3 Tips to Make Your Trade Show Involvement Pay Off

Trade show season is on the way. These important tips come to you by Lisa Chalker, Family Affair Distributing:

It’s summer now and there’s very little trade show activity. Of course all that will change come fall when trade shows ramp up again and will be in full force up until the holiday season starts at the end November.

I say this because if you have plans to exhibit at any trade shows you still have time to do the things that are necessary for you to get the maximum return on your trade show investment.

Here are some suggestions on what you can do to get the very best ROI:

Create your marketing materials for the show.
Exhibiting at a tradeshow can be costly so you must be certain to do your homework and research the shows before you make your decision to exhibit. Once you have decided that you are going to participate at a specific show (or shows) it’s time to start preparing for the event itself. Take a good look at what you will be using at your booth. Is it attractive and in good condition or should you replace what you have used in the past and get something new? Remember that people make quick decisions about whether or not they want to stop at your booth and part of that decision is based upon what they see.

A trade show provides you with a great opportunity to distribute informational materials so that prospects can learn more about your company. Make certain that your 8-page, 4-color brochures are not kept on top of the display counter where every passerby can take one. Instead use that space for less expensive brochures and keep the pricey brochures behind the table to be distributed to qualified and interested prospects that find their way to your booth.

Additionally promotional products (yes, of course, promotional products!) should be part of the trade show experience. Once again don’t purchase costly items and place them on your display where pretty much everyone might take them as they pass by.

Use the display for lower priced items and keep the higher end products for screened and qualified prospects.

Make certain that you have an adequate number of trained staff to work the booth.
Have you ever walked by an unstaffed trade show booth? How about stopping by a booth only to see that the one person “manning” the booth was busy with another person and there were three others waiting in line? It’s almost impossible for one person to effectively work a booth so consider bringing additional people to the event. Remember that you’ve spent a considerable amount of money for the booth. Why not be prepared with the right amount of staff so that you can speak with as many attendees as possible as well as have time to visit the other exhibitors at the show.

Also keep in mind that “boothmanship” is part art, part science and is a skill that requires practice and training. Don’t undermine your success by using untrained people in your booth. Greeting the visitor, screening and qualifying, presenting your product or service, responding to questions are all skills that should be trained and reinforced prior to the show.

Follow-up on your leads in a timely manner.
It boggles my mind that some people don’t follow-up their leads for weeks and in some cases even months. The show itself was just a small part of the sales process. Now that the leads are in your sales funnel (they have been entered, right?!!!) you must follow-up with whatever frequency seems appropriate. (Not all leads are created equal! Some warrant more intense follow-up than others.) Follow-up might just be the most important part of the entire endeavor. Unless you are writing business at the show itself the only opportunity to generate revenue will happen on your sales follow-up after the show.

Trade shows provide a wonderful opportunity to get face-to-face with many people in a short period of time. It’s time efficient, cost effective and can yield tremendous results if worked correctly.

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