Previously, we covered the steps involved in successfully preparing a trade show. However, that’s only the beginning. Once you’ve done your due diligence, you cannot just attend the trade show and expect it will be smooth sailing. You will need a plan to set yourself up for the greatest chance of success. We give our five top tips to execute a trade show successfully.

1. Prepare

There are a few things to note when planning for trade shows. Firstly, trade shows require a significant amount of input from both the sales and marketing teams. When planning, it’s important there is a clear line of communication between the two so their goals align.

Secondly, you should aim to keep your costs as low as possible. In particular, you should detail what material you will need to take to the trade show, and what equipment you may need to hire from the organiser. Wherever possible, it will be cheaper to purchase or hire equipment yourself rather than hire it from the organiser.

Some other key costs and materials you will need to consider include:

  • Flights;
  • Accommodation;
  • Marketing materials (flyers, banners, giveaways, etc.);
  • Electronic equipment (power boards, laptops, tablets, etc.);
  • Stationary; and
  • Stand furniture.

Most importantly, don’t forget mints. No one wants to speak to you if you have smelly breath.

2. Define Pre-show Targets

In the lead up to the event, identify key attendees and exhibitors you would be interested in meeting. You might consider sending an email a week beforehand, letting them know that you are exhibiting and would be interested in catching up for a fifteen minute chat or coffee. Pre-prospecting will ensure you focus on quality, and not quantity in the lead up to the event. Concentrating on high-quality leads will ensure you are not wasting time following up and meeting with low-value prospects.

3. Be Engaging at the Trade Show

During the trade show, your primary goal will be to have as many quality conversations with leads as possible. This goal means that you should be engaging with attendees. You may consider switching off your phone, and even turning on your ‘out of office’ autoresponder via email.

The morning and afternoon of trade shows are often your best opportunity to introduce yourself to other exhibitors. These times are usually when the trade show is less busy.

Fellow exhibitors will often work in a similar industry, and there will be potential for partnerships or cross-referral opportunities. Obviously, be respectful of them, and if they are speaking to an attendee you can come back and speak to them at a later stage.

4. Follow Up

Your work has only just begun after the trade show finishes. When you get back into the office, this is when the follow-up process begins.

You may consider sending an initial email, reminding the lead who you were and what you discussed.

Although templates make the process faster, you’ll have much greater success if you customise your emails. Quite often you’ll find that a lot of the initial enthusiasm they had when speaking to you has faded, and you can use this as an opportunity to reinforce the value of what you’re offering.

Don’t be disillusioned if there isn’t much to show for your efforts – keep at it and the result will eventually follow. It’s not uncommon that you get a call out of the blue from an individual that you met at a trade show months or even years ago.

5. Do Your Reporting

As a salesperson, your CRM is your best friend – use it to its fullest potential to maximise your chance of success. Make sure you enter all leads into the CRM, and you file them under a category for the trade show. This will allow you to quickly analyse revenue generated and make a call as to whether you want to exhibit the following year.

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LegalVision is Australia’s fastest growing legal startup. Having attended multiple trade shows in Australia and internationally, our team of experts are more than qualified to assist in any business or startup related matters. Call us today on 1300 544 755.

Dilan Haradasa

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