The ROI of your trade show exhibit is directly influenced by your actions and decisions
But that control is a double-edged sword. With it comes the burden of knowing that your decisions might also set the stage for poor performance. Here, we have offered bits of advice to help ensure that your display generates a positive return. These are the tips that veteran exhibitors (many of our clients) use to make certain their efforts contribute to their company’s bottom lines.
You’ve invested a hefty sum of money into your trade show display. We take it very seriously when it comes to your Return on Investment.
#1 – Reserve a High-Traffic Area of the Convention Hall
The more foot traffic you have near your booth, the more opportunities you’ll have to meet and engage attendees. Reserving space in a high-traffic area may be as simple as asking (contact the event organizer). Other times, you’ll be expected to pay a premium.
So what is a high-traffic area in a convention hall?
Try getting a spot on the corner where there is always a crossroads of attendees passing. You will be able to engage from all directions and your booth will be more noticeable not packed between two others.
A good place is also the one that is close to the restrooms and the lounge area.
It’s important to remember that having the best spot in the convention hall won’t help you if your display is designed without paying heed to the 4 marketing questions to your right.
#2 – TRAIN Booth Staff TO READ MINDS (NOT JOKING HERE)
85% of the positive feelings visitors have are due to the staff. Your booth staff is responsible for drawing in your customers, effectively engaging them and qualify them as leads. Because of this, it is important that you select the most effective staffers that your company has to offer.
If they are sales people, you have to train them to adapt their interaction style to the trade show floor. If they are not salespeople – they can still do extremely well, given the proper preparation. Above all, learning to read the minds of your booth visitors helps a great deal.
Check out the TED video and get to know the MINDS of your target audience.
Achieve Face to Face Likability — Unless you have products or services that sells by itself, you have to work on the personality of your booth staffers.
For starters, know how to smile. Yes, there is a fake smile and a great smile. A fake smile uses the zygomatic major muscle that runs from your jaw to the corner of the mouth. A genuine smile uses the orbicularis oculi muscle as well. The muscle surrounds your eyes and it makes your squint and produces crow's feet. The real smile is so special that it has it's own name: the Duchenne smile, in honor of Guillaume Duchenne, a French neurologist.
Image source: Digital Photography School
Brush up on the Formula of Perfect Handshake
Professor Geoffrey Beattie, devised a formula which looked at 12 inputs to get the perfect handshake.
(e) is eye contact (1=none; 5=direct) optimum value 5;
(ve) is verbal greeting (1=totally inappropriate; 5=totally appropriate) 5;
(d) is Duchenne smile – smiling in eyes and mouth, plus symmetry on both sides of face, and slower offset (1=totally non-Duchenne smile (false smile); 5=totally Duchenne) 5;
(cg) completeness of grip (1=very incomplete; 5=full) 5;
(dr) is dryness of hand (1=damp; 5=dry) 4; optimum value 4;
(s) is strength (1= weak; 5=strong) 3; optimum value 3;
(p) is position of hand (1=back towards own body; 5=other person’s bodily zone) 3;
(vi) is vigour (1=too low/too high; 5=mid) 3;
(t) is temperature of hands (1=too cold/too hot; 5=mid) 3;
(te) is texture of hands (5=mid; 1=too rough/too smooth) 3;
(c) is control (1=low; 5=high) 3;
(du) is duration (1= brief; 5=long) 3.
Professor Beattie mentions in the "Scientists Devise Guide to the Perfect Handshake" in perfectly pain english.
"The rules for men and women are the same: right hand, a complete grip and a firm squeeze (but not too strong) in a mid-point position between yourself and the other person, a cool and dry palm, approximately three shakes, with a medium level of vigour, held for no longer than two to three seconds, with eye contact kept throughout and a good natural smile with a slow offset with, of course, an appropriate accompanying verbal statement, make up the basic constituent parts for the perfect handshake."
Quick trick - Before you shake hands — rub your palms against each other — it generates heat and energy that gets transferred to the other party and he/she will be left with a feeling of your warm personality.
Harness the Right Words
— Use simple words, use active voice, keep it short, use common, unambiguous analogies... if you can always default to YES.
"A yes buys time, enables you to see more options and builds rapport." — The Frog and the Prince: Secrets of Positive Networking
Keep the above directives in mind when you show your booth staffers how to direct conversations toward learning more about visitors’ business needs. Educate them how to present your company’s products and services as attractive solutions. Engaging visitors and qualifying them according to their respective budgets, needs, and buying urgency requires asking good questions and listening attentively to the responses.
Now, the you know the underlying details that moves us as human beings, give your booth staffer greater comfort and confidence by training them to understand and follow a 4-step booth staffing process:
1. Engage: 30 seconds — Start the process by stopping attendees. Prepare and practice questions that won’t get a yes or no answer.
2. Qualify: 2 minutes — Determine if the prospect is worth presenting to … and what to present.
3. Present: 5 to 8 minutes — Demo on just the prospect’s needs, not everything you know. Prepare for common objections and questions.
