Trade shows provide a fantastic opportunity to see your customers, meet potential new ones and try to parlay your investment into increased sales and activity for your company. For many companies, the value of a successful trade show is in new business that gets booked. Whichever way your team measures a successful trade show, it’s important to maximize the return on investment of your trade show visits. Let’s explore below some of the ways to do this.
Analyze the Contacts
Keep track of leads you generate: Ranking the quantity of leads doesn’t necessarily indicate their quality, but it can help you compare the types of attendees of certain trade shows. One way to do this is to track the number of leads generated and the numbers of those that converted to eventual sales. For those leads that don’t turn into sales as a direct result of the show, this metric can tell you which shows your customers are attending (and at which ones you should be exhibiting).
Evaluate the quality of those orders: In addition to tracking the number of orders, check the quality of those orders gained at shows. You might get more total orders from one show than another, but they might be smaller or one-time buys from customers you never see again. You might get smaller initial orders from one show, but it could be new clients who are testing you, or get you into a territory you’ve been trying to enter. These new accounts can lead to bigger long-term clients.
Follow-up with new accounts: New accounts can help your business grow exponentially. They might need more hand-holding at first, so follow up with materials from your trade show display that help these contacts understand your product benefits, features, warranties, customer service and any buyer discounts or other programs in place. Make sure to send samples to these contacts. Don’t assume the samples they picked up at your booth made it all the way home and to the office.
7 points of contact: There’s a sales adage that notes you generally have to have seven different touch points with a prospect before they become a customer. Maybe you didn’t book a sale at the show or even several months after meeting a prospect. That’s OK, some customers aren’t ready to buy – yet. Avoid hard selling, such as asking for orders multiple times. Instead, add your leads to your client newsletter. Or send emails with interesting information to prospects you want to maintain – without making a sale pitch. Forward links to articles that might be helpful to your clients. Or send short customer success stories, or case studies, detailing how your product or service helped a customer save money, increase sales or achieved another benefit.
Other ways to create maximum ROI for trade show investments is to review your sorted leads before your next trade show and use them to determine your level of attention at the upcoming show. You can only entertain so many clients in a 2-3 day period, and they can only attend so many lunches or concerts. Arrange meetings with hot leads before a trade show, it makes it more difficult for your competitors to book your prospects’ time at the show.
Have a Team Meeting: After the show, bring your sales, marketing and production teams together to discuss the leads from the show. Each team might be able to suggest ways to maximize the time spent and the leads gained.
Work with an Expert Consultant: Trade show displays are more than just booth walls, flooring, lighting and signage. Companies like Northwest Creative Imaging can help you create the optimal display space depending on the type of show you’re attending, type of clients you’ll be prospecting and type of desired interactions. Take advantage of a free consultation with one of NWCI’s experts today.