August 29, 2013

Tradeshow Questions & Answers

Category: Articles — admin @ 6:05 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

August 22, 2013

Review what your competition has on display

Category: Articles — admin @ 4:53 pm

If you limit yourself and your booth personnel to the confines of your booth you are doing a disservice to both your company and your sales organization.

I request my clients that regardless of how large or small their trade show, all of your booth personnel should walk the show, look at what is on display, always with the question in mind, “Could this product or service be use to my Company” but most of all you should always check out your competition.

Many of my clients, who have taken my words to heart, have been rewarded with either a new relationship, or being able to capitalize on something where the competition was not doing a complete job.

Most companies when they make arrangements to exhibit at a trade show want to show the latest and the greatest of what they have to offer.  When you go to a trade show what do you bring? If you do not expect to put your best food forward then why are you going to the trade show in the first place? At any major trade show in your industry you will have the largest group of potential buyers of your product or service.  You always want to show your best that includes your equipment, service, support and your booth personnel who represent your company.

August 15, 2013

Impression you and the members of your staff got from the show – Post Show Efforts

Category: Articles — admin @ 8:43 pm

It is important that once the show is finished and all of the leads have been accounted for that you have a meeting with your trade show personnel to review what happened at this specific trade show. It cannot be a “Got ya” meeting just reviewing what they didn’t do, but an open and candid discussion. The main questions to be asked should be:

  1. What did you like about the trade show?
  2. What you disliked about the trade show?
  3. What would you do differently?
  4. What would you want to change?
  5. Did you look at our competitors?
  6. Who did you like, and why?
  7. Who did you dislike, and why?
  8. How would you compare our exhibit and effort at this trade show to our competition?
  9. Of all of things that you saw at this trade show what impressed you the most?


Some companies have a form that has basically these same types of questions that they give to the people who stood booth duty to complete. Once they have these forms back then they have their meeting.

It is good for the company because they get some answers. It is good for the people who were at the trade show because they feel their input and opinion means something, and it’s good for the people who are in charge of the trade shows.

August 8, 2013

Untrained booth Personnel & “Qualifying” Prospects or Suspects

Category: Articles — admin @ 4:43 pm

A trade show is where a company takes names and qualifies prospects. Granted, at some trade shows they actually “sell” at the booth. But in the majority of trade shows, the purpose of the people at the booth is to qualify as many attendees as possible so that when the company returns to it office it can give these “Qualified” leads to the sales force, so that they can then “close” the orders. Companies, using unqualified people in the booth are a waste of both time and money.

What type of impression do you give to the clients, prospects and suspects that have come by your booth?

Do you think that one of your present clients will be pleased to see a company person fumbling, trying to take down information from a prospect or suspect?  What kind of impression are you giving to the prospect or suspect?  Do you really think, after getting the run a round in the booth that the prospect or suspect would be interested in doing business with your company?

A major trade show has many types of people walking past your booth. Not all of them are there to buy your product or service. Some of the attendees are there just to get an impression of how the company operates at a trade show. Why? Well, for a number of reasons, they may be interested in a strategic partnership arrangement, or your banker who has just given your company a major line of credit wants to see how the company reacts with its clients, prospects and suspects. Or another company, possibly a competitor wants to see what you are doing, or a company may be interested in buying your company, and they want to see how you operate at a trade shows. All theses situations are possible, and have happened to many organizations.

If you want to look sharp at a trade show, put qualified trained people in your booth, and see how much better your trade show experience will be.

August 1, 2013

Security is important at a trade show, your hotel, parking lot, and at your booth

Category: Articles,Tales From The Booth — admin @ 4:06 pm

It is not uncommon for thieves, and unsavory individuals to stake out trade shows as a good place to find their next “pigeon”.  When attending any trade show, regardless if it is in your own back yard you have to be aware of your surroundings at all times.

At your hotel: Check your room door, does it close automatically. The old trick was to leave the TV on in your room especially when you go out. Anyone that comes up to your door and listens will think there is someone in the room and think twice about trying to break in.

In the parking lot: Either at the hotel or at the trade show, back into your parking space, so that you can see the inside of the car as you approach it when you get ready to leave. Always try to go to the parking lot along with other people. You do not want to, if at all possible, be the only person in the parking lot.

At your booth: Always put away under lock and key your demo equipment. If you are using Laptops as part of your demonstration, please carry them back to your hotel room. Did you read the information that comes with your exhibitor information kit? The convention center is responsible for nothing! Yes these convention centers all have security; some $10 an hour rent a cop is certainly not going to be that vigilant, and continually walking the corridors to make sure no one is taking equipment from the booths.