No guest this week, just me looking at things like calendars, time and space, goal-setting and year-end planning. Jump on board!
This week’s ONE GOOD THING: taking Saturday off to work around the house.
No guest this week, just me looking at things like calendars, time and space, goal-setting and year-end planning. Jump on board!
This week’s ONE GOOD THING: taking Saturday off to work around the house.
As an exhibitor, you’ve got most of the moving parts handled: logistics, schedules, booth staff up to speed on how to handle prospects, ask opening questions and so on.
But what’s the last thing you should do once you have converted a prospect into a lead? It’s a step that a lot of people in sales, especially newer ones, tend to overlook. And it’s easy to let this critical piece slip by quickly.
At the beginning of the visit, you clarify if the visitor is interested in your product or service by asking good questions. During the conversation with them, you’re asking more clarifying and confirmation questions.
But what about the very last step?
Confirming everything before they leave. Make sure that their business card or scanned badge info is accurate down to the email address and phone number. If you can’t get back to them easily, they’re lost. Confirm the next step: when you’ll call (or write, or visit), what that next step entails (more product information, order sheet, longer product demo, etc.), what you might need to send them prior to the call or visit (sell sheets, white paper, etc.).
In every sales meeting – and let’s be clear that a tradeshow visit that gets this far and turns a prospect into lead is definitely a sales meeting – the last step before parting is to confirm what the next step is.
The challenge that comes up if you don’t clarify the next step is that you may forget. Or your lead may be unclear what to expect from you and when. Better to take an extra minute so that there is no mutual mystification. Make sure you both know what’s coming next and when.
There are a lot of people in the tradeshow industry who are well-travelled and highly experienced, and I love chatting with them about tradeshow marketing. In this episode I sat with Michael Thimmesch, long time Skyline marketer, now a consultant with his own company. We covered a lot of bases of tradeshow marketing, including his approach of the FIVE LEVELS of tradeshow marketing. Where are you? Take a look:
Find Mike’s LinkedIn profile here.
And this week’s ONE GOOD THING: The 50th anniversary release of “The Beatles” (White Album).
In this week’s vlog/podcast, I got a chance to learn quite a bit about something with which I’m not very familiar with: international tradeshow exhibiting. I’m guessing that a lot of us don’t get a chance for much exhibiting in Dubai, France, Spain, England, China or Japan or any of a number of countries. That’s why this week’s interview with exhibit designer and international tradeshow exhibiting expert Larry Kulchawik is such a treat. Loads of great information – and you should pick up his book if you do any international exhibiting. Check it out:
I suppose having your tradeshow booth overwhelmed with visitors is a good problem to have, but if you have a small booth staff that can’t handle the number of visitors, it can be frustrating.
If you get lucky enough to face this problem, what should you do? Certainly, you want to capture contact info from as many people as you can.
Depending on the circumstances, you can approach it in a few ways. A little preparation for this will go a long way. For instance, have a couple of clipboards handy with pre-printed forms asking for just a few pertinent pieces of information such as name, phone, email and company. And if room, what do they want to talk with you about. If you’re overwhelmed with visitors, your staff can quickly hand out the clipboards and ask those that can’t stick around to leave their information behind – and be sure to ask for a business card as well. In fact, you can even say to those that hand you a business card to give a shortened version of their info on the form and make a note that they left a card. This gives you name, contact info, company and phone number without them having to write it down.
Don’t have clipboard with forms or even blank paper? You might think ahead and toss a small notebook in to the booth crate. You can at least ask the questions and write that info down.
No notebook? Ask for a card, tell the guest that you’re sorry that you’re swamped right now but that you want to get back to them soon: “Can we schedule a meeting later today or tomorrow? Or would it work better to call you when you get back to your office?”
The goal with this situation is to get contact info for as many people as possible – if they leave without you doing that, they’re likely gone for good. Grabbing a card and making a note on the card is sufficient. Even if you don’t get a chance to jot a brief note on the back, you can make a return call a few days later.
At busy shows, it’s kind of rare to have a few moments when you’re simply overwhelmed, where you just don’t have the booth staff to handle the influx of visitors. But if you can do your best to capture contact information before they leave, you have made a connection, even if it’s tentative. But it’s better than not capturing anything from them!
Photo courtesy Ken Newman of Magnet Productions.
This is a guest post by Lee Becknell.
While the reasons for attending a tradeshow are different from company to company, everyone has essentially the same tradeshow goals – we all want to spread awareness about our brand, make sales, and forge connections with new partners and customers.
Regardless of how top-notch your product or service or how flashy your booth, you won’t achieve any of these goals if you don’t have a steady stream of traffic. Get creative in your tradeshow approach so that no one can resist stopping by your exhibit.
One of the most important things you can do to draw more visitors to your tradeshow booth is to exhibit with a smile. Put your friendliest, most charismatic employees on the frontlines and train them to act as hosts and hostesses of your environment. If they’re able to make warm connections with people passing by, whether it be making eye contact and smiling or asking them a question, they’ll be able to help convert visitors to loyal customers. Be sure that your exhibit has an open and inviting feel no matter what.
