April 29, 2011

Q&A – How soon do you follow up leads from a trade show?

Dear Mr. Hill:

How soon do you follow up leads from a trade Show? I am in the plumbing industry and I sell strictly to wholesale, so it’s different than electronic industry that you talk about. Lately I have been contacting them either after they purchased their plumbing requirements for the year, or months before they intend to buy.  What am I doing wrong? Yet, I speak with them at these trade shows and I always get positive indications that they will be buying, and I believe from me, but then, as I said I’m either too early or too late. As far as I’m concerned these trade shows are a waste of time.

Frustrated sales person

Bill D. Sales Rep

Miami Beach, FL.

Dear Bill:

Don’t blame the Trade Shows. If you consider the trade show a waste of time then you, then you are not doing you job effectively. If you don’t know when your clients buy have you ever asked them the question “When is the best time for me to contact you about these products so that we can consolidate our thinking and finalize on the delivery, quantity and price” At a trade show the questions about pricing, delivery and how soon the products are required should all be part of your company’s qualification sequence.  Depending on how soon the potential client needs the product you should be contacting the client asking again, “When is the best time for me to visit your facility so that we can finalize on your requirements?” I assume you are speaking to more than one person at that company, and asking basically the same questions so that you can be prepared to finalize on the requirements.  I know if you follow this game plan you will be successful.

To your continued Trade Show Success.

John Hill, Trade Show Coach

April 22, 2011

The Do’s and Don’ts of Trade Show Giveaways

Do – Have a Reason for Giveaways

I don’t believe in giveaways, but if you want to use a giveaway, have the attendee do something for it.  To have a table in front of your booth, lined with hundreds of pens, cups or tee shirts and having people come by and take one to me is a waste of money and certainly doesn’t do anything for the company exhibiting.

Don’t – Give it Away to Everyone

You as the exhibiting company have to ask yourself the question, “Did the person come to the booth to learn about my company’s product or service or to pick up one of the giveaways”

Do- Require Participation

If you keep the giveaway on the shelf, (for example a pen) and the attendee prospect enters into discussion, and you qualify that person. At the conclusion of the qualification sequence (which should take less than 5 minutes) gives the person the pen and say,” Thank you for stopping at the XYZ booth and your interest in our products and services. Here is a pen to remember us by” the person has done something, by participating in the qualification sequence, you have accomplished something, and now you personally present the pen to that person. Now it is a big deal, you have made it a big deal, because not everyone that comes to your booth is going to get one of these pens.

April 18, 2011

Why Your Company Needs a Trade Show Plan

Category: Articles,Tales From The Booth — admin @ 1:33 pm

Companies that exhibit without a trade show plan.

If a company signs up to be an exhibitor at a trade show, and they have not developed a trade show business plan, they are just attendee with a booth.

Trade Shows are expensive.

If a company intends to invest $15K to $250K or more in a major trade show they need to have a plan that will articulate what they intend to accomplish, how many qualified leads, based on their pre-show effort, they expect to obtain and their return On Investment (ROI) in the trade show.

More than just ROI

Besides the ROI at a trade show, an exhibitor should be looking at their Return on Objectives (ROO). Some exhibitors may not be focused primarily on generating opportunities, but on increasing their sphere of influence, on being noticed, on being consider a major technical resource for a particular industry. Both the ROI and ROO have to be taken into consideration when developing a marketing plan for a trade show.

The Trade Show Plan

There should be an overall trade show plan that takes into consideration all of the trade shows where the company will exhibit for the year. Then each trade show should be able to develop its own marketing plan for trade show success. The reason that each show should be unique is that the time of the year, the competition and industry are always in continuing change. What is happening at a trade show in an industry in January may not be the same for that industry in June.

This plan should be part of the company’s overall marketing plan, and comparison data should be made available to management that will substantiate and support their commitment to these trade shows.

For years companies have used two marketing plans, the first covered all of the advertising and literature required to present the company products in an effective way. The second, was a “add on” to the existing marketing plan that covered trade shows.  If the company didn’t make its numbers in the third quarter, the first marketing causality was the trade shows budget. The marketing manager in his or her wisdom could show that they reduced their expenses by eliminating the trade shows for that quarter, or for the rest of the year. The problem with this approach is that it will now take the company twice as long to come back up to the original sales level because more effort has to be put into “cold calling” and unqualified sales opportunities.

Qualified Leads

It is interesting that a company will have a sales person sit down and follow up on leads submitted by a trade publication, but will put qualified leads from a trade show on the back burner. I can guarantee that the majority of those people who filled out a form from a trade publication are just literature collectors, but when you get a qualified lead from a trade show, they really want to do business.

April 8, 2011

How to make the trade show directory work for your company.

The trade show directory can be a major marketing tool for any company providing they do their homework and list the relevant information.

The information listed in the directory should be clear enough so that if someone wants to contact the company they will contact someone in sales that is familiar with the specific trade show and can answer any questions pertaining to what was offered by the company at the trade Show.  The information should  consist of company name, location, products or services on display that follow the theme of the show, but most of all identify someone with in the organization as the person to contact regarding company product information that listed in the directory.  If possible, put the name of one of the sales or marketing managers who did participate in the trade show, and perhaps even stood booth duty.

Some companies use the directory to their advantage in the sense that they want to keep track of all leads that came from a specific trade shows. Trade show directory are usually taken back to the attendees office to use as a reference guide. They use it to see who of their competitors exhibited at the trade show. They review other companies’ information to see who introduced new products. Just because the trade show is over does not mean that you will not get some residual effects from have good information on you company listed in the trade show directory.

If you want to do business, make it easy for someone to contact you. If the person calling your organization, and is put though a series of questions to get someone in the sales department, it doesn’t start off the relationship with your company on a positive note. But if a person calls your organization, and has a name of a person to contact the caller will feel more comfortable, and you as the person in the sales department will know exactly what they are calling about.

Make the trade show directory work for your company. The attendees may throw away the majority of the literature that they pick up at the booths they visit, but the trade show directory, in most cases, will be with them long after the trade show is finished.