Over the years I have discovered that there are typically 5 top reasons why companies exhibit at trade shows.
1) To sell your products and services
2) To connect with new potential customers
3) To connect face-to-face with existing customers
4) To build brand awareness within the industry
5) To check out the competition
Today we are going to focus on item #1, 2 and 3….all of which generate measurable revenue for your company.
There are four simple secrets that exhibitors need to master, to take their booth from being effective, to being a HUGE SUCCESS! This simple strategy is not easily done. It will take careful planning and coordination by everyone involved. It will make or break your success for attracting new customers, or engaging your existing customers to buy more “stuff” from you. If you master these four skills, you will see the biggest return on your booth investment.
1) PRESENT to ATTRACT! Your booth presentation should convey the simplest message possible. Signs should clearly display WHO you are and WHAT you offer. Use the most simple wording possible. Consider that aisle browsing people need to decide if they want to enter your booth in 3-5 seconds. The way I like look at it…what words would potential clients use to find your products or services on Google? Invest in sponsorships, signage, promotions, and social media activities that put you in front of the potential customers you want to meet before, during, and after the event. Most important, make sure your profile is strong in the event’s online and printed guides as these are often under-utilized by exhibitors, but provide the best reach to attendees.
2) FILL YOUR BOOTH WITH BODIES! Invite all of your existing clients to your booth. Imagine your booth being filled with people all day long, while your competitors booth looks empty! Which booth will new potential customers be more excited to enter? Also imagine being able to introduce new prospects to your existing happy clients! You will be amazed at how well a face-to-face testimonial will impact their decision to buy from you. Try inviting your existing clients with a raffle only for them. Maybe let them submit additional entries for each potential new customer/friend they bring with them to your booth!
3) LISTEN then ANSWER! When a potential customer walks into your booth, take time to listen. I have learned that if I listen well, and ask the right questions, I can figure out what problem they are struggling with…that we can solve. The only time I will speak is to confirm their needs, and then explain how we can solve their problem. Successful selling is about helping others. They do not care how your product works…they care about the results it produces. Speak about the benefits…not the features.
4) GET the COMMITMENT! Once you have determined that the potential customer has interest, the next step for follow up should be established immediately. Depending on your industry and the nature of your product, you might be able to get the customer to place an order while in your booth. In most cases you will need to schedule another meeting. I like to give my prospects the two options that I prefer to take, and then let them tell me which one THEY want me to do. That way, I am making them comfortable, following up on their terms, and increasing my chances of successful follow through later.
Good luck and have fun exhibiting!
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