Trade Shows: How to use them effectively
By Rhian Davies 25-04-2017
Trade shows can be an interesting and fun way to meet and “network” with attendees in the hope of generating new leads. The premise is pretty straight forward; you set up a stand, put your best people out front and actively sell the living hell out of your business. But is this form of industry marketing the best use of a company’s money?
Many would argue not. Reasons such as time effectiveness, cost and high competition make trade shows a risky use of resources. Others have called them glorified beauty competitions. But in preparation for Papa Bravo’s attendance at Medica trade fair this November, we’ve compiled some useful tips on how to make them work for you (and us)!
Beforehand – The calm before the storm.
Trade shows can be expensive. So making sure you choose the right one to exhibit at is key:
- Looking at where your competitors are exhibiting is a great indicator of which shows are worth attending. If they’re investing in the show, then you probably should be too. It can also give you a great opportunity to send scouts out to spy on their stand and see what they’re doing and how well they’re performing.
- Scrutinising the attendee list is also a great idea. When you initially look into the trade show, request a list of attendees already confirmed to attend. Hopefully, you’ll see some names you recognise and wish to pursue, but this isn’t always the case. Looking beforehand will make sure you’re not wasting your time.
- Knowing who you want to target before you go means you can draw up a plan of action. When you reach out to a potential lead at a trade show, it is likely that your competition will be after them as well. Knowing who will be there beforehand will prepare you to differentiate yourselves by perhaps doing something special.
During – Sell, Sell, Sell!
- You’ve found the perfect show, forked out a small fortune and set up your stall. Now what?
- Make sure you walk around a little. Your stall acts as a base ground; a central point where you can return and access your progress, but make sure you explore. This is often the way you meet people, rather than hoping they walk past your stand.
- If they can be spared, bring a few people that can man the stand. While you’re busy chasing down the big dogs, they can do general stall maintenance and deal with the time wasters.
- Try and think of fun and creative ways to sell your company! A stall is useless unless you present an engaging, enthusiastic pitch that presents the solution to a specific customer need — without overcrowding your stall with merchandise, however.
Keep a quick presentation or video on a tablet and keep the tablet with you at all times. This way you can effectively demonstrate your business succinctly even if you are away from your stall.
You’ve returned from the Trade shows and you’re ready to see your profits sky rocket thanks to the investment you’ve put in.
- Follow up and evaluate. A 2010 study concluded that fewer than 70 percent of exhibitors have any formalized plan or process in place for how leads are followed up after the show. You’ll return from your show with lots of positive energy and expect the phone to be ringing off the hook. ROI can be measured in a number of ways. Qualified leads, sales, traffic at your booth, follow up sales, etc. But ultimately there can be difficulties with tracking direct ROI from trade shows unless a major campaign is gained from the experience.
A good idea post-trade show may be fire a ton of emails at the people you’ve met so you stay fresh in our mind. Keep the conversation going but don’t overwhelm them with material and turn them odd.
This November, Papa Bravo will be attending the Medica trade fair in Dusseldorf and plans to use all the skills listed. Get in contact with us via our social media pipes to let us know whether you’ll be there too!