logo
 


Log in

5 Tips for Better Trade Show Results

by Gwen Parsons 11. March 2015 19:23

Exhibiting at a trade show can be one of the quickest and most exciting ways to grow new business opportunities. I frequently hear stories of companies that are successful at generating new business activity through trade show marketing. On the other hand I also hear about companies that exhibit with disappointing results. So the obvious question is what are these exhibitors doing differently?

The answer is often “you get out of it what you put into it”. Here are 5 points we can learn from the successful exhibitors that you can employ to maximize every opportunity at a trade show or event.

Promote Your Presence

While pre-show campaigns vary from exhibitor to exhibitor, the goal is the same - to contact as many attendees as possible and draw them to your trade show booth. You need multiple touch points to reach today’s time pressured attendees. A typical pre-show campaign consists of combination of tactics from print ads, direct mail, press releases, online ads, and emails to telemarketing, social media, sponsorships and promotions.



Make Room for Business

In a recent study, exhibitors cited booth layout as one of the top three factors that improved their show results. Specifically they noted more entry points, more open space and less clutter.

An open floor plan helps to create an approachable atmosphere. Current exhibit design trends combine open space, architectural simplicity and light color palettes to create a fresh, modern environment. Open floor plans also reduce barriers to entry and facilitate circulation within your space. As a general rule you want at least 60% of the frontage open and at least 60% of the floor space in the exhibit unoccupied.



If you plan to have a theatre-style presentation, hands-on demonstrations, or private meetings, make sure you book a space big enough to accommodate them.

Approach All Attendees

Trade show attendees are people genuinely interested in learning about new products, industry trends, and how-to solutions for their top of mind concerns. Some attendees will approach your trade show booth and easily cross into your space. Others will stroll briskly past focusing on something like their phone to avoid eye contact. More attendees will pause and look as they make their way down the aisle. Any or all of them may have questions they’d like to ask but don’t dare to start the conversation themselves.



The concept of approaching people out of the blue and instigating a conversation may feel uncomfortable. Yet your booth staff needs to be proactive about stepping into the aisles and approaching all attendees.

Here’s why. By starting the conversation, your booth staff instantly puts the attendee at ease. Your team should think of themselves as hosts and every passerby as a new guest. When an attendee feels welcome they are naturally more open to learning what you have to offer. All it takes is asking an open ended question to break the ice and start building rapport.

Not only will you collect more leads, more importantly, you’ll increase the chances of making the sale too. The Center for Exhibition Industry Research estimates that 85% of the reason for a sale is the booth staff. People remember people: their attitudes; behavior, appearance and knowledge, often before they remember the company name.

Stimulate Attendee Senses

Visitors are flooded by stimuli when they enter a show - lights, colors, noise, and crowds. It takes a visitor seconds to walk by and sum up whether or not to stop at your display. Ask yourself what you would stop for at a trade show exhibit. Your attraction may involve more than one of the five senses:

Sight – Visitors may recognize your brand or be intrigued by what they see in your trade show exhibit: Dazzling backlit graphics, big screen video presentations, product demonstrations or live presentations.

Sound – Visitors are attracted to sounds emanating from your booth whether its music, a presenter’s voice, or attendee laughter as they play an in-booth game.

Smell – It’s the strongest sense for triggering associations and memories. Good smells such as fresh coffee or familiar food scents like popcorn can reach out to visitors and lure them in from the aisles.



Taste - Offer light refreshments to entice visitors. It may help lengthen the duration of their visit. We recently celebrated our 40th anniversary at a trade show by sharing yummy treats with attendees. We served red velvet cake on day 1, cookies on day 2 and chocolate brownies on day 3.



Touch – Entice visitors with a tactile experience, the opportunity for true hands-on interaction.

Give Promotions that Offer Value

The right giveaway can promote your brand for months after the show. The best giveaways offer true value. See our post on promotional products to complement your trade show display for the items that offers true value.

Another very powerful technique is to extend an offer only for visitors to your trade show exhibit. You can use a discount or value add approach. Create a show special package with a discount price or give out a one-time promotion code to apply to an online purchase. Alternatively you could offer a free upgrade or a bogo (buy-one-get-one). Be sure the offer is available for a limited time only so recipients have a sense of urgency to act. If there is enough interest but the time frame is too short you can always extend the deadline.

is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Nomadic Display. She is a regular contributor to the Nomadic Display Blog and can be found at Google + and LinkedIn.

 

Trade Shows are the Place to Build Business Relationships

by Gwen Parsons 17. February 2015 23:30

Trade shows are among the best events for meeting clients, new prospects, industry colleagues and old friends. From the show floor to the sessions and networking functions, trade shows are the place to meet and renew connections. Events enable you to keep in touch with your customers’ challenges and share how your latest developments can address them. In addition, it’s a great place to establish new business relationships with buyers, resellers, suppliers and even potential employees.


