Approximately 31,000 exhibitions happen worldwide, every year. At these exhibitions, around 260 million people attend, and 88 per cent of them are personally involved in the buying decision. That’s a lot of people potentially interested in your company and what you have to say.
Exhibiting at a trade show is one of the best ways to meet genuinely engaged individuals – people who are actively interested in your products and services. However, many companies fail to make the most of this great opportunity. In fact, according to statistics, less than 1 in 5 businesses keep tracks of return on investment after a trade show. Even worse, 80 per cent don’t follow up the leads they generate from the event!
To make sure you get good results from your trade show experience, you’ll need to make sure that both you and your stand are primed and ready for action. Your stand will be scrutinised, judged and pored over – the question is, is it ready for the challenge?
1). So what? On the day, hundreds of people will be walking past your stand. They’ll survey your banner, your company literature and any products you have on display. The first question they’ll be asking of your exhibition stand is ‘so what?’ They’ll be wondering why your business is relevant to them – and if you don’t provide them with the answer in under 5 seconds (the average time it takes for a person to lose interest) then you’ve lost a potential lead.
It’s not enough to simply outline what your company does. You need to relate it directly to your target audience. Show them clearly: via marketing material, exhibition banners, digital displays and of course, by talking to them. Explain how your services benefit them. If your business solves a certain problem in their lives – tell them about it! Remember, these people are at the trade show because they’re actively interested in what you have to offer.
2). Who cares? You can wax lyrical for hours about your great services – but if you’re talking to the wrong people, you’re wasting your time. The solution? Make sure you’re attracting the right individuals. In fact, separating the valuable leads from the time-wasters is actually easier than you might think.
Make your exhibition stand do the hard work for you, by designing it to appeal directly to your target audience. If your services are only aimed at those who run a business, create a visible statement on your banner, identifying your business as ‘tailor-made for business- owners’. If you specialise in offering financial services to start-ups, emphasise this in your literature. And of course, before entering into any lengthy conversation, qualify from the start that they’re the right person to talk to.
3). What’s in it for me? Never lose sight of why you’re doing this show. Most importantly, it’s about return on investment. However, this doesn’t always mean short-term monetary gain. If you fail to close a single sale on the day, but walk away with 500 genuine leads, that’s also valuable. If you then manage to convert a quarter of those leads into buying customers, then you’ll have something to smile about!
However, in order for this to happen, you need to be proactive. It’s not enough to be passive and let your stand do all the talking – you need to focus on gathering contact details and getting your brand ‘out there’. You may also want to network with other exhibitors at the event – you never know when contacts can come in useful in the future.
If you offer services related to financing or investment, then the Business Funding Show (February 2016) is an ideal opportunity for you to connect directly with businesses actively seeking growth through financial support.
Alternatively, if you’re an intrepid start-up or SME, join the Business Funding Show as a visitor and find out more about the range of investment opportunities out there, all designed to help your business grow.