If you’re new to trade shows, you’re probably trying to figure out the right balance between promoting your business and actually doing business on the show floor. Show management limits what level of business transactions you’re allowed to perform. Even though you may think of your booth space as your temporary storefront, you aren’t supposed to exchange payment and send shoppers off with a bag of paid-for items like in a retail store.
Yet, we still do business at a trade show. After all, our ultimate goal is to win new sales.
In most cases, you’ll find interested buyers at a trade show who aren’t ready to make the purchase, yet, anyway. They may want to get back to the office, talk it over with other team members, review budgets and work through the typical sales cycle. But what happens if someone is on the hook and ready to buy? Most trade shows allow you to take orders, including payment, as long as the merchandise is shipped to the buyer at a later date. Check your exhibitor service manual for the official show rules and regulations.
It’s really important that you arm your exhibitor staff with all the tools (e.g., your accounting software) to collect order and payment details. Also consider incorporating a semi-private area within your booth design to conduct such business. Your trade show staff need to be fully trained to convert leads on the spot.
If you have a highly interested buyer, invite them to grab a coffee or lunch with you away from the noisy booth. This gives you a chance to discuss their wants and needs more in-depth. You may also consider renting a private room in the convention hall or show’s hotel to further conduct business while you’re in town.
Trade shows are where you can establish a business relationship; doing it face-to-face is such a perk in today’s digital world. Therefore, lead generation is obviously a top priority for trade show exhibitors. You want to collect qualified leads so your sales team can nurture and convert them after the show. But so many people are hesitant to give up their contact information.
But even with lead retrieval solutions, it doesn’t always come easy.
Exhibitor: Can I scan your badge?
Attendee: No way! Never! Get the heck away from me! What badge; there’s no badge here? I’m just taking your freebie and running!
This happens all day long like a broken record.
Let’s be honest. If there were 500 exhibitors asking to scan my badge, because they all want to inundate my email Inbox in the next week, I’m going to be hesitant to let anyone scan my badge, too. Wouldn’t you?
Get creative in how you ask for contact information. Instead of you scanning their badge, perhaps they take action, such as texting a short code to sign-up for valuable information. Or maybe they have to give you their contact details in order to participate in your in-booth experiential activity.
We believe that lead generation needs to be a value exchange, and that’s why an experiential marketing strategy can be leveraged for your trade shows.
We also value quality over quantity. If they opt in, they’re highly interested. And that’s going to improve your conversion rate after the show.
Quit chasing away your booth visitors with the badge reader. Instead, make your trade show booth a meaningful experience that delivers results for both you and the attendee.
When it comes to trade show success, follow-up is key. Whether it’s during the show or immediately following, have a follow-up plan for your sales team. It might be old school, but I recommend direct phone calls to all interested leads. An effective email strategy will also drive sales.
We specialize in creating trade show experiences that increase sales and lead to conversions. Hit us up if you’re interested in boosting your show’s ROI. Until then, we have a handy trade show exhibitor guide that you can download for free by clicking the link below.