Over the past month I have had the pleasure of offering several workshops on trade show marketing and strategies for success with Judy Fairbanks, VP of Sales & Marketing for Skyline New York and, Rob Fishman, Partner of Sandler Sales Training Institute. Events events were held at Skyline New York’s modern facility in Hauppauge, New York.
My firm Corbett Public Relations has promoted many trade shows and we have assisted many clients who use trade shows to market their products and services. The sessions that I am giving with Judy and Rob continue to help me find new strategies and look at the overall trade show experience from different perspectives. It remains clear that exhibitors of any company need help in being more successful and securing ROI from trade show appearances.
There are many benefits of being involved in trade shows. Shows allow businesses to be directly in front of people, demonstrate products and services and start relationships. We are in a day an age where online communication is dominant, it’s great to see people face to face and have real interactions. This also means getting out from behind the desk to promote and selling a product or service. Selling and promoting effectively takes skill, planning and a system.
The following are five quick strategies that must be part of successful trade show appearances:
- Plan- To be successful in any marketing effort you need to plan. Start by working the calendar backwards. Set dates for materials to be ready, for publicity efforts and creating campaigns to invite prospects to your booth. Remember 60 percent of people who attend trade shows go on a mission to see you specifically or to look for a specific product or service. Don’t forget to contact the show producer, they want to help you promote your appearance and be successful.
- Promote Appearance– Create your online trade show promotions and use social media. List your trade show appearances on your website, create a Facebook event page, create a special Twitter account or hashtag and certainly create your media kit with a press release. Alert the media and the show producer if you have new products or services that you will be introducing at the show.
- Training– Educate and train all booth/exhibit workers. Start this process early and make sure everyone knows what they need to know about the products and services offered. Have them practice their elevator pitch but most importantly help them create questions to assist them to start conversations. Remember it is as important to listen and ask questions, as it is to talk about the benefits of your products and services. Hard selling will never get you leads, but conversations and solving problems will.
- Exhibits and Booth– Take the advice of the professionals like those at Skyline New York. Create open and inviting booths that do not overload show attendees with too much information. Create a booth that is open, inviting, branded clearly and interesting.
- Next Steps and Following Up- Did you know that 80 percent of leads that are received at a trade show never receive a follow up? This is a tremendous loss of money and time. In order to be successful, take the time to create a clear system for qualifying leads and procedures for following up. As Judy Fairbanks says “the real trade show starts when the breakdown of the booth starts.” Set up your system and even block off a day or two for specific follow up after the show. Quick follow up is essential.
These are just a few basic strategies to think about for enhancing trade show success. The workshops we are offering at Skyline New York hit on these topics and many others.
For Additional Trade Show Tips from Skyline: