Tradeshows are an excellent source of new business and platform to touch base with clients and suppliers. Best practices dictate that tradeshows should be a complementary tool in your sales funnel. However, even those without a systematized sales process can experience compressed sales cycles, and deeper connections to clients.
First, determine which tradeshows to attend and of these, at which to exhibit. Critically examine the returns – both financial and non-financial – for your company.
Set a primary objective: Choose a primary and secondary goal to guide all booth-related decisions. The goal should be measurable – for example, set a target number of qualified leads to-be generated.
Assign a show champion: This is the one person who is ultimately responsible for performance at the show.
Develop a budget: How much will be spent should be driven in part by the return on investment (ROI) expected.
Determine your target market: Research the attendee profile. Are expected visitors existing customers? Do they have the potential to be customers? What are some of the reasons they attend?
Obtain exhibitor & attendee lists: Find prospects, evaluate whether the tradeshow is worth attending vs. exhibiting at, and use as a source of contact information for pre-show marketing.
Market to prospects: Let prospects know you will be there and that you would like to see them. Where applicable, schedule a meeting before or after to have more in-depth one-on-one contact.
Market to existing customers: Talk to clients about specific opportunities that are coming up, or introduce new offerings.
Become seminar speakers: Increases company exposure. Gather contact information from the attendees for follow-up.
Schedule demonstrations: Schedule demonstrations throughout the day (15 min. or so each) – aim to be more memorable than any other booth at the tradeshow.
Explore other co-promotion opportunities: Align with like-minded exhibitors and speakers to direct traffic to your booth, and provide possible partnership opportunities after the show.
Tara Landes is the President and Founder of Bellrock Benchmarking Inc., a Vancouver-based Management Consulting firm. Want to learn more about Tradeshows and Sales Training? Download this white paper or give Tara a call at (604) 499-1526.