Trade Shows: How to Save Time and Make Sales

Every industry has at least one must-attend event each year, from b2b conferences, to industry showcases and trade shows. What makes these events important to your business is the potential to increase both brand awareness and generate lead sales.

Trade show lounge

Exhibiting events are an exciting growth opportunity for any business with as many as 81% of attendees at a trade event having buying authority. By running a successfully engaging stand, you might make a huge difference in future sales for your business. So, how to do you attract these potential buyers?

You do this by avoiding time wasting activities and working your exhibition stand in a smarter way. Here are three ways to maximise your time by making tactful marketing decisions.

Before the show: choosing the right exhibition stand

Your display choices are expansive, from smaller portable pop-ups to big and bold custom built stands. Exhibition stand designers Skyline Whitespace suggest investing in the design of the stand, making sure it highlights the company’s selling points. If your design is effective and helps you convey your message, you can do it without a complicated stand layout full of bells and whistles.

Traditionally exhibition stands have been used to create simple, accessible branded space, relying on staff and products to draw in attendees. But with new innovations in stand design, you can custom create modular stands to do some of the work for you.

For example, custom modular stands can be built with extra shelves, built-in TVs or interactive devices, even using tables to double as storage spaces, along with backgrounds. The modular element makes construction easy. It also makes the stands portable and adaptable – should you want to change the layout for another event or on different days.

Some exhibition stand companies can even ship the stands to your event and construct them for you. Outsourcing this task, which can take a few hours, ticks one part of your marketing plan off the to-do list ahead of time. It will also free up more time for your staff on the day.

During the show: prepare your staff in advance

Surprisingly, only 26% of exhibitors train their staff for events, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) reported. While your event team might be experienced in speaking to customers and clients, that doesn’t mean they’re prepared to do it continuously for a whole day. Additionally, they’ll be representing the brand to competitors and other industry leaders. This requires training.

Make sure that your staff knows the goals your business has. Are you trying to inform? Make sales? Get sign ups? Each of these changes the language and interaction choices of your staff.

You can’t make a personal connection sat behind a long table, you need to go up to attendees. Staff need to have the knowledge and confidence to be able to answer any question, approaching those those with buying authority before they walk away. Overall, they need to be able to ask the right queries to be able to point people towards products they’d be interested in.

Collect data and manage your leads as they come through

Sifting through the leads that you collected during a trade show can be incredibly time-consuming. You can avoid this by being organised at your trade show and finding a way to collect leads in a way that works for you and your team. For example, a badge scanner can collect delegate information for you, or an iPad for sign ups will collate this information for you for easy retrieval afterwards.

Exhibitor Magazine found that in 2010 only 28% of exhibitors tracked their leads, but in 2014 the number had grown to 35%. The Trade Show News Network reported that only 70% of exhibitors has a plan on how to follow up on their tracked leads.

Having a structured idea of how you will collect and process leads will help you have data that is relevant to you and that you can use easily after your trade show.

Photo credit: Anthony Citrano / Flickr

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