowing how to use the app to effectively find the right product information.  Just because it’s mobile and looks cool doesn’t mean it’s “self serve”.

2. Don’t Count on Conference WiFi and Have Backup

With 1000’s of mobile phones, iPads, and lap tops all hitting the conference WiFi service, your web apps and web pages are useless when you can’t access them. Right here in San Diego, at SLAS2016, believe or not, several booths had no internet access!

If you are planning on using the internet – get a WiFi card or 3G account for all your devices. Or, just bite the bullet and pay for the really good connection.  The expense will save hours of grief and safeguard your trade show investment.

3. Don’t Forget Power

The iPad has amazing battery life and will easily run videos for the hours of a Trade Show, but don’t forget to bring power strips and chargers. At least one booth at MD&M East had tons of iPads mounted into the display, but a couple of them were dead. Bummer!  That’s a booth I don’t want to visit. Say goodbye to potential trade show ROI.

I like to keep my iPads in separate kit that contains chargers, cleaners, and soft cases – one for each. Heck you might even label them – iPad trade show #1,2 etc.

ipad-battery-died

4. Keep Your Tablets Clean

Tablets are truly great selling tools. I’ve seen customers happily tapping through product catalogs with FatStax sending themselves product information on many occasions.

This will not happen if the screens are smudged with finger prints. Can you imagine having a great booth at FIME International, one of the largest medical trade show in the medical device market place, and using a dirty screen – no thanks!

It scares people from touching the screen and it is unsanitary!

The bottom line is keep it clean with a lens cloth. We recommend arming your booth staff with at least two cloths (or more) each.

They are cheap. Losing potential customers and trade show ROI is expensive!

5. Reserve Mobile Devices 

During another recent show, I went in to a smaller booth that was using an iPad to scan badges to lead.

Cool, I thought, a new start-up using mobile technology to provide a better “scanning” experience – straight to your CRM. Way to go!

Two local sales reps came in that morning to manage the booth, thinking they would be ready to go.

Too bad they weren’t. Just when the exhibit show started, the battery in their iPad gave out and they had no way to scan leads.  Whoops!

Click here to watch a quick video on how to save your iPad’s battery life.

Always, always, always have an extra mobile device (or two) with your videos and apps loaded, tested and ready to go.  If something can go wrong, eventually it will.  Be prepared.

Great! Now that you’ve learned what mobile device mistakes to avoid at trade shows, you may want to think about improving your trade show ROI at your next event. I highly recommend checking out Three Ways to Improve Trade Show ROI recorded webinar.

Got a question about using mobile devices or mobile sales apps at Trade Shows? Let us know in the comments section below.