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“Then Why Are We Even Exhibiting?”​

by Richard Erschik

Virtual tradeshow organizers and association conference managers need to listen to what exhibitors are saying about their exhibiting experience in virtual tradeshows.

1.   “They don’t work.”

2.   “No one visits my booth.”

3.   “It was a waste of time/money.”

Exhibitors are saying that because no one is teaching them how to exhibit, virtually, which requires a completely different strategy and tactics than exhibiting in face-to-face events.

·      No one is showing them how to use the names they already have to invite participation in the show and drive booth visits.

·      No one is showing them how to engage booth visitors to qualify their interest, application, and worthiness of lead conversion and/or post-show follow-up.

·      No one is showing them how to structure a virtual sales office for lead follow-up after the show, to continue the conversation they had with booth visitors during the show.

While experience is the best teacher, traditional exhibitors haven’t had enough time to learn the how-to’s of virtual tradeshow exhibiting. Therefore, the bad experiences they are having reflect negatively on the organizer’s NPS* (Net Promoter Score) and exhibitors’ overall virtual tradeshow exhibiting experience.

Exhibitors have better names for virtual tradeshow booth invitations, and overall show attendance, than any organizer could ever muster. Teaching them how to use their names for their own virtual tradeshow booth promotion also increases the overall numbers of attendees that visit the show.

That’s a valuable lesson to teach exhibitors and a positive result for show organizers.

As an example, if 100 exhibitors invite 100 of their customers and prospects to the show, and only 10 percent show up, that’s 1,000 more visitors to the show. Even better, the measurable booth activity from your exhibitors’ customers and prospects will reflect positively on their individual booth activity and overall evaluation of the show.

During a traditional face-to-face tradeshow, exhibitors typically waited for visitors to “wander into” their booth and then they reacted. In the virtual world, visitors are less likely to wander in. They need to be driven or invited in. That’s why pre-show promotion by exhibitors is more important than ever in the virtual world.

Once visitors come into a virtual tradeshow booth, they need more interaction with exhibitors than a video they can watch, a bunch of reading they have to do, or a link they can click to get more information. They need immediate attention, just like in face-to-face events.

Having an open Zoom Room during exhibiting hours, for immediate attention and engagement is a great way to initiate an exhibitor’s memorable and positive experience. Furthermore, teaching exhibitors how to effectively use Zoom to manage and qualify visitors should be an overall part of the “Exhibitor Kit” that organizers give to their exhibitors.

As with face-to-face exhibiting, post-show lead follow-up after a virtual event is where the rubber meets the road. And it’s in this area where teaching your exhibitor’s how to extend their tradeshow experience pays off the most.

Zoom is by far the most widely used video conferencing platform available today. Especially the FREE version. However, most people don’t know any more about using Zoom than having clicked on a link someone sent them for an online meeting.

The “polling” features of Zoom can be used for lead qualification. The “breakout rooms” can be used for specific information presentation. And the “recording feature” can be used for validation and reference.

These are but a few of many features and benefits that virtual tradeshow organizers and association conference managers need to teach their exhibitors. Because expecting exhibitors to find out, on their own, is having the aforementioned negative effects on the overall virtual tradeshow exhibiting experience for most exhibitors.

*NPS (Net Promoter Score) measures customer experience and predicts business growth. This proven metric transformed the business world and now provides the core measurement for customer experience management programs around the world. NPS is calculated and scored from the answers to key questions using a scale of 0-10. Question example; “How likely are you to recommend (brand) to a friend or colleague?” Read more.

Richard Erschik was a successful tradeshow exhibitor himself for almost two decades. He has delivered more than 350 seminars, webinars, workshops, and Zoominars, to more than 50,000 tradeshow exhibitors. He has been a featured speaker, presenter, and roundtable moderator at the EXHIBITOR show in Las Vegas for 18 years. He is among Trade Show Executive magazine’s Who’s Who in the area of exhibitor education and training. For more info, visit www.ExhibitorTrainingWebinar.com

This story originally appeared in the Jan./Feb. 2021 issue of Exhibit City News, p. 29. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecn_jan-feb_2021


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