Lee Becknell serves as the Senior Digital Marketing Manager for Pinnacle Promotions. Lee oversees digital marketing from the Atlanta, GA headquarters. Lee has been with Pinnacle for over six years. Lee enjoys spending time with her husband, son and golden retriever, running and taking naps.
When you think about it, there are several reasons why tradeshows work to reach new markets. And many reasons as to why they wouldn’t work for you.
Let’s start with why tradeshows work.
Tradeshows are organized for one very good reason: to bring buyers and sellers together under one roof for a short amount of time. It’s an extremely effective way to help both parties make connections. By setting up an exhibit at the right show – one that has hundreds or thousands of people or companies that are in the market for your product or service – you can save a ton of money when compared with trying to have face-to-face meetings with those same people at their company locations. Imagine meeting 100 people at a show over the course of three days. Then imagine the cost of traveling to 100 locations spread throughout the country (or state or world) and having the same meetings. Granted, a meeting in someone’s office is typically more relaxed than a meeting on the tradeshow floor. But other than the time and relaxation factors, it’s pretty much the same meeting! You’re determining if the prospect uses your product, is capable of making a purchase (they have the $$), and if they have the ability to make that decision for the company. It’s the same on the tradeshow floor.
Given all of that, tradeshows are the perfect structure for spreading the word about your product among a very large crowd that – again, if it’s the right show – are your target market. Naturally, you’re competing against companies that may be trying to sell virtually the same product or service to the same target market. That’s where the fun starts: how do you differentiate from them, how do you approach the prospect, how do you understand their needs, how do you make them look (and feel) good?
On the flip side, given the high cost and a multitude of variables that go into planning and executing a tradeshow appearance, a lot of exhibitors have come to the conclusion that tradeshow marketing doesn’t work. For them.
You could point to a number of reasons why it doesn’t work for them. They’re at the wrong show. With the wrong exhibit. In the wrong space. With a booth staff that isn’t properly trained. Going against competitors that are way ahead of them in experience, savvy, planning, and attitude. In fact, attitude, I would argue, is one of the keys to winning vs. losing at a tradeshow. But let’s take it a step further: let’s not even use the words “winning vs. losing” because that frames it as a competition. Yes, it is, in a sense. But if you consider all tradeshows as more than that – as a learning experience – take that experience and apply it to the next round. What worked? What didn’t? Why did something work, and why did something else not work? If that’s hard to figure out, it might mean you’re too close to it. Ask someone on the outside to take a look and give an objective perspective. Buy a book or two and learn how it’s done from people that have been there before.
Don’t give up. Keep plugging away. Keep trying. It can – and will – work for you, eventually.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the main goal of all tradeshow marketing is to grow your business, right? Yes, you’re right. But that’s a general and somewhat vague-sounding goal, so it’s worth breaking it down a bit more.
The main goals for exhibiting typically fall under these categories:
Most everything you can do, whether it’s pre-show marketing, in-booth activities, or post-show follow-up, helps support these three main goals.
To support your Branding efforts, consider the following goals:
Easily recognizable exhibit that captures your brand. How do you measure this? One way would be to survey visitors as they pass through the booth to gauge their feelings on the exhibit.
A trained booth staff that knows and understands your show goals and how to properly interact with your booth visitors. This isn’t something that is easily measurable, but investing in your booth staff by hiring a professional trainer is an expense that can be measured – and I’m confident you’ll see an improvement in critical metrics as a results.
Samples given away – if a lot of people want your stuff, that’s a good indicator. Easy enough to measure.
Social media engagement. Did you get good response from the photos and videos you posted from the show floor (as well as before and after the show)? Compare post count and engagement from show to show.
When it comes to Lead Generation, the following metrics and activities can contribute to the overall success:
Making sure that your lead has concrete contact information and specific follow up details. Count leads and track trends from show to show.
Tracking the overall visitor count. Yes, this is hard to do, but with technology it’s becoming easier. By knowing the percentage of visitors that convert to leads, you have valuable information that can be used at subsequent shows.
Sales Success comes from the follow up and the tracking of the total amount of sales achieved as a direct result of a show. Here’s where it gets a little dicey. Some tradeshow leads will pay off immediately, others in the medium-term and some in the long-term. If you can attribute a sale in March of 2019, for example to a show you did in July of 2016, add the profit earned from that sale to the Return on Investment from your July 2016 show. You probably won’t automatically know this information, especially if your company is a fairly large business and goes to several shows in a year. But by tagging the prospect as someone that first came into your sales funnel at that specific July 2016 show, no matter how many follow up steps it took, if they become a new client and you can attribute the income from them to a specific show, make sure to do so.
One of my favorite newsletters comes from Bill Lampton, Ph. D., otherwise known as the BizComunication Guy. When I invited him on to the TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee several weeks ago, he offered to interview me for his weekly show as well. It was a pleasure to reciprocate. Bill is great interviewer and as you might imagine a professional communicator.
A tradeshow is a competition that puts your product side by side with other companies in the same industry you’re in. You may or may not have a more superior product, but what can clinch the deal is how you interact with your visitors during your face to face encounters.
But how can you encourage engagement with trade show visitors? Here are some important tips that can help make your next showing a more engaging one.
