There are two types of Trade Show veterans — winners and whiners. Both are adamant in their positions. Winners see shows as a bastion of opportunity while the whiners see them as dull, boring and a waste of resources.
Does one group know something the other doesn’t? Does one have an edge over the other? You bet!
Both groups have the same opportunity presented to them. Trade shows are an equal opportunity media. Everyone starts from the same position. The difference is in the planning.
Four key elements of the planning process make the difference. These constitute the line between winning and whining.
- Setting objectives. Each successful venture has an objective. Too many exhibitors go to shows without giving any real thought about what they want to accomplish. They express goals and objectives in such vague terminology as “selling stuff”, “showing something” or “seeing people”. Winners go to events prepared with definite objectives. They are specific, measurable, and time sensitive. Example: We want to identify 100 new prospects that we can turn into buyers within the next 90 days.
- Pre-show promotion. Many exhibitors believe that show managers and promoters are responsible for booth traffic. This is not true! Show management’s promotional efforts stop at the front door. It is up to the exhibitor to draw traffic to a particular exhibit. Winners seize the opportunity to create expectations in the minds of visitors. Research shows that only 25% of exhibitors have a pre-show promotional plan. However, they enjoy 60 to 70 percent more booth traffic than the average exhibit.
- Staff training. 85 % of the success of any trade show is dependent on the actions of the staff. There is no other factor more critical to your success than your staff. Winners select staff that understand show objectives and are able to communicate them to the audience. The top field sales person may not be the right person to have in your booth. Winners train their staff in the art of trade show floor selling. A structured formal training is best. The “just watch one of the veterans” can be a losing proposition. Who taught the old timer?
- Following leads is the most critical aspect of any effort. Believe it or not — 75% of all tradeshow leads are never worked! Winners have a plan to follow leads before they go to an event. They make sure all leads have a common form for easy entry to a database. They categorize leads and have a different response for each category. They assign responsibility for the follow-up effort.
difference between a successful effort and a poor one are basic.
- Set objectives.
- Have a Pre-show promotional plan.
- Train staff
- Follow leads.
Whiners are soon forgotten! Everyone remembers a winner! riority5