Trade shows are a big part of any company’s sales and marketing budget. Many companies participate in local, regional and national shows throughout the year. This adds up to numerous shows and big bucks. Such large sums of capital cause management to ask, “What are we getting in return for such large expenditures?” Sadly, many companies struggle to quantify the return on their trade show investment..
Even in 2016 with all of the information available online, serious customers still find trade shows indispensable. They are the best source for product information and one-stop-shopping. Trade shows are also a place to actively participate in relevant demos. Attendees visit, on average, 26 booths during a show. You need to make sure your booth is on their itinerary. Your booth has to convey that you are Open for Business, not Gone Fishin’.
In order to maximize your trade show investment, you’ll need to get down to basics. It is important to set goals and objectives that are measurable and achievable for each show. A few goals you may want to accomplish over last year’s performances are:
- Connect with a specific number of prospects or customers in total.
- Qualify a targeted number of people.
- Close more qualified prospects.
Certainly you may have other goals related to the number of new accounts developed or targeted accounts you may want to pursue. The most important overall goal should be to Close to the next step, whether that step is a meeting, an in-house demo, an RFQ/RFI and in some cases actually winning business!
In all situations, make no mistake, you are in the process of selling. Everyone who does booth duty must be able to develop and communicate a value statement that concisely tells the customer why your product or service is a unique solution with specific relevant benefits.
Your cost per qualified lead decreases and the odds of closing business increases, especially if you’re Open For Business at the show.