TRADE SHOW PLANNING: 7 TIPS FOR THE NEW YEAR
It is a brand new year which means you have a fresh start to get the most out of your trade show and exhibiting experiences. No need to make endless trade show program resolutions; here are seven tips that will make your exhibiting events go more smoothly.
Evaluate Last Year’s Events
If you didn’t do this after each show last year, ask yourself how last year’s trade shows and events panned out. Did you meet the right folks? Was the market a good fit? Did you gain qualified leads? How was your ROI? If it was all good, you may want to attend the same shows again. If not, there might be shows that are a better fit. Do some tweaking!
Research New Trade Show and Event Options
Do some internal research on leads your sales people are encountering that are a good fit and are turning from prospects to customers. Is there a noticeable trend? Are there vertical markets that you have not tried yet that would be a good fit for your products and services? Do some external research to see if there are shows specifically for folks who match that customer profile and see if there are shows for those specific markets. Be willing to try at least one new venue each year.
Create a Master Show Schedule Early
Select shows early and get dates on the calendar. Share dates with all relevant parties. Internal staff, sales people that are expected to attend, management, marketing and support people. You want to be sure there is adequate coverage at the show and in the office during these times. Putting together the calendar early and sharing info allows management to resolve vacation and staffing issues proactively. Marketing needs to be aware of show dates to properly execute pre-show print and social media promotion too! Communication is key!
Scheduling is also an integral factor to ensure adequate travel time for exhibits in between shows. If show dates overlap, you may need to rent or purchase additional trade show displays or consider shows that do not overlap. You need to know of possible conflicts as early as possible so create that schedule ASAP!
Determine & Clearly Articulate Show Goals
Is this the year you will have several new product launches? Is management’s goal to focus on building client relationships? Are you looking for new business from existing clients or hunting for brand new business? Whichever direction you choose, be sure all involved are aware, on the same page, and understand the strategies that you will be using to achieve the goals you set.
Train Your Booth Staff
Decide how your booth staffers will engage with prospects. Training obviously needs to tie into your show goals and strategies, but once you’re at the show and in the booth people need to know what this looks like in action. Will you greet customers with giveaways and gimmicks or open ended questions? Booth staffers become your company and first impressions count. Discuss dress expectations, conduct, eating rules and talking points in addition to any and every promotion you are running; this way, your staff is knowledgeable and are able to put their best foot forward in reflecting your company. Expectations can be communicated via emails, however, based on experience of the staff and goals for the year, a formal booth staff training event may be in order.
Physically Evaluate Your Trade Show Exhibit and Display
If you have used your exhibit, even at just one show, you need to take a look at it each time it returns. Check for damage, missing components and wear and tear on graphics. Also, evaluate your signage and graphics for message content. Do the graphics from the last show speak to the audience of the next show? Evaluate early to provide adequate production time should new messages and maintenance need to occur. Maybe you need a new exhibit for certain shows on your calendar.
Ensure Clear Lead Retrieval and Follow Up
Names and contact information of the prospects you meet at the show is your pay day – don’t lose your pay check. Be sure you have a plan. Will you collect business cards? Not everyone has one of those in this digital age! Investigate the lead retrieval process made available at each show, perhaps this will be most convenient for you. Have computers, tablets, and smartphones? Perhaps you can use a lead retrieval app. Notice it is not just about gathering leads. Once you have them you need to DO something with them. What is your post show follow up plan? Will each lead be emailed? Called? Sent a follow-up packet? Do you have a sales staff prepared to make in person sales visits? Whatever the method, do not wait until after the show to decide what is happening. Prepare emails, packets, sales scripts prior to the show so that after the show you can hit the ground running and contact the prospects while you are still on their mind.
Are you an old pro at exhibiting but want some help making this exhibit season the best year ever? We can help. Talk with Mark Bric Display’s expert designers about your needs and we can see if we can add to your existing program or can provide an all new exhibit. We also offer at-show and post-show services that make set-up and storage easier than ever.
New to the trade show game and don’t have an exhibit and are not sure where to even begin? Take a look at www.ISOframeExhibits.com to see what types of exhibits are readily available to you. Mark Bric would love to be of service and share our trade show exhibit knowledge with you. We can assist with more than just your display. Our experienced designers are very good at helping assess your needs and will add elements to your exhibits that complement your desired goals and objectives. We offer free, full color, 3-d renderings, no obligation quotes and set-up and storage services that can make your entry into trade show exhibiting seamless and simple. Click here today to get started or call 800-742-6275 and our stellar customer service representatives will point you in the right direction.