Generating sales leads with your tradeshow exhibit isn’t an “if you build it, they will come” proposition. It requires careful planning and hard work at every stage to ensure your display has what it takes to draw in visitors and convert them into buyers. From start to finish, the message has to be clear, relevant and consistent…no matter which delivery methods you chose.
Be Prepared for the Work Ahead
Advance marketing is one area that’s easy to overlook in all the fuss of planning but can go a long way toward directing traffic to your trade show displays. Pre-selling potential attendees on the benefits of the show (and your exhibit in particular!) can psych ‘em up for attending and result in sales, during and after the show. Take the time to set up collateral for email, direct mail, print ads and online ads that advertises special show prices, contests, giveaways, etc. Using different delivery systems will spread out your net farther and ensure a greater turnout.
Trade show displays see a lot of visitors in a short amount of time. Being prepared for this communication influx can enhance your presentations and reduce feeling overwhelmed during the event. Think about how you can condense your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) into a short but well-informed clip, maybe even supplying the more detailed info via small media (i.e. smartphone scan codes, flash drives, disk) to give away. Keep in mind that attendees often feel rushed at trade shows also, with so much to see and take in, and appreciate condensed delivery of info they can refer back to later.
Develop a system to collect contact info quickly and efficiently. Whether it’s an emphasis on scanning visitor badge codes, scribbling quick reference notes on the backs of their business cards, both or a different system altogether, you need something in place that allows you to gather the info briefly before moving on to the next lead. However, if a potential lead is especially promising, such as the Pres. of a major company in your industry, it’s best not to rush the discussion. Spend a bit more time getting to know them as you introduce your company’s benefits. It’s not uncommon for lucrative partnerships to begin this way.
Ensure a Compelling Presentation
Visually and factually, your tradeshow exhibit should stand out against the competition and act as a beacon for attendees, drawing them to your brand. Make it easy for them to determine who you are and what you’re about through the sights, sounds, colors and signage you use. If you’ve got a stellar sales staff or an expert presenter, highlight them via strategically placed flat screen images, interviews or videos that introduce them and their individual achievements to visitors. In addition to employee high-fives, these screens could also run ads, product info or demos.
Having the right people on your staff, delivering the right info to the right people, is one of the most important things to have in place for a trade show. Your sales and demo team should possess the following:
- Knowledge in all aspects of your business
- A personable, friendly attitude
- A genuine passion about your company and its products
- The endurance necessary to keep up the show’s pace
- An ability to inspire trust in your brand.
Brief them in advance to ensure they work well together and are brushed up on specs, goals and strategies so they are prepared for any questions they will be asked.
Providing relevant info to the right audience is crucial but this doesn’t mean drawn-out, boring speeches are the way to go. Keep demonstrations, brochures, charts, etc.
simple and uncluttered for easier retention. Offer something of interest as a takeaway, such as branded promotional products, brochures, informative disks or flash drives, etc.
Also, consider some methods for making it fun (i.e. games, raffles, contests, etc.).
Seeing visitors enjoying themselves encourages others to take part of the festivities and is guaranteed to make your tradeshow exhibit more memorable.
Follow-up After the Show
This is incredibly important, but is something that’s often shoved aside in the recovery period. When you consider that sales often take place after the event – and the contact info you collected doesn’t technically count as a lead unless you use it – it’s easy to see how following up during the ‘tear down phase’ is a necessity. Remind them you’re still here by checking in and interacting via email, cards, newsletter or even a phone call to thank them for attending, introduce new products/prices, pass along industry info, etc.
Make yourself relevant, accessible and encourage them to respond, so you build a reciprocal and continual rapport.
Building solid sales leads through your trade show exhibit doesn’t have to be an extra check on your to-do list. You can easily integrate it into your current planning methods and still see the benefits. Leads gathered at trade show displays can become leads that grow into win-win relationships with clients for many years to come.