People are naturally visual beings so the design of your booth will play a big role in making it inviting. Your booth has to be attractive but this does not necessarily mean that it has to be expensive as well.
What’s important is that your branding is professionally done in high quality materials. Remember that your booth is a representation of your company so if the overall feel looks sloppy or rushed, then the visitors will also assume that your standards in how you do business are not that high.
Most companies also make the mistake of using the standard booth layout of having a table at the front of their booth to display their products, with the space behind them empty or filled with clutter. This traditional layout actually blocks the visitor flow because the table is putting a barrier between you and the attendees. Instead, employ a more functional open design the next time you set up your booth. Try placing the table at the inside center area to display your products or TV screen. Stand at the front of the booth and encourage people to come in to investigate further.
This open design also allows multiple people to come in and explore even if you are still engaged with another visitor
There’s nothing more discouraging than seeing people manning a booth sitting down and looking bored. Visitors will think twice before approaching you so you need to be proactive to get people in. Smiling and being cheerful will always get a positive response.
When speaking to visitors, don’t launch into a monologue of your practiced spiel, rather, try to listen to their concerns in order for you to offer what they really need.
If the traffic in your booth is low, assign one staff to go into more populated areas to invite people to participate in your booth activities. You can also network with other business owners and make it an opportunity to build business connections.
Technology has made it easier for companies to promote their events at a more practical cost while still reaching a wider audience. With 96% of business getting on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, it is a great platform to drum up interest and invite visitors to your booth. Use an event hashtag and get booth visitors tag you in their social media posts as well.
During the event, ask people to follow you on your social networks and get their email ID’s instead of the old-school business card collection method. This will make it easier for you to engage with your visitors straight away instead of waiting post-event to reach out.
Another way to take advantage of digital techniques is by providing electronic fliers or brochures instead of giving away printed paper versions that only end up being thrown away. Have a laptop or tablet ready where event attendees can sign-up or leave their email addresses. They can then receive an instant automated email with a downloadable link that contains your company’s marketing materials. This is also more cost effective than printing or giving out USB sticks because you can access your cloud storage option of choice from your laptop or tablet. There are lots of brilliant free options available like Google Drive or Dropbox.
Simply giving away fliers or dishing out long speeches about your company is not enough to encourage engagement. Host activities that require attendees’ participation like games, competitions, product demonstrations, and sampling.
Hosting a game for example will give visitors a feeling of fun which they can then associate with your brand. Make sure that the game is related to your product to amplify your brand message.
In doing product sampling, go the extra mile by not only giving out samples supermarket style. Instead, make it into a challenge so it’s more exciting!
For example, if you have a food brand like a cheese product ask visitors to craft their own sandwich creations instead of just handing out a taster. Give a prize to the best participant and place a leader board so other attendees can also be motivated to participate.
Giving out freebies is still one of the best ways to get engagement, however, gone are the days when a free branded pen or t-shirt excites trade show attendees. These traditional types of giveaways are often ignored and chances are, some visitors won’t even bother to give you a second look.
Instead of spending your money on boxes of branded keychains that will not be used, try offering a premium gift to just a limited number of attendees who really interacted with your product.
Selection can be in the form of a raffle or a contest. A bigger, more valuable prize can also stir up more interest rather than an unremarkable souvenir. This also prompts people to seek out your booth and spend more time engaging rather than just taking a free stress ball and leaving.
Attending trade shows can be a stressful and tiring experience so one great idea is to offer a free service to visitors.
Setting up a mobile charging station or providing free dedicated Wi-Fi are just some examples that will surely get your booth awesome foot traffic. You can also offer free premium coffee, healthy snacks or shoulder massages if budget is not an issue. If you cannot afford this, something as simple as a comfortable seating space can even be inviting to tired visitors.
Once the visitors are in your space, use that opportunity to interact with them to let them know more about your product.
How to be remembered after the show is a big challenge for any exhibitor. Sadly not everyone has that bouncy personality that can draw people in. If you are not a naturally people person, think up ways on how to stand out. If it is a health & beauty event, maybe invite a social media influencer in your booth to help speak about the product.
You can also try offering valuable information by hosting educational sessions, mini-lectures or workshops every hour. For example, if you have a coffee machine company, why not invite visitors to a coffee-tasting session at your booth explaining the origin of the different coffee beans? If you have a photography company, host a free photo booth that will include a small logo of your company in the digital print. There are a lot of possibilities if you just think out of the box.
One of the main purposes of exhibiting at a trade show is to create awareness for your product. Don’t waste the opportunity, time and money by putting everything at the last minute and turning up without a sound plan. Using these techniques will help you create a bigger impact on your next event.
Tradeshow Marketing Is a Competition – Tradeshow marketing is a competition against your competition.
A Basic Guide To Social Media Advertising – 96% of business now on on social networks.
The 5 Best Cloud Storage Options For Laptops – Free and paid suggestions for cloud storage options.
Nathan Sharpe is the entrepreneur behind Biznas. He knows that you have to wear many different hats in order for your business to be a success. He helps others achieve this success by sharing everything he knows over on his blog, as well as any new lessons he learns along the way!