Spring is often the time for trade shows and business expos. If your business participates in trade shows, it’s important that they are successful, so here are five suggestions:
Tip #1: Define the desired success from your company’s participation in the trade show. Do you want x number of qualified leads for your sales team? Do you want to build brand awareness within your industry? Do you want to sell x number of units?
Tip #2: Be realistic. Having goals for participation is essential, but keep in mind that there are variables beyond your control. If publicity for the event is lacking, attendance may be less than expected. A popular keynote speaker may draw attention away from booth time. A concept some exhibitors use is to set an objective, then cut it in half and be happy with half of that.
Tip #3: Be prepared. Understand the event and anticipated attendance. Do you need 40,000 brochures if the event organizers tout that there will be that many people coming through the doors? Only if you want to waste a few thousand brochures. Know set-up and take down time frames. Will you promote your appearance at the show ahead of time? To what audience? Have you thought through how you’re going to follow-up with any leads you may get? Are you going to have items to give away? Who will be staffing the booth? What does your display look like, and does it need to be updated? Planning for the little things prevents them from becoming big things during the show, like Internet access or power for your computers. Have you booked travel and lodging for your staff?
Tip #4: Respect the event. How will your company look if a sales rep who’s staffing your booth is constantly checking E-mail or sending texts to someone while she’s in the booth? Or he’s eating popcorn while potential customers are walking by? There are proven methods for success in staffing a trade show booth, so it’s wise to review those with staff prior to the event so they understand what’s expected.
We have found one of the most successful methods for staffing an exhibit is having a customer in the booth, either with your sales personnel or by themselves. Think about it. Does a prospective customer eyeing your booth want to talk to a pushy sales person? Or would they prefer to discuss your products and/or services with someone they recognize who happens to be one of your customers? Contact Brand Irons if you have questions on how to make this work for your company.
Tip #5: Follow Up! This may be shocking to some, but statistics from various surveys indicate that roughly 75% of leads generated at a trade show are NEVER followed up on! Following up on leads is an essential part of the planning process. Be prepared to dish out the leads to sales reps and monitor their progress. Keep in mind that the people who stopped by the booth are expecting some kind of response, and represent potential sales.
Do the math: If you’ve spent $5,000 to exhibit your company at a show and receive 250 somewhat qualified leads, that represents 250 potential customers for your products and services at whatever price point you use. Let’s say it’s $1,000 in business for every new customer. That’s potential revenue of $250,000! If your company only follows up on 25% of those leads (62.5), you’ve reduce the revenue potential down to $62,500. Something to think about.