Trade shows are a fantastic tool for generating new business contacts and prospects and especially for generating sales revenues. Nothing in a sales and marketing strategy comes close to getting your face in front of already qualified buyers than a trade show – attendees are not only taking time out of their working schedule to attend, but they are usually attending because they are looking for new suppliers, new products and services and seeking to widen their own circle of business connections amongst solution providers for their business.
The first thing to realize about trade show exhibiting is that most of the sales are achieved after the event itself. The trade show is the doorway which you open for prospects; real people with buying power get to relate to you personally, they get to see your company and solutions first hand and you get the opportunity to learn what they are looking for in a new supplier.
While making sales on the day is a great incentive to attend, it is the opportunity to create qualified prospects that will close shortly after the show which is the real cream.
This leads on to your after the event follow-up. Most exhibitors, even the veterans, manage to mess this up. Always follow-up with prospects and contacts you make at the show – if you agree to call an attendee that week, make sure you put that call in. Ensure you have your post-show management already arranged so you collect the customer and prospect data in a central repository (a customer management system is ideal and a real necessity). You should also have all of your marketing collateral for follow-up contact and mailings already arranged before the trade show event itself and make sure your staff and management know what they have to get done and by when.
The key to following up is not to allow the post show euphoria lead to your exhibition team letting their guard down thinking the job is finished – it isn’t finished until you have closed every possible sale from the leads generated.
It doesn’t matter what your budget is for the actual trade show itself, it is simply vital that you stand out in some way from the rest of the crowd. There must be a means by which you are differentiated from every other exhibitor and especially any direct competitors. Your exhibition stand needs to be well organized and the design should promote your name, logo and product clearly – check with your equipment supplier to see what products they have which can be integrated into the booth design to add to the visual impact.
Prior preparation is also key – making sure that all the logistics are in place to get equipment and people to the event, make sure they are maintained, watered and fed and planning for contingencies is vital. This gets easier with experience but there are always unforeseen events which need to be dealt with and this is where good relationships with event managers can also pay dividends for exhibitors.
On the subject of event managers – these people are crucial to your success but you then again, you are crucial to the success of their event. There are numerous opportunities to work together so you get the maximum returns from the trade show itself. This may involve you getting access to trade show demographics from previous events; pre-registrations of attendees for pre-show marketing; exhibitor listings to see who may be a good neighbour out on the trade show floor and also, opportunities for you to host or guest appear at trade show seminars and working with press and media to promote your attendance and the event itself.
The bottom line with event managers is to make them work as much as possible on your behalf and you can do that most effectively where you show them you are proactive and your efforts coordinate and complement their own very closely.
By DariuszSankowski from Pixabay