Timely follow up after the show is key to close new sales.
  • How to Make Trade Shows Pay Back Big Time: Six Success Tips

    October 02, 2018

    Make trade shows pay back big: 6 Success Tips

    Create an eye-catching booth to attract attention

    Seasoned trade show exhibitor, Kim Reid has participated in over 45 trade shows across North America. She and her husband Peter recently sold their food business and are looking forward to the next chapter. Thanks Kim for writing this educational blog.

    By Kim Reid

    After much deliberation and calculating the cost (exhibitor fees, display booth, freight cost to and from the convention centre, hotel, restaurants, airfare, and staffing), you have decided to exhibit at a trade show. How should you prepare to make sure that the valuable time, money and effort that you put into the trade show pays back for your business? Here are a six success tips that have worked for our business:

    1. Trade Show Attendees

    Choose the trade show carefully to ensure that you will meet your prospective “ideal customers”.  No point wasting time and effort if the trade show attendees are not the future customers for which you are on the hunt to find.

    2. Your Goals

    Be prepared – just like when you were a Girl Guide or Boy Scout, you need to create a plan. In this case it’s your “trade show plan” starting with SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based) business goals defining what you wish to achieve by participating in the trade show. You could be looking to:

    • Fill the sales funnel with qualified prospects
    • Connect with a qualified broker or distributor network for your product or service
    • Introduce a new product or service to the market

    You need to be able to clearly define what a successful trade show looks like, so you can see how you measured up. Refer to tip five.

    3. Create a Schedule

    Determine what needs to be accomplished before the trade show.

    • Design an eye-catching booth to attract attention.
    • Which types of marketing materials i.e. banners, printed materials, video will best deliver your message?
    • What are your staffing needs?
    • What products or services will be on display? How will you create a “wow” experience for trade show attendees?
    • Make sure you have a compelling “elevator pitch” down pat – often you have only a minute to capture the interest of a passing attendee and you want your company message to be memorable (for the right reasons).
    • Plan to obtain contact information from qualified prospects, through valuable conversation, for follow up after the trade show. Look into apps that allow you to collect information such as scanning attendees’ name badges.

    4.  At the show

    Be sure to make notes about the comments made at your booth, about your company or products so that you can “replay” them to the prospect during your follow up. This way they remember your company and meeting you at the show.

    5. Timely Follow Up

    No point leaving the trade show with prospective new clients contact information if you have no intention of making them revenue generating customers.

    The sooner you can connect with all the prospects you met at a show, the better.  You want to stay well ahead of your competition, many of whom will also have exhibited at the trade show.  You can do this by engaging your prospects with meaningful follow up delivered in a professional manner.

    6. Run the Numbers

    After participating in the trade show, meeting and following up with attendees you met, and before agreeing to exhibit in future trade shows, measure what you accomplished against your goals for the show.  In my company, we calculated net new business revenue generated by participating in a given trade show, and only if that revenue exceeded the total cost of the show, did we go back the next year.

    The McCabe Marketing team thanks Kim Reid for writing this article, which is part of our “Thought Leaders” educational blog series.

    If you would like help to plan your next trade show to evaluate the best shows based on your target market, or if you want an eye-catching booth and other marketing materials, book a free consultation with a Marketing Specialist at McCabe Marketing. We’re here to help guide you.

    For more marketing tips, check out these posts: 

    Should You Outsource Your Marketing?
    What is Niche Marketing?
    How to Avoid Wasting Money on Marketing

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