Target Key Contacts

Attendees today do their homework before the show. They research the companies they want to meet in advance. So you need to be one of the exhibitors on their “must see” list. Send out an invitation to your clients and prospects inviting them to your trade show booth. Draw attention to the highlights of what they can expect to see and learn when they visit your trade show exhibit. Make it easy for them to attend by pre-registering them or providing a free pass to the exhibit hall. Show schedule are hectic so reach out to your key contacts – existing or new – to set up a day and time to meet before, during or after the show hours.

For more tips on preparation download our 27 page Guide to Successful Exhibiting here.

Train Your Team

A positive atmosphere in your trade show display is important to making your visitors feel welcome and comfortable. Your booth staff should be enthusiastic and confident. That takes preparation and training. Generate a show handbook or manual for your exhibition team. Hold a briefing to review company goals, your expectations and their roles and responsibilities.



Walk the Show Floor

Remember that you’re a member of the event community within your industry. Exhibitors often turn to one another for information and guidance about everything from the location of the business office to great restaurants in town. Share and they will share alike.

Walk around the exhibit hall to see what other exhibitors are doing. You’ll see what your competitors are presenting and pick up some great ideas for your next event, too!

 

is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Nomadic Display. She is a regular contributor to the Nomadic Display Blog and can be found at Google + and LinkedIn.

 

Top Five Trade Show Planning Pitfalls

by Gwen Parsons 1. May 2014 00:11

Face-to-face events enable your company to grow sales by retaining current, and attracting new customers. ​Your company invests significant staff time and money to participate in trade shows and events each year. So we created a list of the top five most common pitfalls to avoid so your company plans to get the most out of their trade show investment.

1. Time: There’s never enough is there? Marketers wear multiple hats today and trade show preparation deadlines can sneak up on you. So plan now to take control by building a calendar or project timeline for your show. Consult your exhibit partner for turnaround times for design and production. Overlay the form deadlines contained within the show manual. Include a factor in your plan for internal meetings, decision making and management approvals. Circulate the calendar or project plan to team members to make sure everyone is aware of what needs to be done, and by when. Establish a schedule of regular meetings with the team to review progress and make adjustments to the plan. Build your plan to deliver to the advanced warehouse to save money and time. In the event you encounter any delays along the pipeline you have a fall back position and can re-schedule delivery direct to the show site.

2. Budget: Track the breakdown of expenses for your events to refer to when you forecast your show budget. Then collect accurate estimates for new graphics and display properties as well as line items that may change based on show location such as freight, labor and hotels. Since companies cannot reduce fixed show expenses, they look to variable expenses to reduce costs. Beware of buying the cheapest graphics or trade show display you can find. Why invest all the money to participate in a show – space, show services, staff travel - only cut corners on the trade show exhibit that will represent your brand?  You want the best presentation possible to generate new sales opportunities. Short term solutions may be “penny wise” but can end up “pound foolish” when you have to purchase replacements. Instead, invest in a trade show display guaranteed to last; one that will accept future accessory upgrades and adapts to different sizes so it may be used at multiple events. Or consider a trade show display rental.

3. Promotion: Many companies make the mistake of thinking they can just show up. While it is the show organizer’s job to bring attendees to the show, it is your job to bring the attendees to your booth. Studies show that attendees maximize their time on the show floor by preparing a target list of exhibitors to meet in advance. Pre-show promotion is essential —without it, your potential customers may not know to look for you. Aggressively market your presence at the show to increase traffic to your booth which will also increase your leads for new sales.

4. Staff: Your booth staff creates the first impression with visitors so choose the employees that will best represent your company. You need people who want to be there and will follow direction. Trade shows require staff to be comfortable approaching attendees in aisles, not just waiting for them to enter your booth. Trade show selling requires listening, responding to and recording information in a conversation that lasts just a few minutes. You need people that can explain how your products solve potential client’s problems better than the competition. Prepare your booth staff by providing proper training and clear communication about show goals and performance expectations to prevent disappointment on the show floor.

5. Follow Up: C suite execs no longer tolerate interdepartmental finger pointing; they want to know the result of their investment in trade shows and events. You can’t afford to fumble at the end zone mishandling your trade show leads after the show. By the time you figure out what to do, the leads have long since grown cold. So before you go to the show, sales and marketing need to agree on who will collect, count, record, fulfill, distribute, contact, and report on show leads. Remember, you can never follow up too quickly with the people who showed interest in your product!

For more tips on exhibit marketing management, download our Guide to Successful Exhibiting.

is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Nomadic Display. She is a regular contributor to the Nomadic Display Blog and can be found at Google + and LinkedIn.

