Post updated: February 26, 2017
Trending tradeshow best practices, especially when it comes to Business to Business (B2B) marketing, are becoming more creative as technology makes headway and as seasoned tradeshow attendees become more immune to the street-vendor-like hawking of products and services by companies struggling to make an impression in a sea of competition. The days of setting up a booth and handing out flyers, or tradeshow goodie bags containing promotional pens are long gone; in order to make an impression, companies need to get a little more creative in their approach.
In a Benchmark Report by Marketing Sherpa, Tradeshows were shown to be the 4th most effective form of marketing for B2B marketers in 2012, right behind email marketing and right ahead of webinars or virtual events; this is actually great news as both of these tactics tie neatly into tradeshow events, each one a benefit and potential lead into the other. Of course website design, management and optimization, as well as search engine optimization (SEO) came in at 1 and 2 on the list of effective measures, but these too can greatly benefit the potential tradeshow marketing impact through the use of technology within the tradeshow booth.
Consider the tradeshow in question and create an attractive, intriguing, inviting ‘grab” to pull in visitors to your booth to engage in conversation with your representatives. If you are a B2B service, application or product provider, you may find your company attending many different kinds of tradeshows that don’t necessarily relate to your field. Find a common ground in your themes and promotions; make your message, your booth and your promotional products memorable and relatable.
Engage, Qualify and Disengage (EQD)
More companies are realizing the importance of qualifying leads before spending time and money on nurturing them or handing them over to a sales team.
This qualification process can, and should, be handled while on premises at tradeshows and events.
Industry standard for engagement is 5 minutes; in that time, company representatives should be able to engage prospects, quickly determine whether or not they are viable leads by giving direction to dialogue and asking leading questions, and disengage while retaining the prospect’s contact information, having informed him that the information will be used for the purpose of email or newsletter communications and that there is always the option to opt out.
EQD Made Easy
Businesses are getting increasingly more creative in their EQD process. The following are a few great tips and tricks to manifest an EQD process that is both effective and productive, not only in terms of volumes of leads but in value.
- Look sharp.
Tradeshow booth representatives should be as well dressed as the tradeshow booth itself. Make sure your tradeshow booth is clutter free, attractive and that it allows people to come into your area rather than obliging them to stand outside or across a table in order to engage with your reps. Utilize branded materials, signage, technology and cool, useful, provocative and memorable promotional products when your budget allows.
- Interact with your prospects.
Company representatives should pay attention to attendees who wander near, or into, their booth and be ready with a warm smile, a firm handshake and a greeting that allows the prospect to open up and share about their business and their needs. Reps can create rapport by mirroring body language as well as vocabulary and speech volume, all the while utilizing active listening techniques and focus as they qualify the lead. If the qualification is a good one, prospects should be allowed to opt in with the knowledge that they will be contacted in the future.
- Present your product or service.
Many sales representatives have found the use of comprehensive Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system applications for iPads and other notebooks to be extremely beneficial in presenting demonstrations or catalogues to potential customers at events and tradeshows. Not only is this an effective method of demonstrating the service or product, it lends to a certain air of professionalism and advanced technology that clients find impressive; and, as the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
Not mentioned here but in a previous post we discussed tradeshow giveaways that will capture potential clients' attention even long after the tradeshow's over.