Click The Reed Gift Fair and AGHA Tradeshow are two of the biggest events on the retail calendar. It now covers both Jeff’s Shed (The Melbourne Convention Centre) and the Melbourne Show Grounds. For anyone who has exhibited at a tradeshow or broad scale event, you’ll know it’s downright exhausting. At times, it’s damn boring. It also requires massive follow-up to realise the benefits.
I took a moment to explore what worked from my experience as a customer, from the other side of the trade show booth (as a buyer, not a seller).
Here are my 5 hacks that will help you deliver sales outcomes from your tradeshow labour of love:
1. Get email addresses
Most event organisers now make this super easy by providing a barcode to guests that exhibitors can scan to collect details. We had more than 20 conversations during our visit and only two exhibitors did this. We were genuinely interested in purchasing from at least half of those who we were able to speak to.
Whether you go old school and collect business cards, or you use the technology available, you must must must gain contact details for your follow-up campaigns.
You can use a business card converter app to expedite the annual process.
It’s important to develop a dashboard for the event. Tracking the number of conversations, leads and subsequent sales will enable you to use good metrics and develop a business case for future events.
2. Develop an automated event follow-up
Get the interested prospects in the buying window by developing an automated email campaign. Using even the most basic of email solutions such as MailChimp, Privvy or Active Campaign, you can upload all the leads from each day and send off a communication while your product is still front of mind. Connect to a simple survey tool where prospects can self-select which products they are interested in and when. You can include links to Credit Application forms, catalogues and anything else you need to make it really easy to purchase from you.
3. Create a tradeshow offer
The Event Customer Value Proposition: why you, and why now?
Be really clear that need and urgency are the two factors which will expedite your customers through the sales funnel.
It does not have to be a giveaway, and it does not have to erode your margin. It simply has to add value. It could be offer of a free consultation, additional products or samples, information or research materials that support your customers’ education. Whatever. As long as it’s timely (available only for the tradeshow period) and genuinely appeals to the needs of your prospects, it will yield results.
Think too about your existing customers. Can you warm them up by offering them something of value they can collect on the day?
My experience: 20 plus conversations and no compelling offers (yes, I was feeling unloved).
4. Provide takeaway literature
An informative pack with pricing and pictures of your offer is helpful. Tell prospects what you do, how you can help, and include your contact details. Simple yet only about half the exhibitors did this.
You can also offer to provide information by email (reduces cost and environmental impact too). Just actually do it if you say you are going to.
5. Get on the phone.
While it varies by industry, you generally need ten warm leads to deliver one sale. Action leads immediately following the event. Using your CRM (or even an Excel sheet will do the trick) rank your leads and then work your way down the list pronto.
PS. Always have someone at the stand! It’s pretty hard to sell if you’re not there to talk to your customers.
PPS. Always always wear the most comfortable shoes you own.
Over to you. Which techniques have you used at events and fairs that gave you good returns?