My first question is always: “what are you looking to achieve at this event? What is your goal?”
Most of my clients will have 2 or sometimes three main goals.
1. Generate leads
2. Create more brand awareness
3. Showcase our product or services
These are all three valuable goals and are definitely good reasons to attend the right trade show.
Let me run through my 9 main reasons why companies should go to trade shows split up into 3 main groups:
1) PLANT SEEDS FOR NEW SALES
a) Meet, interview & close new, current & past leads.
Talk to your existing leads, who are still in the process of becoming your client and find out if everything is going well or if you can improve anything. Potential new leads and that old lead that decided not to become your client. You can ask them why they chose to go elsewhere and what you could have done better for them.
b) Meet, interview, appreciate & pitch customers.
Always invite your existing clients to the booth and do something special for them to show your appreciation. This can be a special gift or even a promotion just for them. It shows you value their business but it also showcases your customer service to potential new clients.
c) Meet, interview & prime competitors’ customers.
This is a tricky one and you need to have well trained staff for this but can be very powerful. Never talk down on the competitor, but you could ask them what they would like to see changed in that product. You might find out your product or service is better in that area and you can now highlight this and pitch on it. Be very careful how you do this though and have a very strict script for this.
2) MARKET TO YOUR INDUSTRY
a) Launch new products, services, technologies.
Showcase your product strengths with presentations and demonstrations. The more interactive the better. Remember; this is a trade Show.
b) Boost industry awareness & reputation.
Showcase the strengths of your company and brand. Stand out from the crowd by being special and unique in your own way.
c) Get noticed by the press.
The traditional press but more to the point, everyone with a smart phone now-a-days. That pretty much means everyone. Always remember: What ever you do in the booth will reflect and impact you, your product, your company and your brand. When on duty, be on duty. Be professional, friendly and helpful always. And don’t forget to smile.
3) RESEARCH & CONNECT
a) Discover market trends, innovations, etc.
What is happening on the market today? What’s new and what is attracting attention from the crowd. Go see the booths where a lot of people are hanging around or a lot of people are talking about.
b) Meet thought leaders, potential partners, others.
At these events there are usually keynote speakers and special seminars on the side. These are the industry leaders and you have the opportunity to meet them and exchange ideas and possible partner up with them. Take these opportunities and plan time for them. Meet with potential business partners distributors or re-sellers. This is the place where everyone in the industry gathers and meets.
c) Scout competitors.
Go check out their booth. See who is visiting them and how many people are there. Talk to them about the market and business in general. At these events it is usually easier to talk to them and share information.
These are just the 9 main reasons I use to show what a powerful marketing tool trade shows are. Besides showcasing to new clients, the live marketing side is very powerful and effective. With the right plan and strategies, you can do face to face market research where you are in control of the situation and you get to ask all those questions that keep you up all night.
Next time I will discuss the pre-show strategies and how to set the right goals and objectives.