A winning effort begins with preparation -Joe Gibbs
Planning Another Trade Show This Year? STOP!! Don't Waste Your Money Unless You Have a Well Thought Out Plan.
*** 98 percent of exhibitors collect sales leads at trade shows, but less than 70 percent have any formalized plan or process in place for how those leads are followed up after the show.
Trade Show Success: Not just another pretty booth!
Can you believe it?..... It's SPRING!! The flowers are blooming, the weather is warmer ( actually it's already quite hot here in Texas) and everything seems bright and new.
Trade Show season is also here and to ensure that you have a successful experience and positive ROI, there must be proper planning, organization and execution. Planning what you will do before, during and after the trade show can make your tradeshow efforts a huge success...and the reverse is also true!
Before the Show
Here are a few tips to help make your trade show exhibit and experience a true success!
1-Pre-show Mailings and Press Releases:
Make sure to have a a copy of the attendee list or last year’s list and send pre-show mailers and press releases about your new products/services. Don’t forget to mention the show, date, place, booth number and include pictures of your products and your logo. Make your focus to build brand recognition of your company logo memorable and to stay on your prospects mind.
2- Trade Show Apparel:
Whether you are the owner or an employee you are the company brand when you are at the show. Wearing the company logo and colors gives a professional look and makes you recognizable. Attendees are more likely to remember your company when you wear the appropriate apparel.
A Knowledgeable Staff is Extremely Important to the Success of a Trade Show!
3-Train Your Staff:
This is probably the single most important task and probably the least done. Don't let your leads slip away! Engaging tradeshow attendees takes more effort than an average sales call. You have to engage an attendee very quickly and in a way that compels them into conversation.
1. Your staff should not be huddled in the corner of the booth chatting as your prospects walk by.
2. Stand outside the booth looking to answer questions and READ the ID tags!
3. Have someone in the booth that can talk intelligently about your product and that can answer questions and listen.
During the Tradeshow
4-Attract the Crowd:
You don't have to do a song and dance, but you do need to give the attendees a reason to walk over to your booth by having a prominent physical structure and an engaging host.
5-Engage the Crowd:
Providing a learning experience at the show, such as a quick seminar in the booth or a demo of a new product, will make a greater impact on your trade show booth visitors. This can make you more memorable and thus, more likely to close a deal later on.
So Now That They Are in Front of Your Booth, How Do You Keep Them There?
Don't be just another booth--create excitement by having giveaways or create a fun game that allows you to collect business cards. Games can also draw further interest from passersby. The first step in increasing trade show sales productivity is to establish a disciplined lead qualification process. The most effective process starts with capturing information about each potential prospect at the show, then building upon that customer knowledge in the initial contact. The punch line is simple – if you don’t waste time on unqualified prospects, you can focus more time on your best prospects.
After the Show
7-Yes! Follow up:
Engaging attendees in a quick and productive conversation can be more effective then delivering a pitch. Listening and gathering details about their needs can help sales reps reconnect with prospects on a follow-up call. According to the 2010 Sales Lead Survey conducted by Exhibitor Media Group:
- The study found that only 47% of companies track leads generated at trade shows and events throughout the sales cycle, and only 28% percent measure and report the number of leads that ultimately convert to sales as part of their exhibit program's ROI.
We ALL Know Timing Is Everything in Life!
8-Make the Best Use of It!
It's important to make sure that all lead follow-up occurs in a timely manner. If you identify a hot prospect at the show, make sure to ask when you should call them and set-up opportunities to contact them right after the show in a way that will set up the sale.
For other leads, make sure that you contact them while the excitement of the show is still fresh in their minds. For most businesses, 2 to 4 business days after the show arrange to have follow-up material delivered to their office. Within 5 to 7 days follow-up with a phone call.
9-Measure your Results:
Keeping all those leads organized after the show will really pay off when you are doing the follow up. Know who your A leads are and which sales rep were assigned to them. Ask your reps to give a 1, 3, or 6 month follow up report so you know where they are at in the sales cycle. At that point, you can begin to examine your ROI and the effectiveness of your sales and marketing plan.
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