Saturday, June 25, 2011

8 Power Tips to Maximize Returns on Trade Shows

8 Power Tips to Maximize Returns on Trade Shows

2nd Part in an 8 Part Series on Trade Shows and how to maximize the benefits of working the show. Why spend your money without an expectation of results? Next week Third topic in the series, Cultivate an Internal Attitude of Enthusiasm
Smiling NAWBO Board Members Modelling St. John Reseale Items
at 2nd Annual NAWBO Day, photo compliments of BlackTie-Pittsburgh
 Why spend your money without an expectation of results? Record who you met, what their interest level was, where are they in the sales pipeline.  This means giving something away to collect business cards and also FOLLOWING UP!  What is your expected Return on Investment ?  Have you thought about how you will track this?  Just going for branding purposes is not sufficient any more. 

1.       What are your goals in attending and exhibiting? 

·        Do you just want to add to your list that you can market to?
·         Are  you looking to create relationships with potential clients? 
·        Do you want to set up appointments to get eyeballs on your presentation? 
·        Are you looking or realtime demos at the trade show? 
·         Are you looking for on site sales?
·      How many active leads do you want to put into the pipeline
·        How many names do you want to add to your e-mail list to keep in touch with?

2.       Rehearse with your representatives ahead of time, do a little role playing, make sure they know what you are promoting, how to promote it and that they have some passion about what you are doing.  I personally are very turned off by some interns or entry level representatives that say, “Our manager handles that, if you will give me your card, I will have them get back to you.”  All representatives are not always going to know everything but they should know a good bit.  Also teach them to say, “That’s a very good question, but I want to make sure that I give you the best answer, can I get back to you on that?”
3.       Role playing is always good so that you staff is prepared in advance for these scenarios:
·         engaging prospects on the show floor. 
·         How to handle your qualified leads,
·         How to move those along who are not a good fit.  
·         Make things fun so that your staff will be light hearted and confident at the event.
·          Teach them how to deal with a fumble ahead of time and get back on their feet.
·          How to answer objections
·         How to better interact with other team members

4.       Some questions to ask yourself with regard to your staff:
·         What is each staff member responsible for? Do they know their job for that day?
·         You spent money on this trade show.  Does your staff understand this is not a fun trip or just a day out of the office?
·         Does your staff understand what is expected of them?
·         You might think about giving them a trade show tip sheet or mini instruction page.

5.       Reward those who exhibit for you at the Trade Show.  Some ideas of actions that should cull rewards:
·         Appointments set up
·         Decision Maker Info
·         Referrals
·         Follow Up Request
Create a sales contest for closed sales or leads gained. 
Ok, maybe you don’t have the budget to give away a Mercedes Benz or dinner at a five star restauarant but something that will get your reps attention and keep them focused on your goals for the show.  It could be a gift card to a nice restaurant or retailer, a paid day off, or maybe a round of golf!  You can have a winner for each day and/or an overall winner for the entire show.  Creating competition amongst your staff to drive results is an excellent way to motivate the team.
6.        Some tips for better staff involvement:
·         Discuss your expectations in terms of gaining new leads and closing sales.  Get everyone on the same page for a rating system for your leads to help everyone understand where the leads are in the pipeline.
·         Set goals with your staff and get their commitment to reach these goals.  Cover housekeeping rules such as being on time, on your feet, not eating in the booth, and the use of personal mobile phones in the booth. 
·          If mobile marketing is part of your show promotions this may be acceptable but obviously this is not the time for personal business.  
·          It is an exciting and fun time but it’s definitely not a vacation!

7.       Connect your Leads to Performance.  Some sales people confuse activity with retuslts.  Once you get these leads into your pipeline.  Track what happens to them, how many follow ups do you have scheduled, who wants additional information, how many sales were made, how many referrals did you get from the original leads. 

8.       Follow Up and Follow Through
Plan ahead of time how you will divide the leads. Address the distribution of leads after the show.  Make sure you are up front with your crew about how leads will be allocated. Is it the top seller that day, does everyone keep the business cards they collect?   If you are using a scanner, then you really need to have a plan for allocation ahead of time.  Whether it’s based on their performance at the show or some other metrics make sure everyone is clear so there is no dissension amongst the ranks.
Be the First One to Be Accountable. Why would you take your team to a show and then not follow up with them later to see how they are helping you to get a return on  your investment. Check with your team on how your new prospects are moving through the pipeline.  Don’t micromanage but let them know that you’re there to lend your expertise to help move them from prospect to client!  It may be that a team member can benefit from your seasoned talents.  What benefits them in making a sale, benefits you.  The first step in accountability is the boss’s accountablility to her staff.
What are some of  your tips that you have used at a recent trade show?  Please comment here.

This blog post can be reproduced in its entirety with the following information:
© Joanne Quinn-Smith 2011, Monday Morning Marketeer™ 412-628-5048

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Joanne Quinn-Smith is the Creative Energy Officer of Dreamweaver Marketing Associates in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and an expert on Web 2.0 Branding.
Joanne has also been designated by the 2009 U.S. Small Business Administration as the Small Business Journalist of the Year for her work with information relevant to and advocacy of small businesses.
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Phone:  412-628-5048

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