Trade shows are about networking. Period.
Trade show booths are sold with the expressed purpose of:
- Meeting prospects
- Generating leads and
- Building business relationships.
- Man the booth at all times
- Promote the company’s products and services.
With the demand by upper management to reduce costs and show better ROI at trade shows, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get the extra staff you may think you need to make your booth effective.
Below are some creative ways you can extend your reach to your prospects without breaking the bank.
- Stop with the marketing collateral and promotional giveaways. Yes, you still need business cards, but the rest can go! No more pens, stress balls, or goofy keychains! Instead spend your marketing dollars to rent iPads, Tablet PCs, Laptops, and/or Touch Panel Kiosks. Not only is this a way to show you are green, but these devices can be running video, photos, and other great applications during your talk with the prospect or while you are busy with another individual. In addition, if you are going to spend money on something, make your one prize spectacular…something even you would want to win!
- Instead of adding more staff, add technology. Computer kiosks don’t need to be trained, put up in a hotel, or take meal breaks. In addition to video, photos, and social media feeds, kiosks are perfect for running “take a quiz about (whatever your service is)” and answering frequently asked questions. You can even let people record their own video or take photos of themselves. iPads can also be used as portable kiosks. These can keep people busy while you are conversing with other folks.
- Let the conversation end naturally. Trade show booth exhibitors are notorious for doing a core dump on their product, asking a few qualifying questions, and then trying to shoo you out of their booth because the next BIG lead might getting away! Be honest, is this you? If so, nothing puts off planners more than feeling like what they are saying isn’t worth your time. Let technology keep the others busy. Take a few deep breaths and REALLY LISTEN to what your prospect is saying. If it is a fit, you will know and so will they. Stop trying to be a car salesman and start being a valued thought leader. Ask great qualifying questions and take notes on your iPad.
- Ask the exhibit manager to set ground rules. There is a time to get to know the other vendors at the trade show and there is a time to be networking with your prospects. The time to network with the other booth sales persons is before and after the show. Ask the exhibit manager to make certain everyone knows to stay in their respective booths while the show is on and then ask the manager to enforce that policy.