As I mentioned in part 1, tradeshows are a great way to keep up with what’s going on in the building product industry, capture leads and network with your peers.
In this article, I’ll focus more on what to do and not to do during and after your show.
Less is better. When it comes to conferences and tradeshows, more isn’t necessarily better. Presenting less information is better than overloading your building product prospect with information. Too much clutter and too many handouts are not going to help you seal any deal.
Gimmicks and giveaways are good. Although it may sound corny, games and contests at tradeshows do work. A couple of ideas that will draw extra traffic to your booth are prize wheels, cash cubes and good ol’ fashioned giveaways. Nike Fuel bands and Fitbits have been popular at some of the shows I’ve been to this year.
Tweeting and re-tweeting are musts. I previously mentioned tweeting when it comes to pre-show contests. During the conference, tweet! Tweet about your upcoming presentation, people you meet, presenters you enjoy hearing, etc.
Stand, don’t sit. Sitting doesn’t convey an air of approachability. While manning your booth, you will want to stand while attendees are on the show floor.
Listen more than you talk. Listening stops when you start to speak. Don’t be in a rush to give your sales pitch. Your job is to prequalify leads and find opportunities to follow-up. Listening to what your building product prospects need will help you secure those opportunities.
Track your leads. How are you going to determine the show’s ROI if you don’t have lead conversion tracking in place? There are many software solutions that track and monitor conversion. Find one that suits your needs and your budget.
Customize your displays to stand out. Generic, boring displays will do nothing for you. Invest in a custom booth that represents your brand and its products. Be creative with the space you are allotted. Most tradeshow spaces have really high ceilings. Think about doing something taller for greater visibility and to really stand out.
Steal a booth strategy. The best place to see the most effective booth strategies is on the trade show or business conference floor. There’s a quote that goes something like, “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination.” I don’t know that I would wholly adopt this philosophy, but for your tradeshow marketing, I think it’s okay.
Cater to younger attendees. Use a tempered approach when it comes to the younger attendees. They want more personal attention, but prefer to be approached after they’ve decided they want more information. Observe their body language and use non-verbal cues to express your awareness of their presence.
Help people get what they want. Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said, “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” This statement has never been more true than it is in today’s business climate. Think like your prospects and listen to what they are really asking for. And if you can help them solve a problem, even if you aren’t the solution, it’s a good way to develop relationships.
Never underestimate the value of networking. A great way to build your referral system is to send leads to friends you meet on the floor.
Ditch the pitch. Old school, pushy sales tactics do not work at tradeshows and business conferences. Be someone with whom your prospect wants to have a professional relationship.
It’s okay to disqualify. By having clearly defined goals and pre-defined qualifying guidelines, you can focus your time on potential leads and not waste time on attendees who aren’t.
Follow up on leads. According to Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), nearly 80% of business conference leads are never followed up on by your staff. By all means, follow up with everyone you meet during the show. Don’t leave it for weeks on end, because you never know when or how a contact could help you in the future.
PHOTO CREDIT: Andrew Blight via flickr