WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL EVENT? 6 tips to boost your expo experience
Trade shows and expos are an investment. All elements of being an exhibitor will cost you; the booth space, man hours, booth display and swag. You put all this time and money into being there and standing out so that you can walk away at the end of the day with a bucket-load of new leads, opportunities and sales. Is that all there is to a successful event?
Maybe it’s a little more involved than ticking all the boxes and waiting for all the right people to give you their business. The amount of planning and preparation that goes into exhibiting at a trade show will determine your success. Below are six tips to give your tradeshow experience a boost.
1.Manage your calendar
Expo dates can be known months and even years in advance. There’s no reason for an event to sneak up on you. When you know your events calendar you can plan ahead and get everything you need ready. You can get a well trafficked spot, the right staff available and the exact promotional products you want without the stress of a tight deadline.
Also, when you know what you’re doing when, you can plan your product launches, rebrands and special promotions to coincide with your attendance at a trade show. The excitement you feel for something new happening in your business will affect the people around you. They’ll get excited too!
2.Organise your people
You want your best people with you when you’re exhibiting. The sales personnel who draw people to them, who build rapport easily and aren’t afraid to ask for the sale will get the most out of your expo attendance. You’re a team, work together and play to each other’s strengths. If you have a specialist with you, pass the specialist questions to them and get your ‘crowd-pleaser’ to draw in the leads, while your executive takes pre-booked appointments.
You can keep your team on the same page by briefing before the show opens and debriefing at the end of each day. It’s good to discuss the team’s expectations and strategy to keep efforts in sync. Then talk about your wins and losses so you can gauge your success later on.
3.Look the part
We’re not talking about the sales team here, although appropriate apparel and uniforms are important. Booth design is big business now. Gone are the days when a picnic table and a marquee was all you needed to draw a crowd. Today’s booths can be a mix of a coffee shop, office space and shop-front.
The consensus among the experts is that your expo space should encourage your visitors to linger. Keep them comfortable and engaged while they’re waiting to speak to one of the team. It could be treats and a comfy couch or a product demo and multi-media. Having an inviting and engaging booth will absolutely contribute to a successful event.
4.Get creative merchandise
The swag is a big draw for those attending trade shows. Samples and catalogues are great, but so are the things they can use right away. Things like notepads, pens and shirts are a sensible start. However, there are so many options out there that can be tailored to your business or the specific event to extend your reach and help you stand out from the other exhibitors.
Think about the people you want to remember you. What do they need? What do they use every day that could have your information on it? Do they share a common problem that you could solve with one piece of branded merchandise? It’s possible, just get creative.
5.Take the right details
In order to capture the great leads, you need to get the right information. Not just contact details – anyone can give or take a business card. You want to know the problem your leads are tackling, the best time to call them, their current solution/your competition. These details will help you to follow up effectively, with answers ready for their further questions.
Take notes. After a day or two, or three, of talking to prospective customers, all day, it will be difficult to remember who said what. If you make a physical or digital note, you’ll be able to put the conversation to the name.
Contact your leads within 48 hours of the end of the show. If you can’t get to all the names yourself, that’s great! But delegate. Follow up your leads using your detailed notes. You may remember them, but they may not remember you and vice versa. Mention a key point you discussed to help remind them. People like to be remembered too. Knowing you paid attention during the conversation you shared will help build that rapport and endear yourself to your new client.
You and your company invest time, effort and budget into attending trade shows and expos. It’s easy to feel lost in the crowds once you get there, however you can make it incredibly rewarding. By incorporating the six points mentioned above to your expo preparations, you’ll guarantee a successful event.