1) Don’t buy a stand the first year. Always attend the show the first year to get the feel of the event. Trade show stands costs roughly £1,500 – £4, 000 per event (this is dependent on the size of the stand), so it’s really important that you do your research first. It’s imperative that you make sure that your target customer is well represented among the attendees and also make the time to speak to other exhibitors to see if they think the event is a worthwhile investment.
2) Make your brand visible. Both your stand and your team must be walking advertisement for your business. As well a clearly branded eye-catching stand, create flyers advertising your stand location or giveaways to attract people to your stand. You could even create branded trade show uniforms for your team, with clear messaging to attract their eye.
3) Invest in a professional trade show display. Investing in a professionally built stand and a few pull-up banners is always worthwhile. One banner could highlight your niche speciality and the other one could have general information about your company. Be sure to include clear and punchy call-to-actions and QR codes that your audience can act on instantly on all your exhibition material.
4) Have a giveaway or freebie . Giveaways and freebies are a great way to collect contact information and start conversations/interactions with attendees. Branded mints, pens, mouse pads, t-shirts, key-rings, the possibilities are endless. You could even purchase electronic gadgets such as Kindles, iPads, or mp3 players to raffle off. Be creative, everyone loves freebies.
5) Prepare FAQs for your team. A “frequently asked questions” list or protocol will ensure everyone on your team understand how to respond to questions and keep the sales process is seamless. You could even put together a script to help your sales people, so as potential customers come to your stand, everyone gives the same, uniform answers.
6) Have multiple ways to collect contact information. Use a sign-in sheet, a bowl to collect business cards for the raffle, a card scanning machine or QR code reader on your phone to collect information on the spot to add to your electronic database.
7) A great stand location is vital. Request a floor plan of the exhibition layout and pick your stand location strategically. Being on the end of a row in the middle three aisles of a room is usually a good spot.
8) Don’t forget social media. Use your social media handle to promote your presence at the event on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Make sure to include event keyword hashtags which will not only give your brand more visibility, but it will help you develop relevant relationships with new customers and audiences in your industry.
After the Show
After attending the event and attracting warm leads at an event, the follow-up work determines the success of your event. You have roughly 10 days after an initial meeting to make contact with your leads in some meaningful way before they become stale.
How to Follow Up
You can connect with contacts on LinkedIn, send an email, write a personal hand-written note, mail them a marketing packet or give them a call. You could even use a combination of these tactics. Remember, people do business with people who offer a solution to their problem that they like, know, and trust.
When to follow-up with a call.
It’s best practise to call leads either on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Be sure to always ask if this is a good time or when would be a better time to talk. Remember, your call is an interruption, and being thoughtful is always appreciated.
Track with a Social CRM software.
A Social Customer Relationship Management System, or CRM such as Salesforce, allows your business to capture interactions with your customers, organize these interactions so others in your business can effectively help customers and use the date to facilitate decision-making. For example, it will enable you to track how many of your event leads are converted long after the event is over.
Understand your sales cycle with your target customer.
Depending on your sales circle, sometimes it could take 12 months to convert a lead to a sale. In the meantime, you need to keep in touch at least monthly to learn more about the customer’s needs and build a relationship. Consider using some combination of email marketing and personal interaction can help develop your new contact. Remember you’re building a relationship and it’s advisable not to be too pushy or eager. Your goal is to keep your business on their mind and nature that lead into a sale.