 

Tags: , , ,

Trade Show Tips

How to Get the Conversation Started with Attendees

by Gwen Parsons 28. May 2013 18:52

All too often trade show booth staff don’t know how to engage attendees as they come down the aisle. They watch attendees walk by their trade show display, afraid to approach them because they are unsure of what to say or fear bothering them.  While some attendees will stop, what about the ones that don’t?  You're there to meet with attendees, so you need to get the conversation ball rolling.

First recognize that no one wants to interrupt trade show staff on their phone or huddled together chatting with one another.  They will think you're too busy to talk with them and continue on down the aisle.  Be present and make yourself available so visitors will feel welcome. Adopt a relaxed stance, smile and yes, by all means, step out into the aisle.

Next, you need to know what you're going to say to kick off the conversation.  "Hi there, can I help you with something?" or “Enjoying the show?” are uninspiring at best.  The most predictable response is likely to be "no thanks, I'm just looking."  End of conversation.  You need more engaging conversation starters, to get them involved immediately.

The best openers are often to offer something – a free sample, the opportunity to participate in an activity, or win a prize.  Formulate open ended questions that cannot be answered with a simply yes or no.  Think of questions that use who, what, where, when and how vs questions that use are, can, do, have, or will.  For example, "If you win the iPad we're giving away today, who would you give it to?".  Start off the conversation focusing on them, rather than the other way around.  Your opener should get them thinking, and regardless of what the answer is, it should draw them into a conversation about their needs, provide an opportunity for you to explain what you do, and determine whether you can help them.

It's important, of course, not to get discouraged.  No matter how great your openers are, not every person that walks by has a need for your product or service.  Keep in mind that if you're friendly, approachable, and have a great conversation starter, your chances for generating more leads will be greatly increased.

For more tips on successful exhibiting techniques, request a copy of our guidebook.

 

Tags: , ,

Trade Show Tips

How to Prepare Your Trade Show Staff

by Gwen Parsons 15. May 2013 16:26

Alexander Graham Bell said “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”  So we asked Margit Weisgal – industry veteran, Certified Manager of Exhibits and past President/CEO of the Trade Show Exhibitors Association – to share her tips on how to prepare your booth staff to succeed on the show floor.

You have a kick-ass trade show display, targeted graphics, and a brilliant promotion plan to attract visitors. You’re ready for the show, right? Well, almost. Despite this, if you don’t have the right people in the booth, you may have wasted all your effort because it’s all about the people.

Your staffers are the ones who greet booth visitors, engage them, interact with them, position your product in terms of their needs and wants, collect contact info and, then, determine the follow up.

So to have a great staff, you have to have great preparation. Look at all the work you put in for your trade show display, graphics and promos. A commensurate effort should go into your people.

trade show staffing

Step by Step
Here are a six tactics you can employ to have a successful staff – and a successful trade show.

1. Explain why you exhibit.  You are immersed in trade show exhibit marketing and all its elements. But your trade show exhibit staff only does this for a few days (or maybe weeks) outside their regular jobs. They don’t really understand why you’re there and the inherent benefits. So take a little time and let them in on why this is an amazing sales and marketing medium. Here’s are some key phrases to use:

  • Trade shows accelerate the buying cycle. (Salespeople love this one.)
  • You meet with current customers to ensure you remain their preferred vendor. (Salespeople like this, too.)
  • You reach new, hidden buyers that haven’t been identified as potential customers yet and have an opportunity to educate them on why your product/service is the best choice.
  • It’s a more efficient use of their time to meet with many buyers at one location which also reduces the cost of a sale by as much as 75%.

2. Explain why you chose this show. You know the demographics of the attendees so inform the trade show staff of who will be there. Based on the pre-registration list, mention key customers and prospects by company.

3. Explain your goals. Each event is a platform to push or focus on a product/service/message. Share your strategy with the individuals who will be manning the booth and serve as your experts

4. Explain your promotional plan. Since these strategies will drive traffic to your trade show display, you’ll want them to know what’s going on in the background and bringing all the visitors to your space.

5. Explain the layout. Inform your staff how to guide visitors to right areas in your trade show booth – from the reception counter, to different product areas, special demonstrations, a stage – so they can get the most from the experience.

6. Explain their role: Trade show staff should qualify visitors using prepared open-ended questions. Most important, they should really, really listen. Attendees will often tell you what you need to know to sell them. If they listen, they’ll be great. And practice. Remember, they don’t do this all year round.

Anne M. Mulcahy of Xerox said, “Employees are a company's greatest asset – they're your competitive advantage. You want to make them feel that they are an integral part of the company's mission.”

You value your staff’s contribution of time, energy, time, and commitment to the company. Say ‘thank you;’ it goes a long way toward showing your appreciation.  Follow these few steps and you’ll have a great event.  See you on the show floor. Contact Margit at mbweisgal@gmail.com.

 

Tags: , , ,

Trade Show Tips

*.*