March 4, 2013

Tradeshow Tips with John Hill – Know Your Client

Category: Q&A — admin @ 10:10 pm

February 15, 2013

Tradeshow Tips with John Hill – Attend A Tradeshow

Category: Q&A — admin @ 10:03 pm

January 31, 2013

Tradeshow Tips with John Hill – Have A Plan

Category: Q&A — admin @ 9:51 pm

July 27, 2012

Ask the Trade Show Coach: Choosing Trade Shows Wisely

Category: Q&A — admin @ 5:50 pm

Dear John:

My problem is how do I learn, or keep track of all of the trade shows for my industry.  I know about the major trade shows, but so does everybody else. I think I could do just as well if I exhibited in some of the 1 and 2 days local and regional trade shows rather than just concentrate on the major trade shows. I find at the larger trade shows you have a lot of “tire kickers” and yes we collect a lot of business cards, but not as many qualified leads considering the size of the trade show and the number of people in attendance. Got any suggestions?

Al, Director of Marketing

Pittsburg, PA

Dear Al:

In order to keep track of the Trade Show for your industry, you have to do the research. If you don’t want to do the research, then hire someone to do it for you. As a Trade Show Coach I do this for many of my clients. They may not go to all of the trade shows that I recommend, but at least they are aware of them.

Many of my clients have come to the same conclusion that many of the major trade shows you get a lot of lookers, but not as many qualified leads.  There is two ways to look at this. If it is a major trade show, you are not the only company inviting your clients, prospects and suspects. Bigger industry trade shows, more exhibitors therefore a lot more invitations going out to people in your industry. You are attending the major trade show for a number of reasons; 1) the most obvious, is to generate qualified leads. 2) To show your clients that you are alive and well, and continuing to grow your business. 3) To see what your competitors are doing, any new products or services etc., 4) and to look for additional strategic partners that will help you to increase your sphere of influence.  Al, a Trade Show is what you make of it, you cannot waste time when you are at a trade show. When traffic gets slow, walk the show and look for exhibiting companies that could possibly use your products or services.  Let me give you a something to think about. If you attend a major 3 day show, say in Las Vegas, the show days and hours are, Tuesday, 10 to 6 Wednesday, 10 to 6, Thursday 10 to 4.  This amounts to 22 hours of Exhibit trade show time.  If the total cost of the show is $25,000.00 (trade shows are between $30,000 and $50,000) this includes Airline tickets, salaries, cost of the show for a 10 foot booth, shipping etc. the cost of one hour of booth time is over $1,136.00.  Now you can see why you need to make the most out of every hour you are at the trade show.

The other part of this question deals with Primary and Secondary shows.  Some of my clients, although they attend the major trade shows, make more of a concerted effort on some of the regional or local trade shows where they have more of a local but smaller  audience. They still do the e-mail blasts, and tell the clients about these shows, they get a smaller number of attendees that get qualified, but this smaller group has, in some cases, have produced more qualified leads that have turned into orders.

To your continued trade show success

John Hill, Trade Show Coach

May 11, 2012

Ask The Tradeshow Coach – Increasing Pre-Show Efforts?

Category: Q&A — admin @ 1:47 pm

Dear John:
I am a VP of Marketing for a mid sized company located on Long Island. I read all of your newsletters from beginning to end. Sometimes I think with some of the questions you get asked, that you have a spy in my company. I believe in trade shows, but the advertising person (don’t ask why advertising handles the trade shows) who handles the trade shows treats all of the trade shows as a test bed for a new brochure or kick off of another ad campaign.  When I suggest to her that we should put more effort into the pre-show phase she said that it is too costly, and she can justify the cost of her ad campaigns quicker, than the cost of the trade shows. How can I respond to this kind of logic and not look foolish?
Scott – frustrated VP of Marketing on Long Island.

