exception, every business needs to sell to survive. Whether you manufacture,
sell a product or a service, if you don’t make any sales you won’t have any
business. It’s a given in this day and age that the majority of businesses have
a website. Add into the digital equation your social media channels. Throw in
some networking and strategic direct mail campaigns and BOOM!
about the trade show?
Love them or
loathe them, when carefully planned and executed, a trade show can generate excellent
quality new leads for your sales team. So, let’s take a stroll through the
essentials for success when it comes to exhibiting at a trade show.
your business model, you may be in a position where you’re spoilt for choice as
to which trade show you need to exhibit at. Do your homework. If it’s an annual
recurring event, research feedback from previous years. What are the costs to
exhibit? You may not have the budget for a stand at the NEC or the 02 but a
more localised event, such as a Chamber of Commerce Expo, may not only suit
your pocket but will target more local footfall. Nobody wants to be a minnow in
an ocean full of sharks.
decided where you’re going to be, start to plan your space and your stand
offering. Generally, you should begin planning 3 – 6 months ahead of the doors
opening. Make the most of the Exhibitors Pack
who are the main sponsors of the event?
can you get a list of registered delegates
before the show?
If at all
possible, attend the event as a delegate before parting with your marketing
budget, just to make sure it’s the right fit for your business.
Strategise To Maximise
your goals for the event? Are you launching a new product? Are you trying to
break into a new market sector? Are you simply after more sales? Some
businesses even exhibit purely on the basis that their main competition will
also be there! Without a strategy, your team won’t know why they’re there or
what their objectives are for the duration of the show. And that’s just plain
Build A Buzz
social media channels to promote the fact that you’re going to be exhibiting. Find
out what the event hashtags are (these are usually included in the Exhibitor
Pack when you first register), post regularly and tag the event in your posts. Engage
with other exhibitors, promote what visitors to your stand can expect, what’s
in it for them – make your stand a must-visit to the delegates you are trying
information on your website about the event (don’t forget those backlinks for
SEO!), and maybe even a blog about the event.
round trade shows can be knackering. Why not consider renting a deluxe coffee
machine, or water cooler? If space allows, have a seating area where you can
invite your desired prospects to hang out, have a cuppa and a chat …. Yes,
we’re buttering them up without them even realising.
If you’re going
down the route of giveaways – and let’s face it, everyone loves collecting
freebies at exhibitions – think about your business. What fits with your
company values? What will make a positive, lasting impression to the recipient?
Yes, you can get thousands of plastic pens at 20p each – but is that the
impression you really want to make? Cheap and disposable.
you’ve got enough stock of freebies, and that you’ve built the cost of your
giveaways into your budget. This goes for branded takeaways and on-stand
samples and tasters. There’s nothing more heart-breaking than a trade stand
claiming to have the world’s best gin – but they’ve run out of samples on day two
of a four-day show!
Schedule Meetings Beforehand
fortunate enough to get your hands on the golden nugget delegate list, contact
whoever you want to speak to and invite them for a meet-up during their
visit. Trade shows can be a terrific
opportunity for 1:1s but planning is essential to make the most of both
parties’ time. It’s worth bearing in mind that 82% of trade show
attendees have buying authority. You just need to attract them.
Who will be
representing your business during the show?
According to a survey by Design Shop, 59% of exhibitors say
personable sales reps are the best staffers for your space. Whilst this may seem like a bit of a
no-brainer, you’d be amazed at how many businesses hire “the beautiful people”
from agencies for their stand, with the aim of enticing you in – like a fly
caught in a spiders’ web. A hunk in trunks or a bikini-clad babe may help you
stand out from the grey suits but what happens when they’re quizzed on your
an associate of Golddust Marketing approached a stand at the BBC Good Food Show
(not a cheap place to exhibit!) to ask about the science behind their claims
that drinking their brand of gin was good for your skin. Once the two flawlessly
skinned ladies looked up from their phones, the answer was along the lines of
“we’re not sure, but it’s a lovely shaped bottle.” And no, a purchase wasn’t made!
consider rotating your stand personnel. Although it may sound like a day or
three out of the office on a jolly, manning an exhibition stand is, to put it
bluntly, bloody hard work. Make sure you have enough bodies on the team to
allow breaks for everyone, and that you’re also well-staffed once the team
begin engaging with the footfall. Making people wait to speak to you is a
sure-fire way of making them walk away.
Yes, you can
have enquiry forms for eager delegates to fill in, or fancy-pants iPads for the
tech nerds to input their digits. But again, think like a delegate. What’s in
it for them if they willingly give you their data?
from an Afternoon Tea to a Luxury Mini Break can all work wonders when it comes
to people parting with their all-important data. Think about your audience and
your budget and push the boat out. The data you collect is the golden fleece of
show begins, and as part of your strategy, make sure you have a follow-up
process in place. It’s believed to take approximately 3.5 sales calls after a
trade show to close a sale, with the first point of contact being made within 3
– 5 days after the show ends. 81% of exhibitors choose email as the first
contact after a show, which is then followed up by telephone calls.
Integrate, one of Australia’s leading
tech expos, 5-10% of leads from an exhibition will convert to sales, provided
they are followed up.
How was it
for you? Once you’ve offset your costs of being at the exhibition against the
costs of sales generated you’ll know whether it was a success. Don’t forget to
build-in new relationships which may amount to ongoing sales – the best type of
ROI you can ask for!
We’re guessing that you now feel the need to lay down in a dark room and seriously consider whether trade shows are worth all the aggravation. Fear not. With Hannah’s first-hand experience with trade shows and exhibitions, Golddust Marketing will gladly manage everything for you. Yes, we’ll talk strategy, where’s and why’s and make sure you get a bang for your buck when you decide to exhibit. Find out more, or book a Brain Pick and let’s get your business on show!