Trade show attendance is an investment. Here’s how to maximize your ROI.
Whether you are representing your own company, or attending on behalf of your employer, being at a trade show should be a boost to your marketing and sales.
I have attended many shows and industry events over the last 20 years, representing both my own B2B lead generation company, and sometimes with the goal of making connections on behalf of my clients.
These experiences have taught me how to make the most of these opportunities and take advantage of the networking and sales possibilities that present themselves when there is such a large industry gathering.
I’ve also learned to avoid common pitfalls that can make the expense of attending a trade show or conference more than it is worth.
The following are some easy mistakes made before, during, and after tradeshows that can really add up.
3 Ways You Are Losing Money at A Trade Show
1. Being Unprepared to Meet New Prospects
Of course, you should always do your research ahead of time and know the prospects who will be attending that you are hoping to target. But just knowing they will be there, and even setting up a meeting, is not enough if you want to make a positive impression that lasts long after the show is over.
Whenever you can, make sure you know as much as possible about the prospects you will be meeting with or talking to. Who are they? What do they do that makes them unique? What are the possible challenges they may be facing?
Even better: be prepared with names of similar companies or industries you have helped with your service, product, or solution.
Have a list of questions in your arsenal. A meeting shouldn’t be scripted, but by having several open-ended questions ready to get the conversation started quickly, your prospect will be prompted to reveal information that can be helpful in creating a meaningful dialogue.
Most people are pulled in many directions at an offsite conference, but by knowing the background and having pertinent questions ready, you will make the most of your time and get to the heart of the conversation in less time.
2. Neglecting to Connect with Current Clients
It’s tempting to use a trade show to reach out only to new prospects and add to your list of qualified leads, but neglecting to connect and spend time with your current clients and customers is a big mistake.
It’s possible this may be the only time during the year when you can make face-to-face contact with your current clients. Email and other messaging have made it possible to do business with people all over the world, but nothing makes a connection quite like a meeting in person.
Besides, a good portion of your new business is likely to come from your current client base. And remember, at a large industry event, if you’re not in front of your clients, someone else will be.
3. Doing It All Yourself
Proper preparation and follow-up is essential when maximizing the ROI of a trade show. Hoping that you will find and make connections with key prospects just by finding them on-site is not a good plan.
Additionally, timely follow-up after a trade show is essential to maintain the connection or interest you sparked with someone who stopped by your booth or met at a party or presentation.
Mechanisms are in place at trade shows to collect the contact information of anyone who has shown an interest in your product, service, or solution. There may only be a small percentage that can lead to a deal but it is worth the time to sift through and contact everyone to find out.
It can be overwhelming to make the calls and reach out both before and after an event. Use your resources and enlist the help of others on your sales team to make the contact on your behalf. If your team doesn’t have the bandwidth, consider outsourcing the pre- and post- show calling.
Making connections and following-up is something that often falls through the cracks, be the person who follows-through and you will make a lasting impression.
Trade shows and industry events can be great for your business and networking efforts. The cost and time spent significant so make sure you do everything you can to ensure a great ROI.
In March I will be attending HIMSS Global Exhibition and Conference. It is one of the largest conferences in the country for healthcare IT, one of the industries in which we specialize in B2B lead generation.
I look forward to connecting with our current clients, as well as uncovering new opportunities with new prospects. If you will also be attending and would like to connect, please contact me here.
Thanks for reading,