Participating at trade shows is an investment. And as such, it should be treated seriously – with rigorous preparation and the right tools in place. After all, you do want to make your money’s worth?
Trade shows or similar events are a superior opportunity to meet lots of your potential clients face to face on a single day – as many as your sales team can potentially meet in a year.
Trade shows help you showcase your products, generate leads or interact with existing customers, and improve your brand’s visibility and reputation in the industry. That is if things are done right.
In order to succeed, you need to know what to do and, perhaps even more importantly, what NOT to do. The tips below will help you supercharge your trade show performance and improve lead generation.
1. PROMOTE YOUR ATTENDANCE BEFOREHAND
DO prepare for trade shows well in advance and use pre-event promotion. This way your potential customers will already know you will be attending and make sure to stop by. You can:
Launch a multi-touch campaign. Use email marketing, paid social campaigns, or even phone calls to promote your attendance.
Do your homework when it comes to potential leads. Once you know who will be attending the trade show, you can identify major players and key prospects.
Invite your current clients to stop by. This will help foster your professional relationship.
DON’T just wing it. How hard can it be? A stellar marketing team, a colorful banner, and all the needed tech, surely this will be enough to get some leads? Yes, lots of visitors will stop by (hopefully), but you can drastically improve their number by promoting your attendance well in advance. People are much more likely to visit your booth if the brand already sounds familiar.
2. REPLACE PAPER WITH DIGITAL TOOLS
DO have proper, working tools and equipment that will help boost your team’s performance at a trade show. Make sure to:
🡲 Use an all-in-one solution to track lead capture and event performance. Pick a solution that will help you track event performance, collect leads, and send all this info directly to your CRM on the spot. This will allow you to document valuable data in one place without having to jump around from one platform to another.
🡲 Share requested sales material digitally while talking to prospects. This will work much better than printed out promo material that is likely to end up in the nearest trash bin.
DON’T use outdated methods to collect visitors’ info or share sales material. Gone are the days of pen & paper or spreadsheets. Replace your analog tools for digital. This will allow you to save some precious time and resources you can instead use to engage with your prospects.
3. PUT THE RIGHT PEOPLE TO MAN YOUR BOOTH
DO carefully pick the staff to man your company’s booth. Your team should know your product inside out, be motivated to succeed, and know how to sell.
Let’s face it. Some employees go to trade shows to have fun, collect goodie bags or just avoid being at the office. So make sure every team member:
🡲 Is positive, communicative and enthusiastic, and will help reach your company’s goals. Remember that while a tech person might have all the answers regarding your software, it is better to have someone with strong people skills or experience in customer service.
🡲 Knows your brand to its core, understands your product’s value, and presents your services or products in a professional, yet friendly manner.
🡲 Is proactive, asks qualifying questions, knows the key players in the industry, and can identify potential leads.
DON’T send an unprepared, untrained, or unmotivated team. Nothing is more discouraging for a potential booth visitor than a grumpy person sitting at the back of the booth with a phone in one hand and a burger in another. Burgers are great, but lunchtime should have its own place and time. Also, make sure your team is not:
🡲 Showing negative body language, appearing bored or annoyed whenever asked a question.
🡲 Badmouthing your competitors or other booths.
🡲 Talking within the team instead of engaging visitors.
🡲 Acting like a know-it-all, using a lot of business jargon.
🡲 Pitching, pitching, pitching, instead of actually listening to the visitor and their needs.
4. ATTRACT AND ENGAGE YOUR BOOTH VISITORS
DO be inviting, engaging, and entertaining (with caution). Present your product, but mostly make sure to listen to the attendee’s needs. They should leave having had a good, enriching conversation. What you can do:
🡲 Ask insightful questions, show interest in their business, issues, needs, and offer ways to help them.
🡲 Engage your visitors in competitions with valuable prizes.
🡲 Be proactive. For example, you can ask passersby a question
DON’T just wait for your leads to show up. Get out there and make it happen. The more visitors you will attract to your booth, the higher the chance to get more leads. Act with caution though – too many competitions or expensive freebies will attract the wrong crowd.
5. FOLLOW UP WITH YOUR LEADS IMMEDIATELY
DO reach out to your leads right away. Best timing – right after the event. It bears repeating – the early bird catches the worm. So make sure to:
🡲 Send them a personalized, informative follow-up email. This could easily be taken care of using Fairkey.
🡲 Try to remember something personal about each person you talk to. This will help add a personal touch when following up after the event.
DON’T follow up days or even weeks later. You can be sure – by that time your leads are no longer yours. What you should also avoid doing is spamming people with irrelevant promo material or newsletters they never asked for.