There are four common omissions, mistakes or if you like, mental blocks, that can stop you from achieving excellent sales results when you exhibit at a trade show.
Each can be overcome easily if you make the time to do so.
Block to success 1: Not using shows to win sales with key client targets
If your business is new or relatively new, please don’t make this mistake.
Don’t exhibit at a show without doing some pre-marketing work with key client targets. If you miss this opportunity you are shooting your business in the foot. Big style.
One of the biggest problems many businesses have these days is actually being able to get in front of buyers. They are busy people with huge pressure on their time.
The good news is that a stand at a trade show removes that problem in an instant. Buyers flock to trade shows.
That’s why it’s so important to invite people from the companies that you most like to be doing business with to come and see you at the show.
They just might take you up on your offer.
Reach the people that can transform your sales
When it comes to exhibiting, my mantra is, leads are great but sales are better. Much better. And depending on who you sell to, they can be much, much better. Quantum leaps better in fact.
We all know that small value sales usually take as much time or more as making sales 10 x as big. But if you don’t try to engineer meetings with the businesses that can provide sales on that scale, then they are probably not going to happen.
You will already know either the names of the businesses that could deliver this leap or, you’ll know the type of businesses that could make this happen for you.
Get some list building done and get invitations to visit you at the show out to your top prospects.
Block to success 2: Not working with your show organiser
Talk to the organiser of your show and tell them, well in advance, who it is you want to attend. Tell them about the companies that will make your participation worthwhile.
Next, ask if your event organiser allows access to the full attendee list in advance?
Many can provide you with the job title and company names of visitors to the last event. This is usually enough for a sales team. They can research the list, find contacts and set up some meetings.
There are other ways that you can extend the value of your event spend by working your friendly Org.
- Provide a speaker for the conference or seminar programme or both
- Contribute content that can be accessed by visitors pre-show. Generally, you upload this into the Exhibitor area of the show website
- Provide an entry for the New Product Showcase or any other similar area within the event
- Get creative. What about offering to interview the Show Director about new things to see at the event this year. Release this across your social channels. If good, the organiser will release it too across their social and bingo; big coverage achieved…
Block to success 3: Not investing enough time in your staff
When it comes to staffing a show stand I’m reminded of the “You are only as good as” wise sayings.
In this case, your sales results will in the main only be as good as the people working your stand allow them to be.
There is, of course, that other saying about mushrooms and keeping them in the dark….
Do you ever wonder why some stand staff are so surly or disinterested? I do.
I’m guessing the reason is not that they are naturally made that way. It’s probably more to do with being treated like mushrooms in the lead-up to the event.
They’ve been kept in the dark. They’ve been fed crap information (sometimes very little or no information). It’s no wonder that they don’t want to be there.
Now the scary part if you are the owner of the business. The return on many thousands of £££’s invested in stand spend is resting on their attitude towards visitors. On top of that, the fate of the business in terms of new sales that might be generated is also reliant on this happy crew.
Managing Directors, Sales Directors and anyone else responsible for this bad decision making and poor delegation you need to wake-up!
You are not just shooting your business in the foot when you delegate and brief so poorly. You are also making it too easy for competitors to grab business and to do so right under your very nose.
Don’t do it!
Block to success 4: Neglecting the follow-up work
When you exhibit you are competing with your fellow exhibitors for the attention of the people in the aisles.
What’s often overlooked by exhibitors, especially those new to exhibiting is that you are also competing with those same exhibitors straight after the show too.
When visitors are back in their offices your business will be a fast-fading memory. Worse still, if you don’t follow-up quickly your imprint on buyers minds may be erased completely. They may buy from someone else.
Creating your own strategy for following-up during and after a show will increase your chances of closing more sales.
Prepare your follow-up messages and materials in advance. Book time into your diary straight after an event to ensure that follow-up actions are handled.
You have to strike while your business and what you offer is still fresh in the minds of your stand visitors.
Don’t allow these four blocks into your stand and show management system. Take the actions suggested and improve the return on trade show participation for your business.