By Alan Graner
Make the most of your time
Exhibiting at trade shows require a lot of time, effort and money. So what can you do to maximize your efforts and increase sales? Here are some tips to make the most of your time.
- Network. Make arrangements in advance to meet with key people, whether it’s customers, vendors, the press. This may be your one chance this year for face-to-face meetings.
- Have something new to share. Discuss new products, a new direction, a new offering. Let people know you’re staying relevant in today’s marketplace.
- Size up your competition. Don’t be afraid to chat with the competition and share experiences. Visit their booths. Collect their collateral. If you don’t keep up with them, you don’t last long.
- See the latest and greatest. Walk the floor to see what’s new. Take time to make new contacts and find new markets so you can discuss opportunities for you and them.
- Come early, leave late. Relax a bit and play before the trade show starts so you’ll be energized. Schedule meetings and decide which events you want to attend.
Source: Powers Scanning Solutions, “5 Ways to Make the Most of a Trade Show” in Small Business HUB.
The secret of great trade show leads? Qualify them
One of the primary goals at any trade show is collecting leads—preferably qualified leads. All too often, though, those leads end up in a drawer somewhere, leaving you with little to show for your hard work.
Lead management is the most important final stage of trade show marketing. Don’t waste time merely collecting leads—concentrate on collecting qualified leads by:
- Training staffers to qualify leads according to a simple rating system.
- Having a lead fulfillment plan prepared before the show starts.
- Establishing a lead card or electronic lead retrieval system to note prospects’ wants and needs rather than relying just on business cards.
- Stressing the importance of following up leads…and the repercussions of not doing so.
- Assigning one person to be responsible for lead fulfillment and data entry into your CRM database.
- Continuing more lead follow up to build frequent touches.
- Establishing a fulfillment strategy to quickly send fulfillment right after the show…or during.
- Doing more lead follow up. Check regularly with reps to report on lead progress.
- Ensuring the information booth visitors provide is passed on to field sales reps.
Source: Mike Thimmesch, “10 Top Tips For Trade Show Lead Management in Skyline Trade Show Tips
Trade shows are a process, not an event
To maximize your investment, time and outcome requires you think of your trade show as a process, not a singular event. This process begins by asking yourself these five questions:
- Why are we participating in this show?
- What part of our overall strategy does this fulfill?
- Is the projected ROI worth the investment?
- What outcomes to we hope to achieve?
- How can we maximize the effect of these objectives…even if some of our targeted prospects never attend?
Source: Michele Lando, “Your Roadmap to Tradeshow Success” in MarketingProfs
What tactics have you found effective for getting the most out of a trade show?
Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer at Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County, CA marketing communications firm. For trade show support and PR, email Jeffrey Swartz at email@example.com. Or visit www.dsprel.com.