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Part 2 - How to Prepare for a Trade Show and Justify Your Budget

Part 2 - How to Prepare for a Trade Show and Justify Your Budget

Published: October 26, 2016 Updated: October 28, 2016

Before you get start, make sure to read part one here.

Step Two

Organize your on-site participation. Hold a pre-show meeting or conference call with all exhibit staff. Provide supporting handouts and a list of your objectives. Tell your exhibit staff what you expect from them. Make sure that processes are set up and people who work in the booth are aware of the processes that you’ll use to measure show success.

Hold a contest to reward individuals who are able to complete the intended attendee transaction. The chances of closing a sale goes up based on the number of contacts you have with a prospect. Ideally, you’ll use the show to set up appointments. So, trade shows are a great way to set up an initial meeting with a prospect to kick-off the sales cycle. Over 80% of sales are made after the fifth contact meaning that you need to have multiple contacts with your customers. Why not start at the show!

Step Three

Follow-up on all leads after the show and again, two to three months after the show. Be aware that 48% of sales people never follow-up with a prospect. Therefore, it’s imperative that a follow-up strategy is developed and implemented as part of the show activities.

Think of a show as a market research project. The show is actually equivalent to collecting the data. The data doesn’t have value until you evaluate it, understand it, and work to draw conclusions. A show won’t have value until you collect the leads, follow-up with the leads, collect results, and report on the results.

Also, sales occur when a customer is aware of a company’s brand products, services, and reputation. Low awareness can result from insufficient person-to-person contact, lack of inquiry follow-up (follow-up reinforces memorability) or poor identification of company name in an exhibit. As you follow-up with prospects, consider the follow-up engagement more than just a sales call. Survey for changes in awareness, company preference, buying plans and attendees’ perceptions of your company’s service.

Step Four

After the show, develop a first draft of your post-show report. Capture all the things you would have done differently, information on competitors’ exhibits and attendance, as well as performance of exhibit staff or adequacy of staffing. Measure the average number of visitors per salesperson per hour. About ten visitors per salesperson per hour is average.

If you don’t write this information down immediately after the show (or even during the show) you’ll forget these type of details, which can make the difference. Capture this information with as much specificity as possible and include in  your post-show report to ensure you have all data when preparing next year’s budget.

Follow-up on your objectives and include conclusions and recommendations in your analysis.

Utilize the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, Exhibit Surveys pre-event and post-event measurement tools, and publications such as Exhibitor to gather industry statistics. Exhibit Surveys also provides white papers and information on exhibit trends and market research.

By planning ahead, you can maximize the effectiveness of your programs and build a platform with which to justify your participation in trade shows. 

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