6. Sell your productTakes 5 minutes to read
Making sales at the show begins with marketing – ensure you've set up your free website profile showcasing your trade deal offers. Tens of thousands of people come to a show website prior to the event, so make sure you're on their list!
The shows combine marketing and sales, which is unique compared with other forms of marketing. While buyers are not purchasing a product directly to take away with them, the decision makers and purchasing managers attend the show and are ready to make orders and buy from you if your pitch and offer is right.
Planning for sales means being prepared: a strong stand, a compelling sales pitch, and knowledgeable staff. You should also plan to follow-up your leads after the show finishes – the trick is to plan your follow-up prior to the show. After an intensive weekend of face-to-face marketing and sales, you'll be thankful your after-show sales plan is already in place.
Read on for a full rundown.
The tips below will help you recognise the right kinds of visitors to talk to, how to greet them, how to sell to them, and if they're not ready to buy on the day, how to capture their information for future follow-up.
Research shows that leads from exhibitions are more likely to be converted into sales than from any other media. But remarkably, as many as 83% of all exhibitors never follow-up with prospects, according to the Centre for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).
In addition, 45% of qualified leads are followed-up on TOO LATE. Don’t allow those leads to grow cold and stale – your after-show efforts will cement sales and maximise your return on investment.
- Plan your after-show follow-up before the show so you're ready.
- Follow-up leads within a week after the show – the first exhibitor to respond is often the one that stands out from the crowd.
- Personalise your emails – include their name and the show they attended.
- If possible, include or extend your offer from the show – give them a reason to purchase from you after the show.
- Keep them on a regular nurture program or ask them if they would be interested in signing up to your newsletter.
75% of visitors remember exhibits they've seen up to a month after the show.
Separate 'hot' and 'warm' leads
Don’t sabotage your efforts by giving unqualified leads to the sales force. Give your salespeople only the qualified 'hot' leads right away.
Get someone from your staff to call your 'warm' leads right away for further qualification and evaluation. Remember to thank them for visiting your stand and offer to send information.
Allocate a deadline for follow-up
Build deadlines into your lead tracking system. Set a date for final review and issue a report with results and analysis. You can do everything else perfectly but without this, your efforts will fall far short of your objectives.
Ensure continuous follow-up
Make sure salespeople continue to follow-up leads enquiries and requests for information for at least 12 months after the show. Sales within the first three to four weeks represent only one-third of the potential response from a show. Many exhibitors lose the additional two-thirds of sales that can take place up to 24 months after the show, due to a lack of follow-up.
Keep your prospects live
While 'warm' prospects may have no immediate need for your product or service, a change in circumstance or specific event may prompt a visitor to think about you. It is important to keep these prospects live, contacting them on a regular basis with details of new products that may be of interest – that way you can retain their interest until such time as they are ready
After your sales follow-up process is complete, you should create a final report. The amount of detail is up to you but short and concise reports are easy to refer to. Try to distill information down into a set of KPI's if possible - that way the KPI's could be used to measure success at future exhibitions.
Your report should include:
- Your goals
- Your results compared to your goals
- Areas for improvment
You could also include observations about:
- How realistic your goals where (especially if this was your first event)
- Your stand's location
- Your stand's design (and any photos of it)
- Features and services on your stand
- How well your staff were briefed and how they performed
- Improvements to how you demonstrate your products
- Improvements you could make after seeing how other exhibitors performed
- Samples collected from other exhibitors or competitors
- Your special offer mechanism
- Improving your leads capture and follow-up
- Results from any after-sales promotions
- Copies of promotion (advertising, flyers, email etc) you undertook to promote your brand