How B2B companies get most out of trade shows -Part 2/3: What to do during a trade show?

This is the second part of our blog series “How B2B companies get most of trade shows”. In our previous blog post we discussed how a company should prepare for a trade show, and in this post we will tell you how to reap the fruits of careful preparations. In order to maximise the benefit of the trade show you are attending, make sure you take at least the following tips into account.

In the preparation phase we emphasised the importance of planning and setting goals, and discussed how goals and objectives should affect everything regarding the trade show. This has to be on your mind while presenting at the trade show since you will be executing those plans in order to complete the goals. Trade shows last only limited time, so you really do not want to spend any of that invaluable time fixing your stand, getting your company’s social media profiles up to date or trying to locate the missing business cards. One of the most common reasons to attend trade show is converting potential customers, so focus for example on that instead of doing tasks you could (and should) have done before the trade show.

If your main goal is indeed to convert leads, think beforehand what sub goal of the sales process you are trying to achieve. While, according to Center for Exhibition Industry (CEIR), a staggering 81 percent of trade show attendees have buying power within their organisations, very few of them are ready to buy your product at the trade show. Therefore, it could be more lucrative to try to register potential customers as leads, which you will contact later when it is more convenient to improve your business relationship. Of course your employees are there to gather leads, but since they are not able to speak to everyone (or to the right people to start with), you should come up with a convenient way for exhibition visitors to convert themselves. You could, for example, arrange a lottery among the people who drop their business card into a bowl. By giving attendees an incentive and an easy way to convert themselves you will most likely get a large quantity of contacts. On the other hand, for the exactly same reasons many of the new contacts might prove to be unqualified businesswise. A modern way to collect contacts would be for example an iPad with a landing page open at the presenting booth. By using this method, you ensure that the attendees inserting their contact details really want you to get back to them after the trade show, but the nuisance of filling the online form might expel some of the prospective customers.

Talking about combining a traditional channel like trade show with modern methods, you should not forget the social media. Not every potential customer takes part in trade shows, and you can’t possibly personally reach everyone who does. However, people and companies within an industry tend to be interconnected. This means that if you interact with an exhibition attendee on social media, it might have a ripple effect and reach those prospects you did not have chance to meet yourself. For the same reason you should actively monitor and take part in relevant conversations on social media during the trade show. Social media is important tool in building business relationships, and more often it is also used in the sales process. Also follow the people you meet on Twitter and if you feel like it, connect them on LinkedIn.

Trade shows are a great place to boost your business in many ways. These tips help you to spend your limited resources effectively and maximise the ROI of your trade show attendance. In the next (and last) part of our blog series “How B2B companies get most of trade shows” we will focus on the actions you should take on after the trade show.

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