Exhibitions are undeniably a fantastic way to showcase your business and network with prospective clients. However, with such large numbers of people in attendance it can be tricky to attract, let alone maintain, their attention. By splitting exhibition marketing into three key stages, you can optimize your sales abilities, and the whole process becomes that bit simpler. Read on to find out:
- How to attract your target audience. With a variety of options to choose from, how do you make sure it is your business that potential customers are interested in?
- How to interact with potential prospects. It is important to present your business or idea in a clear, engaging way, making a lasting impression on any potential partners/customers.
- How to follow up. Possibly the most difficult of these three stages to navigate. Once you have a potential customer, you want to guarantee a sale by following up in the right way.
Attracting people to your stand is the first step towards a successful sale.
Make sure you put in the groundwork before exhibiting at the show itself; send out emails and newsletters, find out who the partners of the exhibition are and contact them.
Attracting mostly new customers to your business will require a thoughtful approach to your stand, since you will be surrounded by so much competition.
Attract potential customers through an eye catching stand design, making sure that it also is clearly representative of your company’s brand - 83% of exhibitors think building and expanding their brand name is a top priority at shows.
Also, make sure your stand has optimal frontage, making you more visible, and allowing more visitors to your stand at once.
Games and entertainment may seem like child’s play, but given that the average amount of time spent looking at stalls at a trade show is 8.3 hours, people will welcome a change of pace with open arms; the same thing can be said for drinks and snacks, which are a tried and tested way to get people involved with your business.
It is paramount that your sales team is well versed and briefed in your objective. The goal at the event itself should be to engage the potential customer - keeping them interested in your business - while not seeming overbearing.
87% of customers will purchase your business’ service/product at a later date, meaning that expecting a sale at the exhibition itself is probably ambitious, and might drive the customer away.
As mentioned earlier, games and general interactive activities will attract potential customers, while giving you time to talk to them about your business. Quizzes, for example, can be geared towards your business, allowing you to confidently deliver information and statistics relating to your product without seeming dictatorial.
Face-to-face contact is incredibly effective, especially in a digital world. Therefore, body language is imperative in forming strong relationships with potential customers, a lack of eye contact will come across as insincere. The Austin, Texas communications-analytics company Quantified Impressions states that people should make eye contact 60%-70% of the time, which creates a sense of ‘emotional connection’.
Potentially the most important stage of the process, as this is where the majority of sales are made, is following up on your leads. The argument can be made for both emailing and calling your potential customer, and both can be effective when utilized properly.
Research by Exhibit Surveys indicates that only 0.8 calls are needed to close a qualified trade show lead, compared to 3.7 calls to close a typical business sale. If you have laid the foundations properly in your earlier interactions, the call will not seem like a cold-call, and will humanize the process, it will also remove the possibility of your email being considered spam and deleted.
Persistence, without annoyance, is key; if you wish to contact your prospective customer via email, make sure you make it punchy and concise, and, if they do not reply, contact them a further three times.
The last email should be a break-up email to let them know you understand they might be busy at this time, and that you are available to talk when it suits them - this fourth email is the one that receives the highest response rate.
44% of sales people give up after being told ‘no’ once, and 80% of prospects say ‘no’ four times before they say ‘yes’. It is those sales people with a polite but persistent attitude that will close deals, and so this fourth email is key in achieving a sale.
By splitting exhibition marketing into these three stages, you and your team will be able to tackle the challenges presented. And while no sale is guaranteed, these tips will help you become a sales force to be reckoned with.