The Number One Trade Show Expense
We are often asked how much a business should expect to spend when participating in a trade show from the trade show exhibit designs to the cost of travel, marketing materials and booth space rental.
But there is one expense so great that if not properly prepared for can be like flushing the cost of your booth down the proverbial commode.
If your staff isn’t prepared, well trained, and excited about the trade show experience, you might as well just set up an unmanned table and hope someone picks up a brochure.
So how do you ensure your staff will make the most out of the two, three or four days of your upcoming trade show event?
Training. Will the staff be trained, not only on product knowledge, features/advantages/benefits of your top selling inventory, but are they comfortable interacting with the participants? You can have a knowledgeable sales associate, but if they just sit on a chair in the back of the booth, they aren’t making the most of every face-to-face interaction.
Consider conducting role play experiments, having the staff discuss different scenarios and how they might turn a casual attendee into an engaged prospect. Help them to be prepared for the opportunities a well-attended trade show provides.
Motivation. Employees who understand the benefit of participating in the trade show are more motivated to be successful. In some cases, that may mean developing an incentive program but it also means educating them to the benefits of face-to-face interactions. How many road trips and pounding the pavement sales calls would they have to make to equal the number of conversations they can have in the concentrated time of a 3 to 4 day trade show? How will those leads impact their future income? Make sure your trade show staff has bought into the benefits of participating in the trade show; both for the company but also for their own pocket book.
Support. Have you provided the latest in technology; not only of your company products, but also for the staff to capture prospect information? Whether that be an iPad with the new mobile iPad trade show app or the online capability of enhancing their sales presentations with theInTouch interactive table technology; make sure your staff has what they need to be successful.
There are a multitude of details required for a successful trade show, not the least of which is a customized trade show display that effectively represents your company brand. But the most important element of your trade show is the staff that represents your company. Make sure they are prepared for success.
Ask An Expert
Why should I attend a trade show? What are the objectives served by attending and/or participating in a trade show event?
According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, there were over 14,000 trade shows and conferences in the U.S. in 2005. Whatever industry you may specialize in, there’s a trade show, conference or expo just for you.
Check out the Convention Center Information page to see what trade show convention centers are the most popular.
Exhibiting with trade show booths puts you face-to-face with hundreds and sometimes thousands of qualified attendees. Many of those attendees use their industries’ big trade shows to research products and services before a purchase. An industry study found 83% of attendees have some type of buying power.
For an exhibitor, these attendees are a good source of new leads and even show floor sales. Twenty-two percent of sales and marketing executives say trade shows are the top-producer of leads among all their marketing programs. In addition, the costs of generating and closing a qualified lead via exhibiting with trade show booths is less than that of generating and closing a field lead, according to the CEIR Study on Economics of Exhibiting.
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