4. Close: 1 minute — Lead card complete? Agree on the next step and go on to the next lead!
#3 – Make Lead Generation YOUR 'A' GAME
Of all the actions you take during the event, collecting leads will have the biggest impact on your success. The purpose of your trade show exhibit is to give your company exposure to your target market. The greater your exposure, the more people you’ll attract to your booth. However, just because a large number of attendees visit your booth doesn’t mean your efforts to draw them in will generate results. Make sure you are generating the right audience for your company — it works best when you know your ideal customer profile (look to your right). That should be discussed before you even get to the show and while you’re designing your booth.
To generate quality leads, encourage interactions based on:
1. Empathetic Listening (to the needs and concerns of your audience)
2. Insightful Observation (in order to detect new opportunities)
3. Design Thinking (for holistic solutions)
4. Creativity (focused on generating practical new ideas)
5. Presentation (of both visual and verbal communication)
As you focus on the above points, make notes on how the interaction serves the purpose of your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). This will give you down the road clue on how to engage your trade show attendees for your post-show follow up.
#4 – Promote BRAND AWARENESS Before the Event
Your trade show attendee walks into the show with a list of 75% of the exhibits he/she wants to see. That means you have to get on their dance card before the show. You can boost your trade show lead counts by 33% with trade show promotions – even though they require a much smaller percentage of your budget.
Trade shows are not only for meeting new prospects. They also give you an opportunity to connect, in person, with your current customers. When they visit your booth, the face-to-face interaction will help to strengthen your relationships with them. Let them know how much you appreciate their business and ask them how things are going. Maybe they’ll have a project coming up that they’d love to use you for since you’ve been so accessible and open with them.
So how do you get your customers to attend the show and visit your booth?
You have two options.
First, you can do nothing and simply hope they’ll stop by. Second, you can be proactive and promote your exhibit weeks, even months, before the big day arrives. Email your mailing list. Get the word out via social media. Promote it through direct mail. Share partial photos and captions through the stages of your event planning and share photos of your booth. Get attendees excited about an in-booth promotion you’ll be offering. A great way to get people to stop by is to offer a giveaway that can only be redeemed by stopping at the booth. That will be a great way to engage in conversation and see how you can solve their needs.
Word of Caution: Consider whether or not you can create a promotion that reflects the key messages you are trying to communicate at your show. Some simple examples:
If you are promoting a unique product or service would your promotion be considered by others as unique.
If your key message quality – would your promotions or giveaways be considered quality by others
#5 – GIVE Giveaways That PROVIDES MILEAGE AND INTERACTIVES THAT HELPS YOU ACQUIRE TACTICAL INSIGHTS
Promotional giveaways will attract attendees to your exhibit. Everyone likes free gifts, but cheap gifts makes your company look cheap. The key is offering giveaways that attendees are likely to keep and use over and over and can share it with their connected friends and followers. For example, movie tickets are great giveaways, specially if you can tie in with your products.
For example, coffee mugs with your company’s brand subtly displayed on the bottom are a great idea. So, too, are keychain flashlights, reusable water bottles, and travel-sized computer accessories, such as a mouse or pair of ear buds. Sustainability and climate change is the common thread that unites our planet — clever giveaways and call to actions directed toward this cause is bound to galvanize your audience.
Bad ideas include boomerangs, branded pens, and stress balls. They’re overplayed and offer little practical value.
Design high-tech interactives for instant gratification. Compliment it with low - tech design aides to engage in your post-show follow up (see image below). Yes, it is a lot of work. But, when you do this, are bound to strike a chord.
The idea is to root for a cause and then immerse your audience in your cause.
image source: pinterest
#6 – FOLLOW UP With Booth Visitors After the Event
Earlier, we noted that lead generation, among the various other actions you take at the event, will have the biggest impact on your success. But collecting leads is only half of the equation. Following up is other half of the equation. Only about 40% of sales people follow up on leads after the show.
Add creativity to your mix when you follow up with your prospect. Obviously, you will add the picture of the booth. But, when you add the little quirks and oddities of your low-tech interactives, you immediately show that you have been paying attention to them on the show floor.
image source: skyline and world wide web
Many exhibitors, even those who have years of in-the-trenches experience, neglect to follow up with the people they meet at the show. Instead, they shelf their hard-won leads with the intention of addressing them when they have more time. The problem is, targeted leads age quickly. Each day that passes allows them to further cool. After a few weeks, your chances of converting those leads to customers becomes slim. Did you know that only 47% of sales people follow up on their leads? Follow up needs to happen within 1-3 days after the show. Don’t let your hard work fall out underneath of your and your ROI plummet.
Given the time and resources you’re devoting to exhibiting, you want to do everything possible to maximize the ROI of your trade show exhibit. When the time comes to prepare for your next event, start planning early and get your timeline in order.
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