Dear Scott:
It sound like your company is in the dark ages when it comes to advertising and trade shows. They should be working together to complement each other, not trying the one up-man-ship that you are faced with.  I wonder if this ad person can justify her ad campaign, and show the ROI on her ad campaign. If she is not going to make the investment in the pre-show effort why are you even participating in these trade shows? You are really not an exhibitor, but an attendee with a booth. The Pre-show effort is to tell your clients you are at this trade show, tell you list of prospects that you look forward to them stopping by your booth, and your suspects that you have something to show them that you know that will be of interest to them.  You need to invite people, if you want people at your booth! Over 40% of people surveyed were asked why they didn’t go to this industry trade show, and their response was that no one invited them. It is obvious to me your ad person does not know about trade shows and she is treating them as an expense, not an investment, and your marketing effort is being jeopardized!
To your continued trade show success
John Hill, Trade Show Coach

April 9, 2012

“We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Booth!” – Q&A

Category: Q&A — admin @ 7:58 pm

Dear Mr. Hill:
I am the VP of Marketing for a company in the healthcare field. I need help with my trade shows. Recently, our trade show consultant told us that we would get more prospects to our booth if we invested in a larger booth. Well, we made the investment, and the number of sales leads that we got at the shows did not improve.  In fact if anything, our cost of doing trade shows has gone up dramatically with the bigger booth, the need for more people etc.  Got any suggestions so I can justify this additional expense to my President?
I look forward to your comments.
Bob, Vice President Marketing
Long Branch, NJ

Dear Bob:
You are not the first person who had been “talked” into a bigger booth by some sweet talking trade show consultant. What that person did was sell the obvious. Did you really need a bigger booth? Were the attendees standing on line to get into your booth?  Were your booth people able to handle the traffic effectively?  Did the people doing booth duty say that they needed a bigger booth? I have clients that have the same booth for over eight years. They have upgraded the graphics, and changed their “tag” line but that was it.  I would rather have a small booth that is always over crowded at a trade show that a large one where your booth people spend more time talking to each other than to prospects.

Now that you have a larger booth, you should invite more people to visit your booth.   The only way you can justify the cost of the larger booth is by having a larger list of qualified prospects that your sales force can close.  It will be your Pre-show effort that will make the difference.
To your continued trade show success
John Hill, Trade Show Coach

December 4, 2011

Ask The Tradeshow Coach: Coach vs. Consultant?

Category: Q&A — admin @ 7:49 pm

Good morning John:
I read your April E-Newsletter and I see all of the services that your companies offers, especially in the area of trade shows. Why do you call yourself a coach and not a consultant?

Allen, New York City

Dear Allen:

I get asked this question a lot, usually when I meet someone in person. This is the first time I had someone actually write to me about this. Well, I hope I do not alienate too many of my consultant friends and business associates, but I think after they read my response they will have to agree. I was a business consultant for over ten years, back in the eighties. Back then; it was assumed that if you were a consultant you had a lot of experience, besides a strong educational background. As we moved in the business world of the nineties, more and more people, fresh out of school entered into the different industries and they instantly became Consultants. I had always thought that Consultant and Experience were synonymous. Obviously, that is not the case today. When I decided to call myself a Coach, it was because all that I know about Coaches is that you MUST have the experience and the longevity in your field before you can call yourself a Coach. I have that longevity, experience and more to be able to assist my clients.

To your continued trade show success

John Hill, Trade Show Coach

October 27, 2011

Ask The Tradeshow Coach: Getting The Booth Support You Need!

Category: Q&A — admin @ 9:52 pm

Dear Mr. Hill:

I sell, as part of a team, very expensive software computer systems for the Internet analysis market consisting of a hardware engineer, software engineer and a sales person who also acts as a project manager. When the company participates in a trade show the only people that they send from the company is the sales staff. What frustrates me is when I am at a trade show and a prospect comes to the booth with his Chief Technical Officer and starts asking very detailed technical questions. I can handle some of them, but I certainly could use some technical support from my company. How do I tell my manager who is always complaining about cost of sales and costs associated with a trade shows, that I need this support in order to be more successful at a trade show. You can only tell a prospect, “I’ll get back to you on that” only once before they go look at someone else’s software and equipment.
Ed T., Technical Sales
New York City


