We get asked this question all the time – are tradeshows dead? Is it worth it to continue to invest marketing dollars in tradeshows? My answer is always – it depends. What is the purpose of your presence and the ROI on the spend? Is it a growing tradeshow? Is it an industry must? Is your presence a competitive necessity? Are you there to build industry partnerships? Are you there to network? It’s always important to ask these questions before deciding on whether you’re going the tradeshow route.
Once you have decided to do the tradeshow, you must first decide what your objectives are for the show and then evaluate how to achieve them. What is the best strategy to get most the out of your participation as an exhibitor? Is it as easy as a flashy booth with a great goody bag? How do you go about preparing for a trade show?
Many companies that are there as exhibitors are narrowly focused on that role and that role only. They think they are there to hand out brochures and that’s it. But that would be a waste of those valuable marketing dollars. The tradeshow is an opportunity to gather information (and contacts) just as much as it is to give out information. This is the rule for lead generation – it is as much listening as it is providing the information.
Since your sales staff are the ones manning the booth at these events at these events, it is very important to make sure that they understand your tradeshow objectives. An estimated 70% of the value created at a tradeshow depends on the people representing your business on-site. Below are some tips to increase the success rate of your sales staff.
Obtaining the trade show directory for a complete listing of competitors, suppliers, sponsors, and other key players in the industry is a great place to start. Prior research helps your sales staff to understand the diversification of the exhibitor field. As a result, you can better target your potential audience.
Trade shows can be a valuable tool for understanding your competition. Collecting brochures, samples and other product information, for example, is a simple way of collecting data but also provides a better understanding of the competition's approach - design, slogan, new service, mission or value propositions. Engaging with the competitor and industry experts to get a better understanding of the market landscape can help to define your own tactics.
Attendees generally spend 30 seconds to evaluate a booth before moving on. That means, the booth / exhibitor has 30 seconds to engage / interact with the attendees. Whether you have an elaborate booth or have pre-arranged for in-booth appointments, the key is to get the attendees to spend more than 30 seconds at your booth. The more face time, the better the engagement, the higher the chance for generating a lead.
Talk to your staff after the trade show. Collect thoughts, experiences and ‘take-home’ messages of your staff. What is your strategy for getting your company name on the top when the attendee heads back to the office? Do you have a follow-up call procedure in place? Did you qualify the leads at the booth?
Why do you value trade shows? Tradeshows can be a great opportunity to engage with new customers to build client lists while also connecting with current customers in a way that further develops your relationships with them. And like all things, when you are prepared, you have a higher chance of success. We have a trade show exhibitor. Contact us today for more information.