Want to maximize your return on investment from your next trade show? Done the right way, a trade show or convention can be a fantastic way to expand your business, with the potential to generate an ROI far beyond conventional marketing methods.
Done the wrong way, however, trade shows can be expensive exercises in marketing that often don’t generate the results you’d hoped for.
If you’re part of a small or mid-sized business, one of the most effective ways to increase your trade show ROI is by focusing on making deals and driving direct business, instead of viewing the event as an opportunity for branding and exposure.
Below, we’ve listed five ways you can put this plan into action by meeting with more prospective customers, closing more deals and driving more results from your next trade show.
Master the 30 to 60-second sales pitch
Trade shows are fast-paced, exciting environments. Not only will people visit your booth — they’ll also pop by the exhibits of your competitors. This makes it especially important to be able to get people attention and interest as quickly as possible.
If you’re exhibiting at a trade show for the first time, make sure your sales representatives have a quick, simple and effective pitch ready for new prospects. As a general rule, it’s best to restrict your pitch to 60 seconds — optimally, you should be able to “hook” someone in 30 seconds.
An effective pitch that explains how your product or service works, why it’s of value and how it’s helpful to the prospect’s specific situation is often all it takes to start a conversation — one that can often turn into a lucrative sale or contract.
Consider renting a room or suite at the event location
If you’re attending a trade show at a hotel, one of the best things you can do to close more deals and meet more prospects is to rent a suite at the hotel itself.
Closing deals can be tough on the crowded, noisy and busy floor of an exhibition center or hotel exhibition space. Renting a suite gives you a quiet, private place to talk with prospects and work out the finer details of any potential deals.
If you’re taking part in a trade show at an exhibition center, consider asking the organizers if it’s possible to rent a private room inside the building. Often, exhibition centers will have rooms for rent for exhibitors, designed to provide a private space for negotiations and dealmaking.
Give prospects an incentive to make a deal then and there
One of the most effective ways to increase your conversion rate and generate more revenue at a trade show is to offer a special deal for customers and clients that sign on to work with your business during the event.
Just like limited time offers work fantastically in retail, they can be hugely valuable sales tools in a trade show environment. By offering a special discount or bonus for purchases made while the event is ongoing, you create a time-based incentive for prospects to take action.
Often, this is all it takes to convert a prospect’s mentality from “we’ll make a deal in the future” to “we’ll make a deal now” to capitalize on the extra value you have to offer. From a discount to an extra service or free upgrade, a small form of extra value is often all it takes to produce results.
Organize meetings with top prospects before the event
Do you have prospective customers attending the show? Before the event, reach out directly to the businesses and individuals you’d like to meet with and aim to set up as many meetings and drop-in visits to your exhibit as possible.
Many companies attend trade shows with a “built it and they will come” mentality — an approach that doesn’t always convert into results. While some prospects will pop into your trade show booth on their own, many need a quick “push” to feel inspired to meet with your team.
Often, a quick email or phone call is all it takes to put your business on a prospect’s radar and convince them to meet with you. As such, it’s always worth calling and emailing your targets in the days and weeks leading up to every trade show you attend.
Meet up with your customers to expand existing relationships
In addition to organizing meetings with prospective customers to discuss new relationships, it’s always worth meeting up with your existing customers whenever you exhibit at a trade show or other event.
There’s an old saying — “your existing customers are worth more than new ones” — that couldn’t be more true. Meeting your existing customers at a trade show is a great way to strengthen your existing relationships and, in some cases, expand the level of business you do together.
After all, your existing customers have a proven, long-term track record of spending money with your business. A quick five to ten-minute meeting is often all it takes to reconnect and bring up the possibility of a new sale, service or contract that strengthens your bottom line.
Generate a higher ROI at your next trade show
From custom exhibit design to shipping and assembly, we specialize in helping businesses of all sizes generate positive results from trade show marketing. Contact us now to learn more about how we can help your business achieve maximum ROI from your next trade show.