Making the Most of Trade Shows

exhibition stand

I often meet companies who are disillusioned with exhibiting at trade shows due to the poor results they’ve generated.

Trade shows are a great way of meeting potential customers and connecting with existing clients. However how you prepare and follow up is key to making a return on your investment, so here are my top 7 points for successful trade shows.

Tip 1: Do your homework

Before signing up for a show, make sure it is the right place for your to meet new and existing customers. As the organisers for a list of companies and job titles who have attended previous events and any who have already signed up for the one you are considering. Where possible, talk to other previous exhibitors to understand how the event went, the types of attendees and how the event was organised.

Tip 2: Your position matters

Choose your stand’s position carefully. Check the layout plans for meeting areas, toilets, columns etc and try to predict delegate flow patterns to ensure maximum exposure to your stand.

Tip 3: Plan ahead

Best results are achieved from planning early, to give yourself the best timescales to decide messaging, prepare the exhibition stand, arrange meetings etc. Leaving it to the last few days before will not yield the same results! Agree what ‘success’ means (see Tip 7).

Tip 4 : Give the right messages

Decide what your key message will be at the show. This might be the launch of a new product/service or clearly promoting the benefits of what you do. These messages should resonate through all your preparation, event itself and post event follow-up.

Tip 5: Arrange meetings BEFORE the event

The shows that have been most successful for clients have been those where meetings with visitors / attendees have been arranged before the show. Tell prospects and clients you are going via email, social media and your website and call them if appropriate. When events have a meeting arranger facility, use it! And make sure you always have someone manning the stand even when meetings are taking place.

Tip 6: Follow up 

Carefully note who you’ve spoken to, promises made regarding information to be sent and calls to be made. Review all leads after the show and follow-up within a few days. For events taking place over several days, try to review and action follow-ups each day.

Tip 7: Monitor success

Know what success looks like and monitor it. before the event. For example, 6 conversations resulting in demos being arranged with qualified prospects is probably more valuable than 200 business cards of unknown/unqualified attendees.  Decide the criteria for a good lead, qualified enquiry, hot prospect etc.

Add everyone you meet into your customer relationship management system (CRM) . Add the event as the ‘source’ of new leads. Document the event as an ‘infleuncer’ for existing contacts. Monitor your leads to see how many turn into sales and repeat sales!

For help planning your next trade show or exhibition to ensure maximum return on investment, please contact Hannah Sookias 01283 808460 | hello@sookiasmedia.com.

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