Trade shows give boost to clientele

score Question:
What can I do to pump up the number of high quality leads we receive?

Trade shows can be amazingly effective generators of high-quality leads and a boon to your overall marketing program. But only if done right.

The key to your success at any show is for your company to stand out from the crowd.

Put the extra effort into creating a dynamic, attention-grabbing booth and you won't blend into the background with the other ordinary displays or be soon forgotten by your best prospects.

You and your company must be totally committed to attending and participating in the show. Otherwise, don't go - and put your money to better use in advertising.

Keep these points in mind:

  • Trip the light fantastic. Make your booth the glowing bright spot of the runway. Incorporate low-voltage halogen lights for crisp, bright, white light to accent the professional photos or product displays throughout the booth.

  • Signage. Keep it simple and to the point. Or leave a question in visitors' minds so they need to visit your booth to get the answer.

  • Color me beautiful. Don't play it safe with neutrals. Be dramatic without scaring people away.

  • Advertise. Do this in the show pamphlets, which are sent to the antendees before their visit and increase the traffic in your booth.

  • Mind the details. Molding, trims, wainsboating - these support your claim to craftsmanship, service and quality. Be sure all surfaces are clean, freshly painted and kept clean.

  • Focus. Keep your client base firmly in mind when determining which items to show. Display projects that fit into the scope typical of your clients' need and applications.

    Keep foremost in your mind that this will vary from show to show depending on the type of client attending the show. If price is an important factor, show some estimate of how the product or service is priced and be sure to cover "lifecycle costing" if applicable. This will help eliminate the low-ball competive pricing.

  • Use your personnel assets. Knowledgeable, smiling personable employees with lowe-pressure attitudes will help draw wary customers. Remember: no sitting, eating, drinking or crossed arms. all of these things make prospects uncomfortable and compromise your success.

  • Be approachable. Don't hide behind a counter; invite the prospects to feel, touch and talk about your products. Greet people with a smile and a kind greeting as they approach your booth or are walking past.

  • Everybody loves a handout. Whether it'sa full-color brochure, an attractive magnet or a tote bag with your name on it, they'll probably have apoken to dozens of other companies. Give them a good reason to remember yours.

Remember; tecnology is asking the sales person to evolve and take it to the next step. Those who do, make money; those who don't, get left behind.

A smile, a handshake and a free pen are not going to do it anymore. Sales is the trust of an evolutionary process. It's all about survival of the fittest.

Bill Bryan is a counselor with the Service Corps of Retired Executives. SCORE offers counseling, workshops and seminars on small business operations. You can reach Bryan through SCORE, 515 N Court St. 815-962-0122, for information and appointments.

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