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One Key Factor to Make or Break your Trade Show ROI

August 4th, 2016

For many, trade shows are a necessary tool for business, whether we like them or not.

The value of a trade show can be a bit of a gamble when it comes to ROI (Return On Investment), and many wonder why, after all the preparation and organizing, they walk away with few leads, and feel that they’ve just given up their entire weekend, or day for a huge waste of time.

If this sounds familiar, you may not be maximizing the one thing that can produce the maximum amount of qualified leads – Your Tradeshow Team.

How your team (or yourself – if your team is a one person show like many) conducts themselves during the event can make or break your whole experience. Sure, it’s easy to blame show attendance… booth location… or even the show producer. But unless you know how your staff manages your booth before, during and afterwards, you will never know the real reason behind a poor ROI. The first step, before anything else, is to assemble your “A” Team.

Selecting your team:

  1. Choose only motivated employees (that WANT to be there) to work your trade show booth – ones with experience if possible. This is your ambassador for your company. Experience matters.
  2. Choose people that are friendly and quick to converse. Even though “Dan” is top of the ladder, if he won’t engage in a friendly manner right off the bat, he may not be a good fit for Trade Shows.
  3. Choose people that can stand – a LOT. It’s a good idea to either take the chairs away entirely, or to create a comfortable seating area – but only for use with interested attendees.
  4. Choose people that can dress for success! By asking them to dress specifically for the event, the attendees will feel more comfortable with them. If it is a business to business event, dress business casual. If it is a local Ag show, then jeans would be appropriate. Rule of thumb: Always dress UP slightly, instead of DOWN.

Top 9 Secrets to Double your Lead Count through your Team* (*Team refers to whoever will be manning your booth regardless if it is you yourself or others):

  1. TELL PEOPLE IN ADVANCE THAT YOU WILL BE AT THE SHOW! Have your team tweet, post and email about their involvement with the show and let everyone know where you will be and when, weeks beforehand. Use the event’s hashtag if they have one, or make one of your own, to gain exposure with people outside of your own followers.
  2. GET OUTSIDE THE BOX: Have your team be seen outside of the exhibiting space. Engaging people as they walk by will result in remarkably higher lead counts.  Many opportunities are missed simply because teams aren’t in the aisle and unable to engage people as they walk by. Simply by asking “What brings you to the show today?” or “Hi, what’s been your favorite part of the show so far?” can start conversations. These questions can’t be answered with a one word response, and will require some thought. Now you’ve opened the door to a qualified lead. The business is there – you just need to be creative to get it.
  3. POST A CLEAR CALL TO ACTION. In other words, develop and display a special show-only promotion that you KNOW your audience will appreciate. Make sure that it is in plain view and the messaging is crystal clear to both your team and attendees. This is the hook to bring people in. Once they’ve created interest for a deal that is hard to walk by, they can be qualified.
  4. PRE-SET APPOINTMENTS: The primary reason we attend Trade Shows is to sell our products and services and what better way to insure the chance to talk to the right people, than to set a specific time to talk to them – right at the show!  By having your team make confirmation calls the day before, they will be setting up their day for success. Be sure to get their cell number so you can reach them during the show.
  5. LETTING THEM GO: There will be many attendees that are not qualified. At this point, we have to let them go so that we can focus on other leads. The easiest way for your team to do that is to say something like “Thanks for stopping by, I hope you have a great rest of the show.”  Your team is now gracefully able to let them move on and engage other attendees.  In this process it is good to bear in mind that they don’t want to hand out any premium giveaways until they know they are qualified. Until then, you can have a bowl of chocolates, or pens available.
  6. NAIL THE PITCH: Usually this goes without saying, but you wouldn’t believe how many booth representatives stutter and stammer over the simplest of questions. They need to practice over and over – and nail it. If you don’t have anyone experienced, mentor them by having them practice their sales pitch, handshake, eye contact and body language. And I don’t mean practice only two or three times. Make them practice it until it hurts. You only get ONE chance to make that first impression – make it count.
  7. FOLLOW UP! Have a solid plan in place for your team to collect leads – and how and when to follow up afterwards. This is very important. Most companies NEVER follow up afterwards, and then complain that they simply didn’t receive any business from the show! One way of collecting leads is by making attendees fill out contact information so that they have a chance to win a premium prize that would be reflective of your business.
  8. EAT OUTSIDE THE SPACE: Tell your team to go outside the booth to eat if they can. If they are the only ones in the booth, then hide the food! Having exhibitors chow down at their booth or show food in general is an automatic turnoff to attendees and they will simply not want to stop to interrupt mealtime.
  9. And lastly, GO OVER CLEAR EXPECTATIONS! Let your team know what is expected of them and outline specific goals and objectives well beforehand. If you are your own team, then outline your own goals and objectives by writing them down or typing them into a document. Once you do this, they become real. Take your sheet with you to the show and keep it in view to remind yourself of these goals and objectives.

Sources:
www.skylinetradeshowtips.com/ and http://learn.infusionsoft.com/

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