Cashing in from exhibiting at a trade show is no easy task. Sure, attractive booth attendants and free chocolate help, but ensuring you get a worthy ROI requires lots of planning, effort and capital investment. Emply these 5 tactics to make sure your next trip to NY NOW, AGENDA, or 100s of other trade shows is a profitable one.
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Do Your Research Before Attending
Not all trade shows are created equally. Different shows attract different types of customers with varied buying habits. Prior to committing to exhibiting at a trade show do your homework to make sure it’s the right show for you. For example, if you are home goods company would you rather exhibit at an apparel and lifestyle show like Agenda that attracts retailers that may sell home goods, or would you rather exhibit at a furniture show that is focused on the trade. The answer isn’t so simple. You have to ask yourself what your sales and growth strategies are and which trade shows compliment your brand and those strategies (e.g. which trade shows put you in front of your target customers).
Make Your Trade Show Booth Approachable – Put Your Phone Away Already!
So you’ve made the commitment; thousands of dollars have been spent and you have an incredible looking booth to spend the next three days in. Now you need to do your best to make your trade show booth as approachable as possible. This means avoid huddling in groups and never keep your back towards the booth entrance. Every interaction counts and you never know when the next big box retail buyer will walk by your booth. As a small business owner or an executive of a mid-size firm I am sure your phone is constantly ringing with important calls and messages. Try setting up a mobile app like Answer Connect Mobile so you can avoid the urge to look at your phone every time someone calls or sends you a message.
Your Time To Shine – Become THE Subject Expert For New and Existing Customers
Trade show attendees visit the shows to find new vendors, suppliers and product experts. Make sure to know the ins and outs of the product or service you are exhibiting and practice your discovery and presentation processes ahead of going live at the trade show. Presenting yourself as an expert makes you a valuable resource for your customers. Now that you have them as a captive audience provide useful content, gather feedback and build their trust in you as the expert.
Leverage Social Media To Increase Booth Traffic
Attracting people to your booth that you have never met can be challenging. With hundreds of other vendors fighting for the attention of attendees, how do you stand out? Social media is a great tool to help attract buyers and visitors to your booth. Use your social media to engage and reach out to attendees of the show. See who is checking in on Facebook and Four Square and see who is posting comments on Twitter or Instagram. Social media tools like HootSuite are great for automating tweets and posts while you are focused on working with booth visitors and greeting customers and prospects.
Arrange Your Financing Ahead Of Time
You did a great job planning for the show, increased new customers, and strengthened relationships with existing customers. Now what? Trade show strategies don’t end there. Are you prepared to service your new big box retail clients? Meeting with a financial institution prior to a trade show can help you understand your credit limits and transactional requirements in order to qualify for various types of funding. Speaking with your Factoring Company (if you are in the wholesale markets) or your investors if you are a startup will help you feel confident saying yes to those large orders being placed at the show.