By Kevin England, president and CEO, Vonazon Inc.
It’s easy to sell to someone who is already interested in your business. However, what’s more important for business growth is to have someone “accidentally discover” your company and its products and services.
Think about it: If John Doe has been a client of yours previously for his professional needs, it’s quite simple to reapproach him or to be reapproached by him to create another sale. But what about John’s co-workers and industry colleagues? Unless he actively takes it upon himself to speak with them in person or share his experiences on social media, he’s likely not passing that information on to them, which means that you have connections that are not being created.
While there are online marketing techniques, such as promoted posts, buying ad space and posting content online that is then shared by your followers/subscribers, to reach out to potential connections, it’s hard to do this in person. However, when your company chooses to exhibit at a tradeshow or event, it’s a perfect opportunity to grab hold of potentially thousands of new leads. All you have to do is plan for it accordingly.
As soon as you know that you will be exhibiting at a tradeshow, your planning should begin. It is now your job to make sure that it’s as easy as possible for an outsider to find out about your company, interact with it and exchange contact information that will lead to business following your event. Luckily, there are a variety of solutions available for you to stimulate your “accidental discoveries.”
Before your event
Pre-marketing is essential to the success of your tradeshow exhibition. Ideas for this can range from something simple like a pre-event newsletter being sent out to your lead base, to something a bit more involved like a series of well-written articles or blog posts advertising not only the event, but also the benefits of the products or services you will be showcasing, to something even more complex like organizing an experiential marketing campaign to generate interest and anticipation.
Lights, camera, tradeshow
The two greatest assets that exhibitors can utilize during events to attract in attendees are Crowd Gatherers and Presenters. Crowd Gatherers are individuals who engage with and draw in attendees from the show floor and direct them to your booth in an informative, engaging way. Presenters are responsible for showcasing the information, activities or presentations that take place in your booth.
Both of these forms of talented individuals can be hired through tradeshow staffing agencies, such as Vonazon, and will be trained prior to showing up at the event. They are armed with the background knowledge about your company that’s necessary to engage and interact with attendees in a proactive way as well as help to determine which leads are qualified and assist your business in taking the next step in the sales process.
Gone but not forgotten
A post-event newsletter is essential. While it is important to make strong impressions in person at the tradeshow or event, you must remember that each attendee visited dozens, if not hundreds, of booths that day. What may have been a very positive and memorable experience at 8 a.m. can quickly become buried under a flood of other interactions that were both good and bad by the time the day’s over.
In addition to making sure that you remind your attendees about your great interaction, you want to show them that you are continually active and are working hard to make sure their needs are met in a timely and efficient manner. Following up within 72 hours of an event to direct them back to your website, providing a service or product offering, and giving them a direct way to contact you again while they are in their place of work provides them with all the tools and incentives they need to take your sales relationship to the next step.
The sooner you can prove to someone that you will be a benefit to them, the sooner they can benefit you. If you reach out to people at a tradeshow or event in a needy or sales-pitchy way, they will pick up on that. But if you are smart about it, you can have your future leads and contacts come straight to you. The trick is to not force these interactions, but to let them happen in an organic way. If you use the full gamut of tools and services available to you, you will introduce yourself and your company in a natural way that simply comes off as a serendipitous happy accident that your new clients will be eager to take part of.