Whatever industry your business is in, you need to have a presence at your industry's major trade shows and regional events. Trade shows provide opportunities to reach decision makers in your industry. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, increasing sales is the single most common trade show goal for 83 percent of marketers.
Warm Leads, Hot Sales
Trade shows are the best place to find warm leads of qualified buyers rather than cold calls. Statistics show that up to 92 percent of trade show attendees are specifically there to learn about new products and services.
Exhibiting at trade shows is also a great way to network with other industry exhibitors and keep an eye on your competitors. If you have a new product in development, trade shows are the perfect place to perform market research.
Prospects Come at a Price
Of course, all this comes at a cost. In the U.S., trade shows are one of the most profitable business-to-business (B2B) marketing strategies, generating more than $12.8 billion in revenue in 2016.
Exhibiting at trade shows requires a financial outlay – costs range from exhibit fees to booth displays to promotional giveaways, and more. But trade show staffing is perhaps the single greatest factor that will determine whether you see ROI for your investment.
When it comes to dealing with trade show staffing, you want solutions to ensure your success. So, without further delay, here are some quick tips for successful trade show staffing.
1. Know the Industry
It may be tempting to hire temporary staff who live in the event's destination city because you can avoid travel costs such as flight, hotel and meals. But think carefully about the image you want to present to your customers and prospects. An hourly wage worker who knows nothing about your industry – nor its jargon, lingo and players – will put off industry buyers and representatives. These folks attend trade shows expecting to talk shop. Plan to send someone to represent your business who knows the industry – and its players and products – well.
2. Presentation Perfection
Another reason you shouldn't rely on local trade show staffing is you can't count on the fact that a staff person's grooming, appearance and personal wardrobe will present the image you want. Instead, send a professional whose presentation you can count on to deliver a successful event. This person should always appear well-groomed from head to toe, be physically attractive or pleasing and have invested in presentable professional attire. For successful trade show staffing, consider those who are extroverted and who genuinely enjoy chatting with people.
3. Communicate KPIs
Your staff person should know ahead of time what you expect to gain from exhibiting at your event. Prior to the trade show, identify objectives and key performance indicators and discuss these with your trade show representative.
How will you and your staff person know whether the event was a success? Number of leads captured? Booth sales? Or some other metric? Once your booth representative knows your trade show goals, they will be much more likely to achieve them.
4. Preparation Pays
According to industry experts, 90 percent of the work that goes into a trade show should happen before your staff person arrives at the event venue. This means the booth displays, signage and show materials should be planned and designed months in advance. Promotional giveaways should be ordered with the trade show's audience in mind and shipped to the venue ahead of time.
You should also prepare talking points for your trade show staff to ensure they communicate key points in their face-to-face discussions with industry professionals.
5. Show Must Go On
Finally, for successful trade show staffing, you need to feel certain your booth representative will show up on time during exhibit hours and will stay late if booth traffic merits it. Your staff should have the self-discipline to honor the exhibit hours instead of sitting in the show hotel bar with other exhibit personnel. No matter how small or large your industry, you can count on the fact that people will talk. Discretion and professionalism are necessary when selecting who will represent your brand at a trade show event.
Whatever your industry, we at Sonas Marketing can help you plan successful events and promotions that will help your business stand out in the crowd. We work with many types of companies, including media, medical, food and beverage and the craft alcohol industries. Please contact us to discuss more ways to ensure your industry trade show investment pays.