Research shows that 83% of trade show attendees have some kind of buying power, 79% say that attending helps them decide what products to buy, and 91% report that they get the most useful buying info from trade shows and events. Additionally, converting a trade show lead to a sale costs 38% less than sales calls alone. The combination of these factors make trade shows the perfect place to for B2B technology companies to attract buyers, gather leads, or even launch a new product.
Trade shows are a great tactic — but they’re only as good as the strategy that you have in place. You need to determine which representatives to send, how to generate buzz and awareness, and how to nurture and engage with those who come to the booth. In fact, 85% of your trade show success depends on your booth staff’s performance. Here are some ways to make sure your sales strategies are targeted and your staff is prepared for trade show success:
Choose & Train Your Booth Staff
Bring your best people and make sure all trade show staff is well trained before the conference. Use the Trade Show Staffing Formula to determine how to best staff your booth according to specific information about the conference.
Once you have selected your staff, get them all on board with the company’s strategy going into the trade show and how they can best utilize the resources provided. In the end, your people are a big representation of your brand.
1. Preparation Matters
Booth staff should be able to answer questions, provide relevant company information and, furthermore, understand what the trade show is about and who the primary audiences are.
2. Attitude is Everything
It may seem obvious, but staffers should actually want to be there. Staffers will set the tone for the whole experience so if they lack enthusiasm or enter into awkward forced conversation, your booth performance will suffer.
3. Include Various Departments
Don’t forget about the rockstars in other departments of your company. A well-rounded booth staff that includes non-sales people may be just what your prospects need to get a comprehensive glimpse into your organization and product.
4. Practice Makes Perfect
Training is a key part of preparing for a trade show. Make sure the team knows how to qualify, hand-off, make a hard sell or a soft sell and what the system is for capturing lead information. Before every show, have a meeting with booth staff to go over booth sales strategies like the ones listed below. Rehearse and role-play if necessary.
5. Convey Expectations
Include the booth staff in your goal-setting or make sure to convey the expectations associated with the trade show. In the same discussion around goals, make sure the team understands where to capture leads and what the follow up strategy will be.
Engaging Attendees at the Show
At the show, engage your customer in a meaningful conversation to determine their needs and qualify their sales lead potential. Never ask a customer a question that can be answered with a yes or no (like "May I help you? or "Are you enjoying the show?”). Below are a couple of great tips to ensure your booth runs smoothly and your staff is primed to produce optimal results:
- Think of working the aisle like cold calling. Be brave, be quick, be persistent.
- Staffers can only engage with attendees when they have their eyes on the aisle (not talking with fellow staffers or on their phone).
- Encourage your booth staffers to engage with more people by having a friendly contest for the most leads.
- At the start of the show, try standing in different sides of your booth to see which one has the most traffic flow and then stay there.
- Don’t hesitate to engage attendees. Remember that they paid money to travel to the show to find solutions to their problems — and you may have that solution.
- If you cannot answer a customer's question, bring them (don't point) to someone who can answer it, make introductions, then hand off the conversation.
- Engaging with an attendee is much easier if you have a good demonstration, giveaway, or in-booth activity to organically attract traffic.
- This is a trade show, not a client’s office, so don’t take too long to get the conversation going towards the next step.
Trade shows are the top B2B marketing spend to support sales, but your level of preparation determines the kind of ROI you will see. Your company should set a plan for every stage of its engagement strategy: pre-show, during the event and post-show follow-up. Use our Trade Show Strategy Playbook, including a preparation timeline and checklist, to set yourself up for success as you begin to plan for your next trade show.