There is no better way to prepare for an upcoming trade show than setting up trade show appointments to meet your highly-valued contacts.
It gives you the opportunity to target key individuals and prepare a presentation in advance.
It’s like having a prospective client visit your offices in advance; you’d have more time to plan for your presentation and a better chance of making a positive impression.
However, a major challenge to these appointments is the increasing number of no-shows.
This is often caused by several issues including;
- Lack of commitment on the part of the prospect
- Change in the client’s priorities
- Information overload, and
- Unexpected opportunities the client might uncover with other exhibitors.
At first sight, most of these reasons seem reasonable and out of your control.
In any case, you can only do so much.
After putting in the effort to arrange a meeting, you may feel that the clients need to play their part.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always have to be so. Since you’re the one looking to book new orders and win long term customers, its good practice to go all the way.
Remember that clients are usually looking for a solution to their problem.
Their main reason for attending your exhibition is to find these solutions. It’s upon you to convince them that you can help them. If you do so, there is a greater chance that they will keep their appointments.
Here are 5 tips for setting up trade show appointments you could apply to reinforce the value of the meeting and significantly reduce the chances of a no-show.
Conduct an aggressive appointment scheduling and follow-up campaign
Allow your sales reps to do the follow up because it’s likely that they’ve established a relationship with the client.
If the reps won’t be at the show, inform the clients about it in advance and tell them who they will meet instead and the credibility of that person.
Build rapport leading up to the trade show
Start by confirming each appointment either through text message or e-mail.
If the client will be meeting someone other than the sales rep, take this opportunity to introduce this person to the client. This can be done via a quick note or even better through a phone call.
Staying in touch over the period leading up to the show will give the person and client a chance to uncover issues the client is trying to solve.
Consider last minute reminders
Last minute reminders are vital and can easily be the difference between attendance and a no-show.
If you have the client’s phone number, call or send them a text message during the show to confirm their attendance.
Alternatively, if you know where they will be staying, leave a message at their hotel.
Put time aside for the meeting
Showing up for a meeting and then being forced to wait for half an hour or more as the staff finishes up with another customer is a big turn off.
Schedule your appointments in such a way that clients get into the meeting right away – no queues.
Additionally, use a clear welcome sign to show the client that you’re ready to meet him or her.
Provide a tangible reminder of the meeting
This can be a small gift or a product sample.
For best results, place it out of sight and only give it to the client after you’re through with the meeting as a way of saying - thank you.
Remember that even after the meeting, you still need to follow up.
Confirm that the client was satisfied and find out how else you can help.