If you are reading this,chances are that you have attended a trade show or expo as an exhibitor. Maybe even as an attendee. Most of us forgot what we learned in marketing school and that is to get your name in front of as many people as possible, for the longest time.
What follows are the golden rules that are actually common sense but are not followed. If you are going to give away literature for your business, ( say it’s a pet insurance company) you are targeting pet owners.
First is location inside the event. You MUST be one of the first tables or booths that people will come across as they enter. If you are deep into the event, people have to search for you and that is not good.
Next you need outgoing, knowledgeable people who can answer questions. You would be surprised at how many companies pawn this off on the entry level employee who is not knowledgeable or cannot make a decision. When the prospective customer asks a question and “Um, I don’t know , I am not sure, can I have someone get back to you”? is the answer, guess what? That person is now even more unsure about doing business with you.
Right after you meet attendees, they are given bags to carry things.You want the biggest bag ( plastic) that you can get made with your logo on it. These people are going to make the rounds and get free stuff from everyone else there. Everything from brochures to cups is going to be in that bag. Even other competitors bags.
Small bags with info on your pet insurance will not cut it. How about a pet toy or pet food with your company name on it? Approach people. Everyone. Do you have a pet? No. “How about your neighbor or friend, family member? Here let me give you this free cat toy ” See how easy that was? Someone that was disinterested in your company from the start is now carrying around your bag with info for their friends.
People attend expos and trade shows to get free samples and other free stuff. You have to be different. Do you know how many pencils and pens the other booths will be giving out? Yes, pens are cheap but in a trade show out of 75 booths, 50 of them had pencils and pens. None stood out. Half will be tossed in a drawer. Many will be lost. (That could be a good thing) provided that someone finds it and uses it. No one in their right mind is going to want to use your pen and only your pen. If they do, Within 3 months, it is going to be worn out and go into the trash.
Cozies to keep drink cans cold are another item that gets tossed into a drawer or worse yet, into the trash. You have to come up with different ideas to put into your bag. Scratch pads are nice. Think outside the box. T shirts. Something people can use. Remember your pet insurance business? How about small flashing lights to see animals at night? That could be used by joggers or seniors that walk . Small children at Halloween. See the uses from just one small item? It’s not going into the junk drawer.
If you are given a table deep into the event and not one of the first, chances are people are going to have smaller bags. Just call them over and use the tactics as if they just entered, and give them your bag to dump all the other stuff into. Now your competition is not being seen.
You should invest in a small two way radio if you are going to be away from your booth and someone has a question. “Mr. Jones just stepped away, wait a minute, I’ll get him for you” conveys a great message as opposed to “He just went to lunch can you stop back”? Guess what? People won’t.
Everyone should be wearing your company logo who works at your booth. It looks more professional and conveys a better message than a t shirt with “Pete’s Diner” on it. Avoid sports jerseys unless your business is sports related.
The result is getting everyone who is attending to dump everything into a bag with your company’s name on it. When folks get home, they will take all the pens and put them into a drawer. They will take cozies and coasters and maybe use them, maybe they will wind up next to the pens. They will take all the literature and put it into a pile to be looked at .
In closing, should a customer approach you and give you their info for a follow up call, follow up no later than 48 hours. A HVAC company that spend a fortune at the Philadelphia Home Show recently failed to follow up with customers. They might as well have stayed home.