The agony of DISAPPOINTMENT
If you are a seasoned exhibitor, you have been there. You are familiar with the pain — all that work, all the time that you spent to contemplate the concept and fabricate the outcome... Yet, it went wrong.
Trade shows are tricky that way. A lot can go wrong and it does — not matter how astute you are in your planning or, how vigilant you are in your execution. Trade show business is a business where things go wrong frequently and glaringly.
We do not have all the solutions. However, we do have some solutions that are tangible; it will help you take control and make amendments in your trade show program. Because, that is what we do. We are continuously learning, inventing and walking along side with our clients to ease their journey and maximize their business impact. Here are few preventive ideas.
PREVENT YOURSELF FROM THE AGONY OF BAD BOOTH LOCATION
If you’re planning on being a regular exhibitor at a show each year, reserve a booth space for the following year each year you attend. This helps ensure that you get one of the first choices in location and size that you want the following year.
Some trade shows base exhibit location on the amount of advertising money you spend with the organization, or how active your organization promotes the show. This varies by industry and show size, but it doesn’t hurt to reserve your booth space as soon as possible, even if that means reserving the year prior!
If you didn’t have time to plan and you find yourself in a less than ideal location, use the power of networking! Make sure to leave some staff behind at the booth, or open up your booth for industry bloggers. Go out and network with different exhibitors. Thankfully there is no rule about staying in your booth during the entire show, which means you can use that to your advantage.
PREVENT YOURSELF FROM THE AGONY OF MISSING PARTS OR LABOR SET UP ISSUES IN SETTING UP YOUR BOOTH
Think of the collateral that you bring to a trade show as gold. The banners, pamphlets, balloons, or digital material that you invest in before the show are what will catch people’s eyes and create intrigue. But what happens if the printer misses your deadline, or something is lost in shipping?
For this reason, we have designed exhibits that sets up with the push of a button, saving you from the hassle of labor and missing parts.
Plan to find a reliable printer in the same location as your event beforehand so that if worst happens you can be prepared to print new materials. To avoid this, plan as far in advance as possible and be in frequent communication with your designers and printers during the months before the show.
There is less of a chance of someone dropping the ball if communication is clear. Some exhibitors avoid the hassle of hauling hard copies of marketing collateral to the show by having all of that content available in the form of a USB giveaway. Better yet, you could ask for the attendee’s contact information to send them materials that are only of interest to them. This means you’ve got an interested prospect AND valuable contact information for your sales team to follow up on.
Partner with an exhibit house that has local presence.
YES, we are bragging a bit here. We have devoted lot of years and energy in developing a world wide network committed to Helping The World Trade. And we want you to profit from it.
“Working with Skyline is absolutely awesome. If it’s Chicago, California, Kentucky, Tennessee, it doesn’t matter. We still get that personal touch from everyone.”
– Jason Farthing, Horn USA
PREVENT YOURSELF FROM THE AGONY OF LIMITED OR NEGATIVE RETURN ON INVESTMENT
You are going to this exhibition for a reason. Whether you’re trying to gain new clientele, display and sell a new product, gain recognition or become a leader in educating others in your field, you want the expo to be worth your time and money.
Unfortunately, many people that attend trade shows go into them with limited knowledge, thus finding that the ROI was not worth it. Because there are so much work and money spent on the front end of expo planning, you’ll want to do everything you can to make sure the show is worth your time. Do your research before exhibiting at shows.
A few simple tips are: Standing near your booth instead of sitting behind a table, engaging with those that pass by. Invest in prizes and giveaways. Talk with prospects about their needs and how your company can help, and make sure to send follow-up contact emails to every single person after the show so that you can keep your name in front of people. Use social media before and during your trade show so that people know you plan to attend, and so they know where you are during!
PREVENT YOURSELF FROM THE AGONY OF NOT FOLLOWING UP PROMPTLY ON LEADS
According to marketingnewsnow.com
44% of respondents say preparing leads for follow-up takes a long time.
57% of the study’s participants say it can take a few hours to manually get leads “sales ready” for follow up.
23% say this process takes a few days.
Besides prep time, 23% of respondents say they don’t have the technological tools needed to speed up lead follow-up,
15% say they lack organization.
11% also say they intentionally wait to follow up.
7% admit that they procrastinate.
If you are using business cards to gather leads, (our own Skyline poll shows that is indeed a very popular method) — use fun and games to to compliment your primary lead gathering mechanism. This can be a highly successful way of gathering and qualifying QUALITY LEADS. Check it out here.
We are in the business to help you grow your business. And the viability of trade shows have been tested over time. It has been proved to be profitable and favorable to any company or individual that goes into it with the correct knowledge. However, word of caution: Simply do not exhibit at trade shows if you have not done your research or proper planning.
Needless to say, you will be horribly dissapointed!
The essence of this article was written by Greg Johnson. You can read the original article here.