Trade shows are quick and overwhelming. Before you know it, you’re left with hundreds of business cards and loads of promotional items, yet you’re struggling to remember names, faces, and which, if any, of the leads you obtained during the show will pan out.
So how can you maximize the short time you have at a trade show and obtain solid business leads? Here are our tips to ensure you’re making the most out of the time you have at a trade show:
Train Your Employees on How to Sell at a Trade Show
Another problem you might be facing is having trade show booth staff that are untrained in how to sell and close a deal. Keep in mind, just because your employees know the ins and outs of your product doesn’t mean they can sell it to trade show attendees.
How well do you and your employees really know your company’s vision and value proposition? Now is the time to flesh it out and make sure you’re all on the same page. Is your staff properly trained to listen and ask open-ended questions? What about body language? Make sure they’re coached and ready.
Have a Clear and Defined Goal
One of the most common mistakes small and large business alike make prior to trade show arrival is of lack of preparation and a cohesive goal. Trade shows are costly endeavors, and if you don’t have specific and measurable goals in place aside from “increase my bottom line,” it will be difficult to achieve success.
Before you start spending money on travel and a trade show booth and trade show supplies, it is imperative that you put in prep time to avoid those mishaps. Do you know precisely what you want to accomplish at trade shows this year? It is critical to establish clear goals and know what works for your sales process. Sit down with your employees who will be attending the trade show and product experts and brainstorm until you arrive at a well-defined plan with concrete goals; then decide how you will measure them.
Do Your Research
Once those metrics are established, it’s time to do research. Who is your audience, and what are their pain points? You’ll have to do a deep dive in order to figure this out, and once you do, you’ll want to ask yourself: “What are the most important products and services my company offers?” This should give you insight into promoting the right products at the right time, and most importantly, how to set up your trade show display based on the needs of your persona. You can customize your trade show display to be more tech savvy if that’s what your persona responds well to, or more visual with examples of your product/service, and you can do this with the proper trade show materials.
Next, check out the conference website. Find out who else is attending, investigate the keynote speakers, and figure out potential clients to contact before the convention even starts. Set up meetings in advance with those contacts. View a virtual map of the convention center where you’ll be housing your booth so you can view the venue and map out an action plan to mingle once you’re there.
Draw Attention to Your Brand and Bring in Potential Clients
As soon as your attendance is set in stone, your marketing should begin. Prior to the show, start reaching out to your customers and see whether they’ll be attending. If they are, send them a small gift with a personalized note inviting them to spend some time at your exhibit. That will increase the chances they’ll stop by, and they will likely bring potential customers with them.
Think about pre-show mailings, set up a website landing page dedicated to the trade show, create social media stories and hashtags, and take some risks! Perhaps a PR stunt or experiential marketing event broadcast on social media in the days leading up to the show will draw positive attention to your brand and entice attendees to visit your booth during the show.
Keep Your Employees in the Loop and Stay Organized
Once the trade show is in full swing and your employees are out on the floor networking, make sure there they stay organized and keep each other in the loop. Set a regular, daily check-in during the show and schedule it during times that are typically slow. That way, you can debrief one another and quickly figure out any idiosyncrasies and kinks; you’ll know pretty quickly what works and what doesn’t to ensure your sales process goes smoothly.
Setting up a shareable living document (e.g., Google Docs) for information and lead capture will help keep everyone organized and on the same page; plus, leads and information will be in one centralized place once it’s time for post-show follow-up.
Be Prepared for the Best and/or the Worst Case Scenarios
Mishaps can occur at any time, so make sure your employees are prepared, trained, and ready to answer any and all questions about your products – from serious inquiries to purchase barriers.
Part of being prepared for all possible scenarios again points to prepare in advance of the show. If your employees and salespeople have had the time to sit down with your in-house experts for proper knowledge transfer and rehearsing of all possible outcomes, they will be able to handle anything that comes their way. If you are looking to expand your marketing with trade show exhibiting or want more information on the best trade show display for your business’s needs, contact us.