September 12, 2013
Standing booth duty is not the most glamorous of jobs. But if you approach it with a positive attitude and with the anticipation of business opportunities, then this makes it all worth while. But even standing booth duty can be dangerous.
When you are finished setting up your booth, and before the attendees start coming into the facility you should take the time to find all of the fire exits, especially those closes to your booth. You want to be prepared, so that in case of a fire, and everyone converges on the entrance you will know where to go in the shortest amount of time, and get out of the building safely.
In some facilities where they have held trade shows, seminars or expositions the fire exit have been locked as a precaution to prevent people from coming into the build illegally. That may be good to keep the bad people out, but what happens in case of a fire? You must check these at every trade show that you attend or exhibit.
September 5, 2013
If you are given the task of standing booth duty, remember it is a major responsibility since you are the representative for your company. When an attendee comes to the booth, how you respond, your demeanor and enthusiasm all reflect on your company. Stand tall, look sharp, smile, have good breath and act as if you were inviting someone into your home.
If you wear a suit, please take more than one suit with you to a show that last 3 days. Unless you arrive the day of the show, just stand booth duty for one day, then you don’t have to worry about having extra clothes and shoes.
Many trade shows use woman as a “greeter” at the booth. While it is nice to be confronted by a beautiful woman at a booth, it is also important that they dress appropriately, and represent your company in a professional manner. It is also important that these “greeters” know something about your company and your product so that they are able to answer some of the basic questions that will be asked by the attendees. (Now I am sure you see how important a booth script will be in this situation)
Many companies now dress their booth personnel it company Tee or Polo shirts with logo’s and company colors. Unless these are quick drying shirts, the can be washed and pressed every night you certainly need more than one shirt at a 3 days trade show.(How many people do you know will take the time to wash and press their shirt every night?) But many time companies are short sighted and give one shirt to each and everyone of the booth personnel. You can imagine how the shirt looks and smells after three days of booth duty.
If you want your people to look sharp, and be a walking advertisement for your company then make sure that they have enough shirts to always be dressed for success.
August 29, 2013
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
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
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
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:
- What did you like about the trade show?
- What you disliked about the trade show?
- What would you do differently?
- What would you want to change?
- Did you look at our competitors?
- Who did you like, and why?
- Who did you dislike, and why?
- How would you compare our exhibit and effort at this trade show to our competition?
- 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
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
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.
July 25, 2013
Review all of the leads from the show. Prioritize leads, apply triage when necessary. All trade show leads should be reviewed by the management of the company. You want to see the caliber of the people who are going to this trade show, and you want to know the type of attendees that are stopping by your booth. If your leads indicate that only literature collectors came to your booth, and no one with real requirements for your products or services, then you have some major decisions to make especially regarding this trade show.
I look at all trade shows as an opportunity to generate business opportunities. If you make a substantial investment in a trade show you should expect to see a return on your investment.
A major problem is that leads from a trade show are never followed up in a timely fashion. Someone in the exhibiting company should be held accountable for the prompt and efficient follow up of these qualified leads. In a recent study, it was shown that 82% of trade show leads were followed up AFTER the attendee had already made the decision to purchase a product or service.
If you have established time lines for your leads based on your experience then why not treat them as QUALIFIED AND READY TO DO BUSINESS? The time line for following up is dependent on what you have established for example:
“A” leads – to me this qualified prospect has told me that they expect to place an order within 30 days or less.
“B” leads within 30 to 60 days
“C” leads within 60 to 90 days
“D” leads could very well be next year.
You cannot follow up on A leads in 45 days. They must be acted upon in the time as stated on your qualification form otherwise you are just going through the motions.
Trade Show leads are without question the best leads you could have. The people on these leads have been qualified, they were there to find out about your product or service, and they were there to do business. Yet, so many marketers, and sales managers treat these leads like yesterdays news with an attitude of, “Well they came to our booth, they saw what we had, we answered their questions, now if they want something they can contact us” Yeah, right! But that is the way I see it.
Clients, Prospects, and suspects want to be sold! If they have taken the time to visit your booth, have gone through the qualification sequence, they understand that you will be contacting them, then why not finish the job and SELL your product or service?
July 18, 2013
A visitor to a trade show usually refers to the trade show directory to determine what companies and booths he or she will visit. If your company is listed as a company that makes product A, when they get to your booth, the attendee expect to see product A, not hear or see some other product that your company manufacturers.
Yet companies either list every product they manufacture or list 1 or 2 basic products , and when the attendee get to the exhibitors booth and asks to see a demonstration they are told the company didn’t bring that product this trip, but they have other products that they can show you. Now what has the exhibitor done?
The attendee has taken time to come to the booth, hoping to see the product that was listed in the directory, and was told they don’t have it.
Do you think this attendee will be pleased with this type of response, and what do you think he will say about your company in the future?
If you list the product in the trade show directory make sure you have the product in your booth!
July 2, 2013
I believe that everyone that stands booth duty should be trained for every trade show regardless of their trade show experience.
I also believe that different types of company personnel should also stand booth duty. If you were to talk to an engineer and ask them what sales and marketing people do, nine out of ten times they would say that they spend most of their time socializing , and that a trade show is just another reason for them to get together and have a good time.
Well, for anyone who has had the opportunity of standing booth duty they know that is the farthest thing from the truth. Trade Shows are a lot of hard work. Any marketing tool has to be used correctly and effectively to be worthwhile. Having different types of personnel, who have been trained; bring another prospective to the trade show.
When the show is finished, and you have the opportunity to question them about their experiences at the trade show you will be surprised at the type of response that you get, and the insight that they have from the experience. They will certainly be more sensitive and understanding of what marketing and sales is all about.
Many of the suggestions that my clients have received have been from company personnel, other than sales and marketing types, who were requested to stand booth duty.
Engineers, software developers, manufacturing and administrative personnel will look at a trade show differently than a sales person or a marketer. Thinking outside the box brings another dimension to the assumptions made by sales and marketers who have the, “Been there done that” attitude that limit their vision and their thinking. Welcome the comments of these non-sales and non marketers, analyze their input objectively and you will be pleasantly surprised.