Planning For Trade Show Success
Trade Shows & experiential events bring you face to face with prospects that have qualified themselves by their presence. If they weren’t interested they wouldn’t be attending the event. In no other environment can you have qualified buyers come to you with a desire to purchase your product. With this face to face encounter, you might accomplish more in a few days than you can the rest of the year. Many companies waste this opportunity as a result of procrastination, lack of planning, and lack of experience. Trade show selling costs much less than field sales call and is more likely to result in a sale. Trade show specialists (such as The Eyekon Group) can fill in the gaps if you lack the time to devote to planning or need trade show management help.
- No other medium brings a large number of potential customers, from a great distance to you with a receptive inclination to purchase your product/service.
- For many companies, trade shows are the #1 business-to-business spending share of the sales budget to support the company sales team.
- Decision makers are there to gather information to make a purchasing decision.
- Buyers compare vendor presentations which influence their buying decisions.
- Face-to-face marketing is the most effective way to influence prospects.
- Relationships develop with face-to-face interaction, creating a memorable experience to facilitate follow-up sales calls.
- Attendees and trade news media spread the word. Show and event attendees tell additional people about their most memorable interactions.
- Shows keep you informed and engaged in industry developments and trends.
- The cost of closing a sale at a trade show is less than half the cost of a field sale.
Develop a Strategy
- Introduce your company or a new product
- Meet and qualify new customers that are not accessible otherwise.
- Enhance your brand, i.e., your image.
- Provide a favorable comparison between your product and the competitors.
- Demonstrate innovation and new technology.
Research the number of attendees and the attendee profile as projected by show management. Set your expectation by estimating the number of face-to-face encounters you think is reasonable. This will help you plan your staffing, based on your booth size. This estimate can be a factor in the delivery of your face-to-face message the time required to deliver your message and how much time you can commit to spending with a visitor. As a starting point, estimate the number of leads you expect to record.
- Develop leads to support your sales program. Design your lead form and/or rent a personalized name tag scanner from show services.
- Introduce new products to old customers. Introduce mature products to new customers.
Tactic: The most obvious tactic is to bring products to demonstrate, or use a video demonstration or develop new literature to put a new slant or application on traditional products. Some exhibitor experience suggests that you should not bring literature to a show but, instead, get leads and send literature after the show. One problem with this tactic is that some visitors may not have time to spend with all exhibitors and would pick up your literature to review later. If there is no literature and the visitor doesn’t leave their contact information, then you have lost a potential customer. Another problem with not having literature at the show is that there is often a fulfillment delay before the literature arrives and the prospect may have lost interest and moved on to a competitor. We suggest you give literature, or at least a profile or product sell sheet, at the show to all who are interested and follow up with the same or new literature after the show. Literature will be saved by the visitor to review your product or service to keep you on the front burner after the show and serve to remind the visitor of you to keep the visitor receptive to your post-show follow-up.
- Introduce or enhance, or update your brand. Your brand is simply your image and what people think of you.
Tactic: Update your look and give a new slant to your company if you have been around for a while. This can be done with a new display or an update to your old display with fresh graphics and an updated message that focuses on the specific show’s target attendees.
- Generate publicity for your company or products through trade publications. This can be done pre-show to generate interest among attendees so you will be on their must-see list. It can also be done post-show as a reminder to those who attended and those who receive newsletters and trade publications but did not attend the show. Speaking of newsletters, a periodic newsletter is always a good vehicle, particularly before and after a major show. Always add the names of registered attendees to the show. This list is usually available from the show management for a reasonable price. (If you don’t have an ad agency, Eyekon Group can help).
- A trade show is a good place for exhibitors to execute competitor intelligence and benefit from new developments and trends.
Tactic: Walk the floor before, at setup time, and before the show opens. Talk to competitors. You might be surprised by what you find.
- Gather ideas for how you will further develop your marketing plan going forward.
Tactic: Same process as above but also visit non-competitors whose exhibit stands out from the crowd.
A trade show or experiential event is a good place to gather competitor intelligence and stay abreast of trends, new developments and get marketing ideas.
Face-to-face marketing at Trade Shows and events is considerably less expensive that field sales calls.
Trade Show attendees have pre-qualified themselves as your prime prospects. If they weren’t interested in your product, they wouldn’t have traveled to the show to talk to vendors.
For many companies, trade shows and events are the number one sales expense supporting the sales team.
Your pre-show planning should start with a sequence of steps starting with your strategy and concluding with follow-up calls and sales to show visitors. Each step should have an assigned date for completion.
Your process for collecting leads is an integral part of planning for an event or show.
Introduce new products, introduce new customers and reinforce your brand.
If you have exhibited before, change your image. Fabric graphics can give your display a facelift year to year.
Next > Reserving Your Trade Show Space
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