Exhibitions or Trade shows are an ideal way to generate new leads for your business. Even with all the readily available marketing tools at our disposal these days, meeting face-to-face is still the most effective way to develop a professional relationship. Not only that, but exhibition halls are filled with highly-targeted prospects actively looking to connect within your specific industry.
To help you get the most from your exhibiting experience, we’ve highlighted 5 rules to follow which will help you generate those valuable leads at your next trade show.
Rule #1 First impressions count – Communicate your brand message in 3 seconds or less.
There is nothing more important than making a good solid first impression. Apparently your first opinion of someone forms in only one tenth of a second. With a brand, they say your first opinion takes only one fifth of a second (…..and 94% of this is design related.)
OK, so we know 99 % of statistics are made up on the spot! – but there is certainly some truth in a first impression being formed within a very short space of time. And it is much harder to shake a bad impression once made than it is to create a good one in the first place.
Make sure your exhibition stand communicates your message clearly and succinctly. Don’t confuse your prospects. If you are launching a new product, make the whole display about that. If you are introducing a new brand – then branding should be your focus.
People are essentially lazy and need to be guided as to where to look and how to navigate your stand. When done properly, good design along with clear and engaging graphics will do most of the work for you.
Rule #2 Monkey see Monkey do! – People gravitate towards other people.
When you get the choice of a crowded restaurant next to an empty one, people will choose the crowded restaurant. The theory is that it’s more popular so it must be better. The same effect applies to exhibition stands on a busy trade show floor.
No-one likes to feel they are on their own or the odd-man out so they don’t want to be the first to venture onto an empty exhibition stand. People are inherently more comfortable if they are one of the pack.
Some exhibitors will employ “spruikers” to entice people in. But here’s another (….and much cheaper) idea; get your own employees to act like visitors and create a buzz around your stand. Get staff to interact with each other (…but obviously make sure your stand managers are free to engage with the real prospects.)
Rule #3 Interaction is engaging – Give your visitors something to do.
Interaction between your brand and your visitors is beneficial to both parties. If you can get potential customers to employ some kind of physical connection with your brand, it will help them remember you – and you can use the interaction to collect data and information.
Whether it is in the form of a competition where prospects leave their details – or as a ‘hands-on’ demonstration of one of your products or even just a backdrop for photos to upload on social media platforms, anything which involves your visitors interacting and connecting in some way can only be a good thing.
Rule #4 Don’t sell, ‘Gell’ – Show interest in others and they’ll show interest in you.
Don’t just be about the hard sell. Exhibitions and trade shows are all about creating opportunities, networking and solidifying your brand’s position in your industry. Use your time to create new, and nurture existing relationships by actively showing interest in your visitors, your neighbours and even your competitors.
Ask any visitors about their company and where they came from first. Not only is it useful information for you, but they will naturally follow up by asking you the same. This kind of conversational ‘sell’ is a far more natural approach and more effective than the ‘hard sell’.
You might make some mutually beneficial contacts amongst other exhibitors too. Think about any opportunities which could open up if you were to partner with brands selling different products and services but to the same target market.
Rule #5 Follow up Fast – Don’t give your potential customers time to forget who you are.
Follow up on all your leads as soon as you can after the show. The longer you wait the longer they have to forget who you are.
Visitors will have had many interactions at the trade show, and as much as you want to believe that, as an exhibitor you were different and stood out from the rest, it’s tough for those visitors to remember every single name and product once back in the office.
A quick prompt from you could be all it takes to put your business back in the forefront of their mind. Don’t be afraid of reaching out too quickly. The day after the show is not too soon to follow up with potential prospects. Waiting too long will dilute the connection.
If you need help with your next exhibition or trade show contact Exhibitionco today and call on our many years of experience in the exhibition industry.