Dear Ed:
I could write a book just on companies who invest major money in booths and equipment for a trade show but do not “man” the booth with enough of the right people. Many years ago when I was President & CEO of a company that manufactured application oriented computer systems, I was faced with a similar problem. What I did was develop, what I referred to, as a “Tiger Team” consisting of a hardware, software and sales person. They not only worked together, they also shared in commission as well. When we went to a trade show I usually sent two teams. If it was to a show in California I send the teams that were working and selling in California and the sales territory next to it. While the sales people got them into the booth, the rest of the team were given the opportunity to speak with them and to get more of the details necessary to be able to respond to the prospect in a detailed and timely fashion. It also prevented the sales person from being to enthusiastic and promising the prospect the world! This whole approach worked very well, and also got the respect of the hardware and software engineers who participated in the trade show. Most engineers think that a trade show, in a city like Las Vegas, is all fun and games and all the sales people do is party. They found out that is not the case, and that the real work started each day, after the trade show closed for that day, when we went back to the hotel room and reviewed and analyzed all of the leads that we acquired at the show that day. The discussion was lively, the leads challenged as to whether it was a lead that should be followed up in a week or a month. But it made everyone aware of how important it was to work as a team and to support each other, and to qualify the suspects and prospects. I hope this give you some insight into how important it is to have the right support people in the booth.
To your continued trade show success
John Hill, Trade Show Coach

September 19, 2011

Ask The Tradeshow Coach: How Can I Get More Attention At Tradeshows?

Category: Q&A — admin @ 6:15 pm

Dear John:
I have a 10’ x 10’ booth, and I thought I did fairly well at the trade shows where I exhibited, but after reading some of your responses to questions asked I see I have a lot to learn. What can I use, other than dancing girls (which my company would not allow) to generate more activity in my booth?
Paul, Regional Manager
Pittsburg, PA



Dear Paul:
First, I want you to know I don’t believe in having dancing girls in a booth. Not unless you are at a trade show to generate PR, or just to be noticed and not to generate sales opportunities. Yes, I do know companies that do just that. One of the best devices you can have in your booth is a video display. If you are going to a major trade show, one of the best attention grabbers is a good screen presentation, either a Power Point or a video on your company, your products or services. When one of my clients asks me about using video, “Are you sure this will work?” I tell them to go to a department store and go to the electronic department where they sell TVs. You will see more people just standing around looking at television, not buying, just looking. At a trade show, if you get them to stop and look at your video presentation, you now have the opportunity to speak to them about what they have seen in the video. As you know, you have approximately 3 seconds to make an impression on an attendee passing your booth, be it with a good opening active question or a video that stops them in their tracks! I would let the video do the work for me.
To your continued trade show success
John Hill, Trade Show Coach

August 17, 2011

Ask The Tradeshow Coach: Where Can I Find Tradeshows To Attend?

Category: Q&A — admin @ 5:24 pm

Dear Mr. Hill:
As you can see I am located in Albany, New York and I do a lot of work with the government. While many companies want to do work with the government, I would like to generate opportunities in the commercial arena as well. I believe in trade shows, and have been successful in selling into the state government by exhibiting at the major trade shows held here in Albany every year. Can you suggest some trade show, or where to look for trade shows that will be for my industry and focus?
Alex C.
Albany, NY


Dear Alex:
I am familiar with the trade shows that you attend in Albany. It is very well attended and many of the departments in the State government do make it a point to attend. Since you didn’t give me any idea what industry you are in, or the products that you are selling I suggest you look at a couple of web sites and determine which major and regional trade shows would be right for you and your company. One of the best sites that give you a broad overview of the trade shows is I think you will be impressed with the information they supply. Locally, you have a number of regional trade shows that you should look in to. You don’t have to come to New York City to find Regional trade shows in the Albany area. Don’t forget this is another site that will give you a lot of information. I hope you find these sites helpful, and that you are able to generate some commercial business.
To your continued trade show success
John Hill, Trade Show Coach