What is The Meaning of Life?
By Steven Powell
Like almost everything in business and marketing, if you’ve chosen to exhibit at a trade show or Expo it’s critical that you clearly define what you hope to achieve. Sometimes it’s important to attend a trade show just to support an organization, but most exhibitors have very distinct goals for their investment of time and money.
The following questions will help crystallize your sales message, focus everybody’s efforts and contribute to a happier and more successful trade show event.
Set clear goals for your show
Are you looking to pick up leads, grow your mailing list, market to the other exhibitors or just widen your exposure? Have everyone that will be working in the booth aware of these goals and how you are going to achieve them.
We Want Leads!
What constitutes a hot lead? How many leads does it take to make a sale? What is a sale actually worth to your company? If you know that a sale is worth an average of $5,000 in profit and it typically takes 10 leads to get a sale then you can manage expectations and R.O.I. accordingly.
Determine Your Budget Early
The budget should be a factor of your expected return on investment. Based on the above example, just one sale (or 10 leads) might be more than enough to justify the involved expenses. But don’t forget to factor in the cost of personnel and travel along with the exhibitor’s fee and the cost of your booth and materials.
What other factors should we consider?
Don’t discount exposure. Many times it’s of great value to just be there and have people remember who you are. It is very difficult to quantify exposure. Look at your sales based on a long-term investment. People see you and remember you. Hopefully, someday they will come back and purchase your service or product. If this is an important factor then it’s critical that you make sure that you do something that will stand out so they will remember who you are above all the rest of the exhibitors.
What resources will we need for the show?
Physical necessities: Not only do you need the booth space but what about power, furniture rentals, and other materials that you do not own?
Booth Exhibit: Don’t have one? Can you get by with just a table and a banner?
Manpower: It’s vital that you have enough people to be in your booth. Imagine that you’re mobbed and you can’t get to the really hot prospect before they leave. And don’t forget that the other exhibitors are all prospects as well. Will you be able to visit them at their booths?
Collateral Material: What brochures, catalogs, sale sheets and other printed materials will you need? What will people think of your ‘stuff’? Are home made cards and flyers good enough to create that first impression?
Promotional Merchandise: Most exhibitors will be giving away some little promotional item in hopes that people will remember them by it. What typically happens is that attendees walk the aisles and if you have a cool item they will pick one (or more) of them up. Have you gotten your message across or just given away your money? If you’ve chosen your giveaway wisely, then the answer may be, “Absolutely!”
Who is it that you want to attract to your booth?
Hopefully, there will be lots of people attending the show, but which of them do you really want to meet? Identify your market and target your message and techniques directly at them. First and foremost, you need to know your best shots at success.
What will attract guests to Your booth?
If you send an invitation, what is going to make it stand out from all the other invitations they get and how will they remember to come to your booth? If they are general attendees, what are you doing to get them to stop at your booth, and more importantly listen to your message.
How are we going to get peoples’ contact information?
Okay, so you did everything right and they have heard your message. Now, how are you going to get their information? After the show they probably won’t remember you. You are going to have to call them and remind them of who you are and that they can’t live without your company.
How are we going to follow up on the leads?
You and everyone else will be calling to follow up and try to make those sales. How will you get past their voicemail and get these people to accept your calls after the show?
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