Ever wondered why the excitement you get at the show doesn’t convert into sales?
Exhibitions are not simply about being there and putting on a great show (although this is a big part of it). You also need to give people a reason to be there and to care once they leave. Your stand and offer have to make people sit up and listen, but also remember you.
Yes, shows provide valuable brand awareness, but to make sales and grow your business you need to go further than simply turning up. You need to create something memorable.
However, don’t worry that this means loud and lavish. All it actually means is delivering a message or offer that really resonates with people creatively.
The usual pitfalls
Everyone there will have a stand and a plan. So why does it work for some and not for others?
Well, there are some quite simple, but easily avoidable, things that many people tend to forget when exhibiting. These are the things that help fill out your plan to ensure it is comprehensive. And once you have these in place, it’s then simply a case of putting your plan into action.
So what are they?
Have a common enemy
- Have an answer to their problem.
- This isn’t about competitors.
- It’s about understanding the challenges they face and showing that you can help them solve them.
- With some creativity, you can build a story or message that responds directly to these challenges.
- Anyone can claim anything, so you need to back up what you say.
- If you’re saying you solve their problem, show them how.
- Try and be creative with it. A demo is fine, but you can be more memorable if you try.
Keep it simple
- Your message needs to tell people all this quickly and simply.
- Don’t over complicate things; you only have seconds to make an impression.
- Also, make your offer equally as simple to take up, it will make them more likely to get involved.
Qualify and develop lead streams
- Once you have their interest, you must ask the right questions.
- If your message is right people will show interest, now you need to identify the right ones.
- Not everyone can buy your product, so find out about them and have a set criteria for qualifying each prospect.
- That doesn’t mean discard the ones who don’t qualify, as they might have other benefits like access to key people or will be the people you need to speak to in the future.
- So you need to have different lead streams so that you can market to them appropriately.
- They say knowledge is power; they’re not wrong.
- No information is bad information if used properly.
- So you’re going to need a way to capture your leads details.
- Too often this is an afterthought, or people underestimate what they will need.
- A pen and paper is enough, if you’re asking the right questions and writing clearly for all to read, but is everyone?
- Modern technology offers a lot of very simple to use alternatives that can make this so simple.
- You’ll also be able to integrate this tech with your other system to make data retrieval simple, which is vital when following up on these leads.
- Following up on every single lead is important, as is a number of times you do it.
- Don’t be put off if people don’t buy on the first contact. First contact is still contact, if they’re talking to you, that’s a great start.
- It’s about building relationships, and often it can take time before these turn into anything, so be patient and persevere.
- Follow means in all forms, not simply by phone. So find them on social networks and become part of their community.
- This doesn’t mean harass them; it means to join the conversation, be someone whose opinion they come to value.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it is a key one. There’s always more you could be doing, but if you nail down the basics, you’ll find your exhibitions leads a lot easier to quantify. The challenge is ensuring you don’t waste any opportunity to connect with possible leads. And by showing your leads how you can benefit them and then by reinforcing this after the show you will begin to build trust in your brand.