What is the value of attending a small trade show when you can meet a higher number of prospects at a large one? The answer lies in the actual demographic of the attendees.
If you are a manufacturer of baby strollers and you attend a trade show for maternity stores, everyone at the show is an ideal prospect. Compared to showing up on the floor of a more general consumer goods exposition, the prospect of qualified, strong leads and purchases is much higher.
Therefore, it is better to plan ahead. Here are 5 ways to take advantage of a small trade show:
1. Identifying and Converting High-Quality Attendees
The lifeblood of any successful show are high-quality attendees. These people who will help you grow your business are exactly the type of customers a company comes to a trade show to attract. Therefore, do your research into each trade show and the people who typically attend before you register as an exhibitor. Don’t just take the show organizers word for it, ask other businesses who have attended in the past, as well. Trade shows are all about numbers, but a large number of bad prospects ultimately wastes time and resources.
2. Focus on One Objective at the Trade Show
Before attending a show, each and every exhibitor needs to decide their show objective. Is it to generate sales leads or to test a new product and get feedback from potential customers or clients? Perhaps it’s just to study the competition up close? Many companies use trade shows to meet with specific regional customers or recruit new employees. With so many people in one place, trade shows are a cost-effective method of prospecting.
Whatever it is pick one and devote the vast majority of your energy toward it. With that focus, you’ll be more effective.
3. Train Employees to Present at the Booth
Like any other skill, learning how to market a company at a trade show needs to be learned. And taught. Every person in a booth needs to have a role and needs to know how to manage that role to maximize your booth presence. Give solid talking points that must be covered or write a script for booth staff. Another team member might be focused on gathering lead contact info, while others present. Practice and hone the desired trade show skills weeks before stepping out onto the floor.
4. Learn the Hotspots of the Trade Show
As an exhibitor, you have a limited amount of time to sort through prospects and decide whom to engage further. Use the advance information about the show’s layout, activities and speakers to identify where the most likely places are to meet ideal customers. Then plan available time accordingly in order to be in front of the best-qualified prospects.
5. Leave Your Business Card
Exhibitors are often eager attendees as well, roaming the floor because the industry fascinates them. In that role of attendee, while there may be times just leaving a business card is not the best option, trade shows are a good place to do so.
People go to trade shows to expand their prospect list, therefore if a booth is crowded, leave a card with a short note showing an interest and representatives will contact you later. Since companies spend a lot of money on attending trade shows, they will take the time to contact and track good leads.
If a business can’t budget for a certain trade show, look for extra funds through several grant and discount opportunities. Some industries are better with these than others but at least look into it.
Thinking ahead and developing a strategy translates into a solid return in financial and time investment for expos. If a business stays focused on the quality of prospects over quantity, trade show marketing creates an influx of valuable prospects and customers.