Congratulations, you have already stopped yourself from making the number one mistake companies make during trade show exhibits and that is to not research ahead. By simply choosing to read this article you are one step ahead of the competition and thus have a greater chance of basking in the glory of trade show success.
The following are 6 mistakes companies when participating in a trade show.
Undermining the Trade Show Booth Design
Trade shows are crowded and people often choose which direction they want to walk towards based on the visual. That means they go to visual interest points to visual interest points. The trick is to be one of these visually appealing booths. Unless you are an expert in booth design, it’s best to hire one of the many trade show companies to do the design for you.
Approaching Everyone Who Passes By
Not everyone on the trade show floor is a potential customer. Some are support staff for the event, others can be employees of other booths. Even if they are a customer, make sure to screen them first to ensure that they are truly interested and not just wasting your time. Ask specific questions to sniff out people who are not interested. For instance, if you are trying to sell printer toners ask, “what toner do you use in your office printer now?” That will help you start a conversation and figure if the person is a potential customer.
Not Hiring Sales People with Industry Knowledge
It’s a myth that a good salesman can sell anything from a ballpoint pet to a house. Yes, good sales people have a lot of traits in common, like being a good listener and understanding customer needs. However, that’s just scraping the surface of what it takes to be a good sales person. A trait that’s often forgotten is industry knowledge. In other words, if you want to sell bikes hire a biker with good sales skills.
That way your sales people remain motivated and are truly excited about the features of your products and services. Surrounding your trade show booth with sales people who are experts in your industry is a good way to ensure they can hold their own when speaking to a true enthusiast.
Focusing on Sales Pitches Instead of Interesting Conversation
Nothing drives away customers faster than a sales executive starting a robotic conversation. Stuff like, “Can I take a moment of your time to speak about the benefits of our new products?” makes people want to leave. Even if they are polite enough to listen to the entire sales pitch, it’s likely to generate a negative response.
Instead of a sales script, hire people who are smart and can start an interesting conversation. Encourage them to start casual conversation highlighting the most interesting feature first to instantly capture the customers’ attention. Train them to wait for customers to admire the product and then drop a detail to start a casual conversation. For instance, you see a customer checking your product and you can start a conversation saying, “you know, this has XYZ feature, which no one else has at the moment.” Allow the customer to respond and start a conversation instead of bombarding him or her with a pitch.
Not Following Up Leads Fast Enough
Leads collected during a trade show go stale really fast. People who may seem interested at the time may not be as interested after a few days. It also makes sense to take orders right on the floor instead of just collecting leads. There are many impulse buyers who prefer signing a deal at the trade show. Collecting their contact details and not closing the deal right then and there can cause you to lose the business.
For leads collected, you can call up the very next day. That way the memory of the trade show and more importantly what caused them to be interested in your product is fresh on the minds of your prospects. You also need to remember that your competitors on the trade show floor are also collecting leads and you need to beat them to the punch.
Being to Ambiguous About What Your Brand Offers
Big brands with huge marketing budgets can get away with a bit of ambiguous marketing. They can do a tease of a new product or service without revealing much to the public. This, however, is a poor strategy for small businesses. In a lot of cases, people have no brand awareness and thus no patience to stick around in your booth if they don’t know what you are offering. Make sure the booth design reflects the benefits of your product as clearly as possible.