Trade shows are a critical part of B2B marketing strategies, but if you don’t come prepared they can be a HUGE waste of time and money. So before you pack up your displays and get on the plane, be sure to have a plan of attack that is focused on gaining customers.
Without a plan, Dan Scalo of Digitalux warns that it is easy to get lost in the sea of contributors at trade shows. To avoid this he provides 3 strategies in his article on Inc.com to stand out and land new customers. Here are 2 of them.
- Come ready to listen more than you talk.
Gone are the days of elevator pitches. Your customers at these shows don’t want a spiel on what you do. Rather, they want to hear HOW you can help their specific needs. You won’t know the answer to this until you listen to them first! So set the elevator pitch aside and instead start your conversation with questions that reveal pain points. Only after you have learned the customer's needs and pain points can you pull out that pitch and mold it specifically to the customer.
- Don’t skimp on your display.
As Scalo already warned, it is easy to go unnoticed at trade shows, and even worse, each show may be your ONLY chance to interact with approximately half of the attendees. A 2012 study from Exhibit Surveys revealed 45% of trade show attendees did not plan to attend any other exhibitions that year. So make sure your display keeps the foot traffic moving your way. Have a hook that resonates with your audience; Be memorable by creating an experience within your exhibit; and MAKE IT FUN!
Whether or not you enjoy working trade shows, they present a huge opportunity to network and gain new prospects and customers. So don’t let it slip through your fingers. Start implementing Scalo’s strategies and you’ll find yourself returning to the office with a long list of contacts to follow up with.