Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.
Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.


TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee: February 6, 2017 [video replay]

On this morning’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee – the Bob Marley Birthday Show – we discuss lead generation as it pertains to TradeshowGuy Exhibits (and maybe your company!), and communication as it relates to managing projects. Of course, we end up discussing more.

And for some inexplicable reason, I managed to forget the ONE GOOD THING that I was hoping to include. And that is the digital version of the New York Times, of which I’m a subscriber. But more pointedly, I’d like to mention the daily mini-crossword puzzle, which takes a minute or two and is a good little kick-starter first thing in the morning.

Sign up for continued access to our live webcast atTradeshowGuyWebinars.com – and check the archives, too.

Communication on the Tradeshow Floor

The tradeshow floor is a unique place. It’s artificial and unreal. Thousands of people are darting about the show floor, all with different agendas and schedules and goals.

So how do you communicate in such a wacky, upside-down environment?

Keep three things in mind:

First, remember YOUR goal(s). If it’s to qualify a prospect, keep that at the forefront of your mind. If your goal is to make a sale or gather leads, keep that present.

Second, you have a limited time to assess whether your prospect fits your goals.

And third, once you have completed your goal, move on to the next person.

So how does this work in the real artificial world of the tradeshow floor?
The first – remember YOUR GOAL – must take place before the show opens. This is usually a simple statement or understanding of your company’s reason for being at the show. And remember that your company’s goals may change from show to show, depending on the nature of the show and the attendees.

One horizontal industry show might demand that you just gather leads. Another more vertical show might lend itself to racking up sales.

So if your stated goal is, for instance, ‘qualify prospects and determine if they’re in the market for our product or service in the next 90 days,’ you’ll just keep that in the forefront of your mind. It doesn’t mean that you ignore people that don’t fit the profile. In fact, you may want to gather those leads and keep them separately.

The second part of communicating on the tradeshow floor: you’re under an immense time pressure. You may not feel the pressure of time, but here’s how it works: let’s say the show is open for three days, a total of 8 hours a day. That gives you 24 hours of ‘show time.’

If there’s an expected attendance of 10,000, here’s how your numbers break down (thanks to the Tradeshow Manager’s Activity Level Planner slide chart):

* Visitors with a mission: 1600
* Likely to shop: 768
* Likely to be drawn to your exhibit: 576
* Likely to shop and talk: 328
* Visitors per hour: 14 – 24
* Staffers needed: 2 – 3
* Literature needed: 500

If you’re averaging 7 to 12 visitors per hour per person, that gives you approximately 5 to 8 ½ minutes per person during the time each person is engaged in a conversation.

That may seem like a lot, or it may seem like very little time, depending on your context. For most sales people who like to sit down and engage a prospect and really uncover their needs with question after question, it would seem like a short time.

Now that you know what your time frame is, it helps you approach the encounter with the booth visitor knowing what you want to accomplish.
First, you’ll want to find out who they are. Chances are they’re wearing a name badge.

Next, determine what they do for the company. Even if there’s a title on their badge, it’s appropriate to ask what kinds of things they do on the job. Use these questions to break the ice with them.

Next, you’ll want to find out how your product can help them. It will help you immensely if you go over a handful of potential opening questions before the show. Rehearse them with your co-workers.

Ask things such as: “What does your company do?” “How familiar are you with (your product)?” “What’s your most important need regarding (your product or service)?”

Now that you’ve asked the question, STOP TALKING and LISTEN! Don’t stand there trying to think of your next question or statement or sales pitch. When you listen, really listen, to the prospect, it gives them a chance to give you information which will mostly likely be useful to you. What they say will determine your next statement or question.

If they’re interested in your product, it’ll show. If not, you’ve disqualified them. So here’s the third part of communication on the tradeshow floor: politely disengage and move on to the next attendee. Even if they are a hot prospect, chances are you’ll want to just get their information and talk to them after the show when you’ll have a chance to expand your conversation and find out how you can really help them.

Of course, in the real world you may find that it’s important to spend a much longer time with the prospect. It may make sense to go into their situation in much greater detail – you’ll have to use your judgment on that. You might be able to meet them at a later time during the show when you’re not on the show floor.

Bottom Line: keep your communication pointed, specific, friendly and upbeat. You have a limited time to gather your critical information. Once you have done that, make sure you follow up back at the office!

When Do You Need A Tradeshow Consultant?

Does your company need a tradeshow staff trainer? A tradeshow is NOT a regular sales call. On the hot, active floor of the tradeshow, you must be quick on your feet, flexible, inventive, direct, creative and engaging. And you must know your product, your company, and your Most Important Prospects.

So how do you tell if your tradeshow sales crew could use a tradeshow training specialist?

Some questions you might ask yourself:

Are you having a hard time defining what a good lead at your show really it? You’ll have a lot of lookers, passersby as well as clients and prospects. If your sales staff doesn’t have the skills to differentiate between the various people that are there, you may be wasting time and energy chasing the wrong people, or missing important time with current clients or good prospects. If your prospect has shown in interest in your company, has the bucks to work with you and you’re able to solve her problem – you have a good lead.

Are your leads being sorted out into A (hot), B (warm) and C (cool) leads? If you’ve asked the right questions at the show, you’ll know exactly when the prospect wants you to follow up, and how. Some companies want immediate follow up, others are not ready to hear your presentation for a couple of months. Based on your company’s sales cycle, determine your categories of hot, warm and cool.

Does your on-floor sales staff know the difference between tradeshow selling and ‘normal’ selling? At least what’s normal for your company? Do they know how to attract a prospect’s attention in five seconds or less with an engaging question? Do they know how to qualify, disqualify and gather proper information for the sales team back at the office?

Do you have a list of pre-qualified prospects primed to see you at the show? Have you done pre-show marketing and made personal contacts to make sure your prime targets are attending and are planning to come see you?

Do you have a system in place to trade lead follow-up? After the leads come back from the trade show, the sales staff needs to be able to show you how they’ve followed up, what the status of the contact is, and if the lead was a quality lead. By regular checking you’ll be able to determine if your trade show sales staff were actually qualifying the leads, or just scanning badges.

Are you constantly ironing out inefficiencies in your system? This means regular de-briefings with your trade show sales staff to find out what works and what doesn’t. It means find out if your technology is doing all it should. It means reviewing your methodology for handling leads, putting on the trade show, updating your booth and more. It means going over your budget regularly with a fine tooth comb to weed out unneeded or ineffective items.

Trade shows are not a regular sales event, it takes the right staff and the proper training to insure you’re getting the level of success you should. When you bring in a trade show consultant your trade show investment can really pay off. Contact us at TradeshowGuy Exhibits if you would like to find out more details.

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Tradeshow Guy Blog by Tim Patterson

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