How to Increase Your Trade Show ROI


How to Increase Your Trade Show ROI

Strategies for Trade Show Success

Participating in industry trade shows and other events requires a large investment of time and resources, whether you are hosting a booth or simply attending.

Remember, your presence is just one piece of the puzzle. Let’s take a closer look at the preparation, attendance, and follow-up needed to ensure your trade show experience is as impactful as possible. By focusing on these key aspects, you can significantly improve your chances of making meaningful connections and securing valuable business opportunities.

Pre-show Preparations:

Put Meetings on Your Calendar

Relying on chance connections with prospects or assuming you and a prospect will both find time in your days to meet is a common mistake made at trade shows. If you want to connect with prospects and have the chance to uncover real, qualified opportunities, it’s essential to make calls in advance and put meetings on your calendar.

Prioritizing outreach before the shows guarantees that you secure essential face-to-face meetings with high-value prospects. Having an experienced and professional team to conduct these calls will demonstrate to prospects that your representatives are knowledgeable and understand their pain points, making them more likely to book a meeting with you.

Devoting your resources to pre-show work is as important as your attendance —if not more so—and if you don’t have the bandwidth to handle that work yourself, it can be beneficial and cost-effective to outsource it.

Know The Industry

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: know the industry. In order to build trust among prospects, it’s vital that you have an in-depth understanding of their industry, including its unique terms, nuances, and common problems.

When calling, your prospects will ask insightful, industry-focused questions that will likely include specific terminology unique to their industry. Familiarize yourself with the latest industry trends and dialogue beforehand to be prepared to answer knowledgeably and engage confidently.

Know Your Client Success Stories

Beyond anticipating prospects’ challenges and understanding their unique industry positions, it’s important to know the names of similar companies you have helped with your service, product, or solution.

Providing relevant examples of previous client successes will help set you apart as competent, qualified, and specialized in a sea of other professionals vying for your prospects’ attention.

Know Your Prospects

To make the most of your trade show investment, it’s important to learn about the prospects who will be in attendance, especially those with whom you’ve scheduled a meeting.

Doing so will help you anticipate their challenges and understand what differentiates them within their industry. Having this knowledge and communicating it to the prospect has the potential to make a positive and long-lasting impression—one that extends far beyond the trade show floor.

During the Show:

Be Interested in People

While it’s essential to come prepared to engage with the prospects you’ve identified in advance, it’s equally valuable to maintain an open and sincere interest in people as a whole. Take the time to understand their passions and pursuits, even if they don’t immediately seem relevant to your business objectives.

You never know when a mutual interest or a future need might emerge that perfectly complements your offerings. So, approach each interaction with curiosity and authenticity, knowing that every conversation holds the possibility of uncovering valuable connections and avenues for collaboration.

Ask Insightful Questions

Maintain a list of insightful, open-ended questions beyond the basics that will get your prospects speaking in more detail about their unique goals and concerns. These will come in handy when you hit that inevitable lull in conversation after making your initial introductions.

Whether hosting a booth or attending a meet and greet, you should prepare slightly different questions tailored to each unique scenario. Having prepared questions beforehand ensures smooth and natural conversation starts, encouraging prospects to share valuable information that keeps their interest, both during and after the trade show.

Utilize Social Media

Social media plays a vital role in everyday marketing, but it is especially important for events like trade shows. Curating authentic and engaging content to share on social media channels before, during, and after a trade show drastically increases exposure. Sharing that your company is in attendance keeps your brand top of mind for busy prospects as they review their trade show schedules and decide where to focus. Visual content is the most engaging to remind prospects that you are at a trade show. Take some photos during the event and share them on your company page.

Usually, the trade show will have its own branded hashtags for further digital networking. If so, be sure to include these in your post.

Connect with Current Clients

While trade shows are usually seen as opportunities for generating new leads, they present a perfect opportunity to check in with your existing clients.

A trade show may be the only time during the year that you have the opportunity to make an in-person connection with current clients who are already happy with your work and trust you as an integral part of their business. Nothing is as valuable or impactful in business as an authentic, in-person connection, so speaking with current customers is well worth your time.

Post-show Follow-Up:

Be Thorough

Most trade shows have systems set up to gather contact information from individuals interested in your product, service, or solution. This creates a list of warm leads where much of the initial legwork has already been completed–don’t waste it! Follow up with every prospect on the list. As with any prospect list, calling every single name and being prepared for meaningful conversations with them is the best way to cover ground and qualify leads.

Be Timely

You need to follow up with someone who stopped by your booth or who you met at a party or presentation in a timely manner to maintain a connection. The longer you wait between their initial interaction with your company and your subsequent follow-up, the greater the risk of them losing interest.

It’s essential to strike while the iron is hot. A prompt follow-up keeps your brand fresh in your prospects’ minds and demonstrates your attentiveness and commitment to fostering meaningful relationships. By reaching out quickly, you show that you value their interest and are eager to provide further information or support. It’s a proactive approach that increases the likelihood of conversion and lays the foundation for a mutually beneficial and enduring partnership.

Be Consistent

Call and keep calling. Not every contact you make at a trade show will convert into a qualified lead, but you’ll never know if you don’t consistently follow up. Consistent, effective follow-up works best with experienced callers capable of engaging prospects in meaningful interactions.

If you lack the experience or bandwidth to follow up timely and consistently with your list of warm leads following a successful tradeshow, consider outsourcing to those who do.

Timely follow-up can be one of the most significant factors to increase your trade show ROI.

It All Comes Back Around

Trade show participation is an undeniably substantial investment for any company. By executing your preparation, attendance, and follow-up with intention and adhering to the strategies we’ve mentioned here, you will be able to qualify more leads and achieve better ROI in the long run.

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