In the midst of a pandemic, what’s a nationwide staffing entity to do? In this week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, we find out how one agency is doing it, anyway. Jane Gentry, CEO of Fusion, spoke with me about how they’re addressing the myriad issues surrounding staffing events and retail outlets both physically and virtually.
Plus, she shares some great tips toward the end about how to make more sales and maintain great relationships. Take a look/listen:
I’ve been thinking about virtual events and have a few questions:
Let’s say that Organization A is going to convert their typical in-person event that normally hosts, oh, let’s say, 3500 exhibitors and 80,000 attendees. It’s a pretty big show. Millions of dollars generated in business. A big deal.
Now because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will have to go virtual, if the organizers decide to move forward with the event. Something like CES2021 comes to mind, which recently announced they were going all-digital, although it could be any number of large shows.
I’ve been trying to wrap my head around how it would work. And yes, several questions come to my poor little brain as I try to understand how it will work. I would think that exhibitors will need some sort of platform that they’ll provide for online attendees to land on at their main site that will then take them on a tour of the various virtual exhibitors.
Let’s start with the organization that is putting on the virtual event:
What are you offering attendees and exhibitors?
How will you implement it?
What are attendees looking for? Will you be able to give them what they want?
If you have live sessions, will they be available for playback later?
What platform will you offer exhibitors for their exhibits, and how will those virtual exhibits be designed and constructed? Will they be from a template, or will you offer custom design services?
How will those services be priced?
How much time do you need to implement those services, assuming that you can provide them to all of your exhibitors in a timely manner?
Is the final online presentation available for a limited time, or can exhibitors take it with them to another venue?
What flexibility and options will you offer your exhibitors for their virtual exhibit?
If an exhibitor already has a virtual exhibit done by another provider, will you willingly link to that virtual exhibit from your platform and make it as seamless as possible?
From the attendee’s viewpoint:
Why should I attend?
What do I get by attending?
How much will it cost me to attend?
If I pay the admission fee, will I have access to all programs for a limited amount of time or will it be open-ended?
Who else is going to attend?
Will I be able to get a list of other visitors in any way, shape or form?
From the exhibitors’ viewpoint:
How will the organizers promote and publicize the show?
How will they attract people to my booth?
What options are available to “boost” the attendance in my virtual exhibit?
How will I know who is there, how long they stay in the virtual space, what they clicked, etc.?
What is the cost to partake in the virtual tradeshow?
How long will the virtual exhibit remain available to visitors?
No doubt, you’ll have other questions. I’d love to hear them. I can’t think of everything, right?
It’s a good time to mention that the good folks at Classic Exhibits, the main exhibit manufacturer we work with, is now offering virtual exhibits – and they’re pretty impressive. Take a look here.
It’s been several months since we caught up with John Pugh and Marcus Vahle of Share Experience, a company they launched less than a year ago near Pittsburgh on the banks of the Ohio River. With the pandemic affecting the events industry, every company in the space is looking for ways to offer value to their clients. Share Experience has moved into virtual production and making sets for virtual presentations – and much more, as you’ll learn on this wide-ranging discussion.
A quick note: I had a minor audio issue on my end – my microphone was turned too high, and I had to tone it down a bit in post-production. It does sound a bit distorted due to modulation, but I mitigated it as much as possible 🙂
With tradeshow marketing on the sidelines, now is as good a time as any to brush up on your tradeshow marketing skill and knowledge. And here’s a great place to find a whole lot of tradeshow marketing tips – all in one place, and all worth their weight in gold. Check out this short under-three-minute video:
It isn’t a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. And it’s possible that in some areas of the country, small meetings and corporate events are already back, or on their way. And that may mean that some of these venues, such as hotels, small conference centers, or corporations with their own event centers, are not prepared.
They’ll be looking for workstations, counters, branded LED lightboxes, monitors, charging stations, hand sanitizer stations, and more. Chances are they don’t have all of these items readily available. And it may not be a good approach to try and purchase all of these things, and then try and store them from show to show.
Nope, it’s probably a better idea to RENT these things. Which is exactly what you get when you team up with TradeshowGuy Exhibits and Classic Rental Solutions. We’ve worked with the designers, project managers, and fabricators at Classic Exhibits for nearly two decades and know they offer high-quality top-of-the-line material. And with the pandemic afoot, they’ve turned their designers loose to come up with a variety of items that you might need for an upcoming event. Rent, don’t buy, when it comes to things you’ll only use a time or two a year, especially when event requirements may change from event to event.
Click on these images for larger information sheets, then click through to the more thorough website info pages below:
Every industry is going through changes. Some are dealing with the pandemic better than others. But one thing common to every industry is the need to create sales. On this week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, I check in with sales trainer and coach Jeff Bajorek to talk about how he’s working with clients in this new world:
We all get the same amount of time: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Everybody could use a little help in managing their time. There are some tried and true tips on time management, and in this short video, I share a few of them.
What kind of question is that, anyway? How personal is your tradeshow exhibit? An exhibit should be the best representation of a brand, which is aimed at a broad market. Isn’t that correct? If that’s the case, it has to have the right graphics with the right messaging. Any images should be chosen to reflect the best your product and brand have to offer. And if all that is true – and I suppose it is – how can your exhibit be personal?
Selling is Personal
Except…selling today is personal. People want to know that you care about them. The challenge is that people don’t really care about your product or service. When it comes to your products, they care about themselves, and themselves only. How do your products or services affect them – personally? The messaging should relate to what they’re going through. As we slowly move back to the tradeshow world with exhibits and face-to-face meetings and larger gatherings, every person is going to have a slightly – or perhaps significantly – different perception of what they need or want. And they’ll have some level of anxiety or distress or challenge in moving forward.
So how do you help them…now? How does your product or service help them…now? What do they need…now?
Your challenge isn’t that you don’t know how to present your products or services. No, your challenge is that you need to understand what’s going on in the mind of your customers and prospects. And the only way to learn that is to ask. In a sense, your tradeshow exhibit should be an invitation to join them. An invitation to walk into their space. Make them feel safe and wanted. There are a million ways to do that. I’m do designer, but I do know how I feel when I walk into a space that welcomes me. With people around that want to see me, and not just to sell me something, but to understand where I’m coming from. And frankly, that’s kind of rare. Maybe it’s food. Maybe it’s a cup of coffee, or a warm smile. Maybe it’s an image that they can relate to that doesn’t look like it’s been chosen out of a stock photo library. Or if it has, it resonates with them.
What makes people buy?
When they finally get to a place where they feel understood. Where they feel you “get” them. Where they feel comfortable and wanted. It’s a bit like belonging to a tribe, but it’s more than that. And less.
It’s personal. What is it your customer wants?
Be creative in how you interact with people. Be creative in how you uncover what’s important to your clients. Learn from them. Then design your next tradeshow exhibit based on what you learned.
On July 24th, a relatively small tradeshow-industry event took place in Orlando, Florida. It was an attempt to show the world how tradeshows, events and conferences can successfully work in today’s pandemic-affected world. Kevin Carty of Classic Exhibits attended – and the company exhibited – and shares his take on how it all went.
Also referenced in this episode: Brad Kleiner of Grounded by Cedar Root. Check his website, and a previous episode where I chatted with him about sales training, leadership coaching, and one-on-one coaching and more.