May 27, 2011

The Biggest Trade Show Marketing Mistake

Not allocating sufficient time to exhibit

Many companies still make decisions to invest thousands of dollars in a major trade show and do not leave themselves sufficient time to plan and coordinate this effort. Under these conditions they end up making decisions in a panic, and managing in crisis. A company needs to investigate, discuss, plan, coordinate and commit to all the facets of a trade show if they expect to have a successful trade show experience. Considering that only 15% of the exhibitors at any trade show are successful, it is important that a company has sufficient time and that everyone within the organization is aware of the importance of this effort.

You cannot and should not consider doing a trade show and not giving yourself and other members of the company sufficient time to get their act together.  What I mean by this is, if you have products to display, you need to get with manufacturing, production or engineering so that you can put on display the best possible product that really shows the true capabilities of your company. Just displaying any old thing that you had in the back room certainly does not give a positive message to either the company employees, or the attendees at the trade show that will be looking at equipment.  How will the presentation of the company person in the booth go? “Well, this is not our latest equipment, this is what we had available.” What are you telling the prospect that has stopped to look at your products? This company has so much business, they really are not interested in new clients, or they really don’t care. What type of effort, and how does your company approach going to a trade show?

May 20, 2011

How to keep your expensive literature from ending up in the trade show trash bin.

Expensive Literature and Free DinnerExpensive Literature and a Free Dinner

Some years ago I had a client that was determined to spend many dollars on literature to be handed out at the trade show.  No matter what I said he always had a response. “This is old literature, I was going to get rid of it anyway” or “This literature has a lot of information so they will hold on to it”

High Costs

We had done a few trade shows together, and the expense allocated for trade show material was astronomical. When I confronted my client on this, because I had a tough time presenting a realistic ROI (Return on Investment) that made sense. He said, not to worry it was an accounting thing. I also know when things get tight in a company because of a downturn in sales, accounting takes a hard look at everything, and where they can “cut” because of the expense they do.   Having listened to my client talk about his literature – He loved to design, write copy, and show how informative it was, and how the attendees really liked it and no doubt they will be carrying it home to read again and again.

But, they’re so professional! Everyone wants one!

While at my client’s booth at a major trade show at the Javits Center in New York City I really got annoyed, and I confronted my client as he was handing out  these very elaborate 8 page multicolored coated stock brochures that must of cost over $4.00 each. When I saw this I asked him how long he had been handing these out. He said since the start of the trade show, which was at 10:00AM.  It was now a little after noon, and I asked my client how many do you think you have handed out. He was so excited, when I asked him that because he said that everyone wanted them, they were so professional. Again I asked him how many he had given out, and he said, “About 60” Well I said, I have been telling you for over 2 years that it’s a waste of money to spend a lot on literature to be handed out at a trade show because, according to statistics between 82% to 90% of the literature collected at a trade show is thrown away.

The Bet

I said to my client, “I will bet you dinner at the best restaurant of your choosing, that I can collect at least 30 of your brochures right here at the trade show” He said, “I’ll take that bet” With that said, I found two of the workers that empty the garbage cans around the trade show floor. I told them I would give each of them $20 dollars if they could find 30 of these brochures that have been thrown away. Then I told them I would meet them back at the booth in one hour.

50 minutes later both of these workers came back with 45 brochures in their hands, and wanted their money, which I gladly gave them.

That evening I had dinner and a wonderful bottle of very expensive wine at restaurant considered the best seafood restaurant in New York City. My client was still in shock, but not over paying the bill, but seeing how much money he had wasted by not listening to me two years ago when it came to literature.

If you do your trade show literature correctly, it will be inexpensive, it will be focused on this show, and also follow your trade show theme, and it will be something they will hold on too, and use for reference for the whole trade show.

What are your thoughts? Share them in the comments, I would love to read them!

May 13, 2011

Q&A – Who should represent you at your booth?

Category: Q&A — Tags: , , , , , – admin @ 6:43 pm

Dear Mr. Hill:

You have commented about what not to do when you stand booth duty. Since I will be doing a few trade shows in my territory, please give me some pointers of what I should look for when I am asking/requesting people for stand booth duty.

Jim, Sales Manager

Akron, OH

Dear Jim:

Standing booth duty is hard work, but the return on your effort can be tremendous.  The opportunity to generate more sales opportunities in a three day show that you can in 6 months to a year working from your office, should be enough to get anyone interested. But the problem is most sales types don’t look at it like that.  They only see that they are going to be away from their family, friends and clients for three days. You want someone who is a good listener, a person that can ask the qualifying questions without jumping to conclusions.  A good person in the booth is enthusiastic, positive, dressed to do business, qualifies rather than sells, and gives the attendees the impression that he or she is happy to be here and able to serve you. When you have people like that in your booth, you will come away with a number of qualified sales opportunities.

To your continued trade show success

John Hill, Trade Show Coach

May 6, 2011

The Client Profile, or who are you selling to?

Who are you selling too?

Too many companies go to trade shows, and have no idea what the profile of their client is. They sign up for trade shows that have the wrong audience, because they have no idea who they intend to sell to. You have to know who your potential client is before you make an investment in a trade show.

Without knowing the type of company, size, industry and product or service offered you are not prepared to be an exhibitor at any trade show. If you are not sure who your client is, then look at your 10 major clients and get as much information on them as you possible can. Look at their SIC codes, their NCIS codes, industry, products and services.

That should give you any indication of who you should be targeting, and what they are buying.

Business is a game.

Business to many people is a game, but it is a very serious game. Consider the fact that as an owner or President of a company, you have the responsibility of the people who work for you.

In this day and age there are a number of associations and government organizations that will help a company to succeed. Know who you are dealing with and know who you should be dealing with.