A Primer on How to be Successful With Industry Trade Shows
Regardless of the industry, there are always tradeshows happening throughout the year. And while you may not have time to attend them all, you can really give your brand a boost by adding a couple of these events to your calendar and making the most of them.
Because of the fees associated with them, many companies ignore trade shows and invest their resources in other areas. However, it’s unwise to ignore the potential reward they could bring.
“With the right strategy, every trade show you attend is an opportunity to drastically expand your company’s customer base. The people who attend trade shows tend to be motivated, interested in the products or services your company offers, and often ready to commit to a deal on the spot,” trade show marketing expert Peter Symonds explains. “In short, they’re much more worthwhile leads than names and numbers picked out of a business directory.”
Trade shows are also valuable from an industry insights perspective. They give you a chance to rub shoulders with competitors, peers, supply chain partners, and other industry insiders. In this sense, it’s really a primer on the direction your industry is going.
Signing up for a trade show and securing a booth doesn’t guarantee results. To make it worth your time and money, you need a strategy. Here are a few helpful suggestions:
To guide your trade show efforts and keep you on track, it’s important that you come up with one or two main objectives. Whether you’re trying to close sales, expand your network, or market a new product, narrowing your focus will help you maximize your resources and prevent wasted time.
“Taking the time to set a budget early on will save you from unexpected costs in the future,” marketing expert Jillian Tempestini explains. “From reserving space to shipping materials, the cost of a trade show extends beyond the price of your exhibit.”
If this is your first trade show and you have no idea of what to expect, this trade show budget worksheet will be really helpful. It highlights some of the hidden costs and estimates how much you can expect to spend on different aspects.
Making the most of your time is all about striking up meaningful conversations with the right people. The more conversations you can have with prospects, the greater your chances are of realizing your goals. But you never want someone to leave your booth empty handed.
Every person who walks through your booth should leave with something to remember your brand by. Brochures – which can be printed relatively cheaply – are one idea. You may also invest in some promotional items - such as pens, keychains, or koozies.
Every company at a trade show should have a 60-second elevator pitch that can be delivered to prospects. This pitch can be slightly tailored to the individual on the receiving end, but having a concrete formula in place gives you something to fall back on.
A good elevator pitch is concise, clear, passionate, and purposeful. You want to avoid being too pushy, while also making it obvious that you’re interested in their business. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.
You never want to leave a trade show without something to show for it. While you will occasionally close sales on the spot, most people aren’t going to commit to anything in the moment. Instead of leaving all future communication in the prospect’s hands, you should want the ability to reach out.
In light of this, have a plan in place for collecting leads. This may look like a simple clipboard where people write down an email address, or a computerized system where they create a customer profile in return for a bonus gift. Sometimes simple is better.
You might not have the ability to attend half a dozen trade shows per year, but if you can make your presence known at just one or two, there’s much to be gained. Hopefully this article has provided you with some helpful insights on how to make the most of your time so you can generate more leads and close more sales.