Follow Up with Trade Show Leads

- Monday, February 27, 2012

You have made the commitment to attend trade shows. You have hired and paid the staff, expensed the travel and in some cases lodging, you have purchased the uniforms and you have a captivating trade show display. Because of it all, you have gotten some great leads. Now you have to follow-up on those qualified leads. This is the challenge.

Trade show lead follow-up has long been a problem. Why go through the effort and expense of exhibiting at a show with no follow-up plans in place. This is such a waste of precious marketing dollars.  However, it is done all the time by companies who must think that this activity is just not that important.

Lead Follow-up Problem Overall

Here is a breakdown of companies overall approach to leads, not just trade show leads.  One statistic shows that the majority of leads are never follow-up.

Does Your Company Qualify Leads for Sales?

  • 58% No
  • 42% Yes

How to “fix” this problem?

The root of the problem is “accountability.”  Senior management needs to require this information from their staff.  When there is a mandate from senior management, performance measures are normally in place to gauge progress.

Forward thinking exhibition managers tackle this issue with excellent results.  Sometimes they have tied it into calculating a return of trade show performance or they just want to streamline their internal marketing/sales processes.
Getting A Sales Person Involved

Have a key sales person in the planning process of the lead qualification form that you will use at the trade show.  Having their fingerprints all over the thinking process and the lead scoring parameters ensures they are more willing to follow-up.  This sales person can communicate to his/her peers the measures which are in place, so the teams knows their time is not being wasted with all of the non-leads.

Business 2 Community

Use Trade Shows to Find New Business

- Thursday, February 23, 2012

Trade shows allow businesses a setting in to find new business leads, new clients and to attend to existing customers. In theory, trade shows provide one-stop-shopping with hundreds of potential clients under one roof. Seems like the perfect opportunity right?
Face to face contact with companies is a more efficient approach than calling or emailing prospective clients.   

The reality is very different.  The scale of many events and exhibitions can quickly overwhelm those very clients you are trying to attract. The right trade show exhibit can help. Exhibitors attend shows to reach sales targets, your trade show display needs to attract people to your booth so you don’t have to go looking for them.

Trade shows are great opportunities to network, build relationships with customers, and invite prospects to explore your goods or services. Try to plan your space and use your location to your advantage. But most importantly, promote yourself before the trade show. Let  your potential and existing customers know where you are going to be and offer them a show special.

For assistance in creating the perfect trade show booth, contact The Exhibit Source.

Increase Trade Show Success

- Friday, February 17, 2012

The first thing that comes to the mind of many small and medium small business owners when thinking trade shows is “expensive”.
That doesn't mean that trade shows can't deliver a great return on investment. The key to trade show success is how hard you are willing to work.

Many businesses are willing to spend big bucks travelling to and from and exhibiting at trade shows, with little other than a hope of traffic, orders and success. They certainly book appointments, but do they pull out all the stops?

A successful trade show can be measured in less quantifiable ways than orders written on site, such as new leads, enhanced customer relationships, brand building, product demoing, and sales training.

However, as well as these successes, it never hurts to get a show to pay for itself. Here are some ideas:

1. Contact your existing customers with a personalized message asking if they will be attending the show and requesting a formal appointment time. A call to action needs repetition from several methods to be most effective.

2. Contact the trade show association or organization and request a pre-registered buyer’s list for the upcoming show. Then, repeat the first suggestion about contacting customers with an introduction to your key product or service and how it can help run or grow their company. Request a formal appointment time.

3. Offer a free gift with a high retail value that can be acquired by you factory-direct at cost as a reward for showing up on time for a pre-booked appointment.

4. Overcome objections like; “I’m not booking appointments but I’ll stop by” with simple logic: “With all of our key staff on site and best products on display, we don’t want to run the chance of not being able to speak to you when you drop by. An appointment will guarantee you get our undivided attention.”

5. Use an online calendar to make sure no one gets double-booked and independent sales reps, if you have them, can see your availability in real time.

6. Advertise in a daily show magazine if there is one published on site. This is as captive an audience as you are going to get and the most likely chance that a print ad will translate into immediate action.

7. Offer show only specials.

8. Offer a daily prize in exchange for business cards dropped at your booth.

9. Rent the bar code scanner that some trade shows offer so you can scan the badges of buyers at your booth to ensure you get the most up to-date customer data. That’s your key to post show follow-up.

10. Deliver annual awards for “dealer of the year” or “distributor of the year” so that lesser-performing customers have something to aspire to.

11. Capitalize on celebrity endorsers, if you have them. Have them come for a picture and autograph signing or a meet-and-greet to draw attention and reward clients.

If this all sounds expensive, it is likely a still a fraction of what you are paying for floor space, flights and accommodations. A lot of it requires sweat equity more than dollars.

Using these ideas will allow you to book a couple hundred or more meetings over a four day show.  That kind of result practically guarantees the show’s success and return on investment.
An “if we build it, they will come” attitude is no more likely to work at a trade show than it is with a business idea. Exhaust your opportunities to confirm success before you get there.

Original article – The Globe and Mail

The Right Trade Show Booth Will Build Brand and Business

- Monday, February 06, 2012

A 10x10 trade show booth is not the biggest booth, but there’s no need for small businesses to go overboard. This size booth gets your name in front of clients and helps build brand.

With delegate appointments set in advance for the booth location, it’s a much more effective way to meet people.

That’s a solid trade show exhibit strategy, especially for a smaller company. Nothing replaces the “face-to-face” contact opportunity that a trade show offers.

In fact, an increase in trade show participation is expected this year by small businesses, an expectation based in part on the amount of planning and preparation work done during the fall.

Trade show participation needn’t be a budget breaker. No one is going overboard and spending $1 million on a booth. It’s possible to outfit a 10x10 trade show booth for under $2000.

That doesn’t include the space rental fee a trade show charges, but it is low enough to make exhibiting a real possibility. For example, roll-up banners — single-sided, lightweight retractable units that can fit into overhead carry-on bins — can cost less than you think.

Further, the same banner that helps your booth stand out as delegates roam the trade show floor can be used to add appeal to the podium when you give a speech at the general session — or back home at the Rotary Club — or as part of a welcoming display when important clients or prospects visit the office.

A power point or some other type of video will be useful when you talk to prospects at your booth — and will cost additional dollars. But you likely can do a decent power point in-house.

Renting a display booth is another generally low-cost option. So is sharing a booth with sister companies or noncompeting like-minded businesses.

Original article – The Daily Herald


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