A trade show is a big investment for most businesses, but you can get the best return on the money you spend getting there by developing a strong list of measurable goals and objectives. From lead capture and brand awareness to spotting trends and keeping an eye on your competitors, here’s how to make the most of your next show.
For many, the whole point of attending is to capture leads for a salesperson or team to call on later. By setting up a fun contest or giveaway, you can not only secure leads, you can track your success and incorporate the leads directly into your CRM or distribute as needed amongst your team. A good lead capture app will also work offline, so you never have to worry about the usual problem with spotty wifi connections at busy trade shows.
See What your Competitors Are Up To
You may sell the same product or service, but a trade show offers you an ideal opportunity to see not only who your competitor is most aggressively targeting, but the methods they are using to entice these prospects. Take time to browse the show and set a goal of coming away with notes on each of your competitors to see not only what they are selling, but how they are doing it. Your key sales and marketing team members should do the same and you can compare notes in a meeting after the event is complete.
Socially Engage with Existing Customers
It costs so much less to sell “more” to an existing customer than it does to acquire new ones. A trade show is an ideal place for a quick touchpoint or reward for a loyal customer and addressing their needs and thanking them for their business can help cement loyalty and improve retention, too.
Introduce “X” Customers to your Other Product Lines
Customers who love your brand and are satisfied with the line they purchase may be able to be converted easily to your other products, as long as they are aware they exist. A trade show is a valuable opportunity to showcase what “else” you do to your existing current customers. Set a goal based on your own circumstances and the number of customers you know you’ll see at the show and this metric could boost orders and post-show revenues with ease.
Expand your Network by “X” New Leads
Make a measurable goal for lead generation during the event, targeting those prospects who you know are aware of your brand but that you have not been able to connect with in the past. Turning these prospects into warm leads for your team could be as simple as interacting with them in your booth and offering a fun premium or prize in exchange for a quick survey (complete with contact details).
Measure Pre-Show Contacts
One of the best ways to make sure your booth is abuzz with activity and to generate interest is to connect with your existing contacts and clients in advance. Let them know you’ll be there (provide your booth number) and that you’d love to see them/have a gift for them/are hosting a client only event. Set a target number of pre-show touch points and you’ll be able to measure success as these previously contacted clients begin to trickle into your booth.
Gather Value Proposition Intel
Why do your existing customers buy, and what do they love most about your brand? The answers may surprise you and you’ll only know if you ask. A quick and easy on-site survey can yield the information you need and allow you to fine tune your value proposition for later positioning.
Gather Information from Other Vendors
The products that your clients and prospects love may have some relevance for you as well. Take a loop around the floor to get a sense of what booths in your industry, but that do not directly compete with you, have to offer. You may find some surprising partnering opportunities or information about services you could offer as ancillary to your primary products.
Many of us wait until a show to probe or launch a new product; make a goal of checking out not only new products but new trends. A show is a good opportunity to take a fresh new look at your industry and spot the hottest trends.
Meet Channel Partners in Person
Cement your relationship by taking time to meet at the show; you can set a goal of meeting with “X” number of existing channel partners or of exploring possibilities with new partners. This is a unique opportunity to meet in a neutral space and hammer out any details or make plans for the future.
Whether you’re there for sales leads, want to see what your competition is up to or even want to explore partnership opportunities, a trade show is an ideal location to move closer to your goals.
Also published on Medium.