How to Get More Business from Home Shows and Trade Shows
Mark Hale ‐ July 21, 2014
Home shows and trade shows usually represent a big investment of your time and money. Are you getting enough business from your participation in home shows or trade shows to justify the amount of time and money you invest in them?
There are lots of ways to improve the success of your trade show participation, for instance, you can increase your returns from buying a snazzy display or by offering product discounts and employee incentives. But many of home shows and trade shows improvement methods come with hefty price tags.
The follow are 20 ideas you can use to pump up your trade show sales performance without breaking the bank:
1. Research the trade show before you commit:
- Does it attract a large number of people from your target audience?
- What type of audience does the show attract?
- How are the organizers promoting the show?
This seems pretty basic, but the more information you can get about the show in advance will help you tailor your display and offers to the attendees.
2. Give yourself enough time – planning and preparation for a major trade show can take four to six months, for a home show or small trade show you can pull together in four to six weeks if you have a plan:
- What types of full color printed sales flyers, brochures and catalogs do you need for the show?
- Do any of your printed sales materials need to be updated?
- Do the people going to the show need business cards?
- Do any of the panels in your booth need updated?
- What type of promotional products do you need for giveaways?
Looking at this in advance will save you last minute headaches and stress.
3. Send e-mail reminders to loyal customers and strong prospects before the show, urging them to stop by your booth. The more self-promotion you do in advance, the better.
4. Define and write down your goals and objectives for your home show participation. Goals give you something to shoot for and without them you have no direction.
5. Share these goals and objectives with your booth staff. They can’t help you achieve your goals and objectives if they do not know what they are.
6. Make sure you have enough manpower to work the booth. Ask organizers what the peak days and times are for traffic. You do not want hundreds of prospects walking by and you have one or two people in your booth.
7. Give each person you have manning your booth a specific role, with job expectations clearly spelled out. It is also a good idea to give each person a specific quota.
8. Drill the traffic flow through the booth; everything from how to greet people, polite manners, appropriate body language and how to get a person interested in your product or service. Manners and body language are extremely important. Have you ever walked past a company’s booth and the personnel in the booth are sitting there slouched, looking bored and totally uninterested in what’s going on around them. What kind of impression does this give of your business? Are people more likely to stop or walk by?
9. Take the time to familiarize your team with the lead collection technology you’ll be using before the trade show. Is it a simple enter to win fish bowl? What type of information do you want to get from prospects?
10. Make sure at least some of the people going to the show are prepared to answer technical questions. (This is part of step 8)
11. Send friendly, personable people with a genuine enthusiasm for your company, its products and its services. These may not be your most senior people; make your choices based on effectiveness, not seniority.
12. Check in with your team throughout the trade show to assess performance, reward positive behaviors, and stop negative trends before they get out of hand.
13. Establish a dress code for your staffers: They’ll look more professional and act as better ambassadors for your company.
14. Don’t forget the shoes, hair, and accessories: people notice the details.
15. Two words: Breath Mints. I don’t think I need to say more on this.
16. Drill asking qualifying questions with your booth staffers. The more information and the better you qualify the prospects, the better your returns will be.
17. Product demonstrations are a great way to draw a crowd. Make sure your team knows how to give an effective, engaging presentation by having them practice before the trade show.
18. If you are sponsoring entertainment, a speaker, or other event, make sure your team knows what to do during this time. From working the crowd to collecting leads, there’s plenty they should be doing to promote your company’s name and image.
19. Put someone in charge of the booth. This person is the “go-to” person to act as a liaison for trade shows management. The better your relationship with management is, the better your show experience will be.
20. Establish a follow up protocol for hot leads, promising prospects, and likely customers. Use this protocol to turn leads into sales.
©2005-2014 Mark Hale, All Rights Reserved
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