One of the biggest challenges that exhibiting companies face is to show hard sales achieved as a result of trade show participation.
This fact can bring pressure on marketing teams and individuals who advocate events in their marketing plans.
Those marketing peeps know that exhibiting delivers valuable new leads to their businesses.
The problem is that it’s often hard to quantify exactly the sales made.
Increasingly, there is a need to justify and show results from every pound spent on promotion.
The pressure felt comes because leads at trade shows, although potentially of high value, don’t usually deliver immediate sales.
Factor in the relatively high cost of exhibiting when measured in direct and indirect costs and you have an added pressure to justify event participation.
Leads are great but sales are way better
If you read many of my articles, you’ll know that this is a mantra I often quote.
I do so because I believe this way of thinking helps exhibitors who are faced with the problem described above.
The key is to start event preparation with the mindset of engineering sales rather than leads.
That’s not to dismiss lead generation. Far from it. You need leads in order to get to actual sales being achieved.
My point is not to start with leads as the main focus for exhibiting. That’s an important distinction as it colours the preparations you make in advance of a show.
Trade shows offer a huge benefit when it comes to building sales. They can take huge chunks out of the usual sales process that you normally have to go through.
Here, I am referring to the unique ability to cut-out some or many of the stages that usually have to be gone through to make a sale. See this article for a full explanation on the subject.
What’s even better, trade shows can perform this “cutting-out” feat with multiple companies at the same time.
So….promote your presence in a personalised way to different groups of prospective buyers like dormant clients, current clients, top priority clients and so on.
Targeting groups of buyers enables you to construct sales messages that resonate with them.
In this way, you can use event participation to move you a little bit closer or much closer to a sale.
With buyers who don’t know your business from Adam, you can break the ice.
With dormant clients who haven’t bought from you in a while, you can make it easy to start trading with you again.
And of course, don’t forget to invite current clients too. These are often your very best prospects for new sales.
Set a target but don’t tell your boss
This is not a target for leads collected (set one for that too if you like), but sales to be generated in a defined time period after the event.
Doing this focuses the mind.
You’ll look for the places that sales could come from and the actions that you will need to take to make them happen.
You might also consider the things that could stop them from happening.
Poor data. Under-performing stand staff. Second-rate graphics.
Change things up to give yourself the best chance of success
If you haven’t worked this way before, you’ll find it invigorating.
Keep your revenue target to yourself. Surprise your boss after the show.
If you would like to learn more about this way of working I will be running a two-hour seminar on the subject in the New Year. Drop me a line for advance details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you miss Tuesday’s issue?
No problem. Tuesday’s issue was a salute to stand managers and a little bit of a pep talk too. If you missed it you can read it now.
The ESSA Conference happens next week and I’m going…
Next Thursday, 29th November is the date for ESSA’s one-day conference at Arena MK in Milton Keynes.
I know that some of our readers are members of the Association so I hope to see you there.
BTW, I’m presenting a seminar in the afternoon called “Website Sales Engine.”
If you want to get more leads moving through your website and into your sales figures, come to my breakout session at 2pm.