What’s the secret to capturing leads and closing sales on the trade show floor? Get ready to generate more connections, prospects and business when you use these simple strategies.
Some businesses love trade shows; they come home with tons of sales leads and closed contracts every time they rent a booth. Other businesses only come home with left over key chains. What are the key drivers that make the difference?
Successful trade show exhibitors develop a sound strategy that all starts with the end in mind. A company that defines intelligent goals and has a smart implementation plan will outperform those who don’t. Unsuccessful exhibitors tend to sign up for trade shows with little thought beyond, “Our competition will be there, so we should too.”
If you want to make your next trade show produce profits, follow these tips:
Be Selective. It’s easy to blow your budget trying to do too many trade shows in one season. When you spread yourself too thin it’s very difficult to do an outstanding job. You should only exhibit at shows that have a track record of attracting your ideal clients.
Set Goals. How many sales leads will your booth team capture? How many sales do you expect? Assign these goals to members of the trade show team.
Train. Too many companies send their sales staff to trade shows with nothing more than a logo embroidered shirt and a handful of pens. Train your staff on how to attract and engage prospects at the show.
Motivate. Make each team member accountable for results. Use contests to reward the rep with the most new leads. Your staff needs to know that they’re expected to do more than “man the booth.”
Look Good. Invest in a high quality exhibit booth. Even if you could “get by” with a folding table and a tent card, don’t. A well designed exhibit can pay for itself many times over by attracting more traffic. Pop up displays are affordable, easy to transport and assemble.
First Impressions. Look professional at all times; no unmanned booths, no eating at the booth, no messy samples and brochures piled up on tables.
Be Approachable. If your staff are on cell phones, checking emails or chitchatting with each other, most prospective customers will keep walking by. Yes, tradeshows can be boring and it’s tempting to pass the time texting and talking, but never do it when you’re on the floor.
Don’t Scare Them Off. The only thing that will turn off potential buyers more than ignoring them is being too interested in them, too fast. An overly aggressive staff makes your company look desperate or greedy. Engage them; don’t enrage them with aggressive sales tactics.
Stand Out. Don’t be afraid of trying something different. Today’s trade shows are full of imitators who want to play it safe and look like everyone else. Instead of raffling off the same iPad like every other exhibitor give away something that will excite your target market.
Attract Visitors. You can’t just sit and wait for customers to find you; you have to make it easy for them to notice you. Use phone calls, direct mail and emails to build interest several weeks before the show and follow up several times in the interim.
Show Business. Even stodgy B2B conferences can use some show business strategies to increase booth traffic, engagement and leads. Consider hiring professional entertainment when and where it’s appropriate. Bikini girls and old baseball players signing autographs will likely hurt your brand in the professional markets by alienating your customers, so choose your brand spokesperson carefully. Booking the right celebrity for photos and autographs can make your booth the must-see exhibit, but it may not create sales.
Hiring a magician or entertainer can attract visitors to your stand.
On Message. If you’re going to try promotional stunts to get attention, make sure it’s relevant and positive attention. One company hired an actor from HBO’s “The Sopranos” and tied it into a “We’ll Make You an Offer You Can’t Refuse” direct mail campaign. Another hired a magician to magically produce and levitate their new product as he talked about how the product could make the customer’s problems disappear.
Follow Up, Fast. Now that you have a pile of new sales leads, don’t make the classic mistake of waiting until the show is over to assign the leads for follow up. Sales leads grow stale, not in days but in minutes. Every minute you delay following up will hurt your conversion rates. Get on those leads right away.
photo credit http://blog.theminibrochure.com/