Plenty of people are perfectly happy doing all their networking by phone, skype, email and social media, and communicating to customer bases and wider audiences via their websites and blogs. But plenty of us thrive on face to face interactions. That's probably why B2B networking events have never been so popular.
Exhibiting lets you reach people you might not otherwise engage with. It gives your business a genuine human face, a warm handshake, a personality. It helps you generate trust and respect. And it's a proven way to generate lucrative, tightly targeted leads
Every trade show you attend delivers the opportunity to expand your customer base thanks to the typically motivated, tuned in, keen and interested people who tend to attend. It does, after all, take time, expense and effort to attend an exhibition. Delegates are often more likely than average to sign on the dotted line. Whatever happens, the contacts you make are more worthwhile than random ones lifted from a business directory. A good show, where you leave with oodles of fresh prospects, could keep your sales people busy for weeks.
Trade shows are also a proven way to establish what direction your industry, competitors and target market are going in, especially when you take a break and go exploring. A fact-finding mission can provide all sorts of thrilling insight into pricing, NPD, sales and marketing tactics, and a whole lot more. Taking a stand at a trade show can also give your brand a valuable boost. It showcases your business as serious, reliable, and cash-rich enough to invest in a physical presence.
Some people absolutely hate telesales calls. Some religiously ignore email pitches and throw direct mail approaches straight in the bin. Exhibiting at a trade show gives you unprecedented face to face access to important contacts and valuable prospects. People are in a buying mood, often tasked with researching, identifying and buying specific services, products and support. All of which means you can treat every single interaction as a chance to close a new deal.
How do you maximise the potential of your stand at a B2B show? You want to break even on the investment at the very least, which means grabbing every opportunity. It's a blend of doing things right at this show, learning how to improve your performance at the next one, lining up hot prospects to contact afterwards, and treating existing customers like they matter.
1.Set in place a suite of SMART sales goals before the event
2.Get your stand designed by an expert to maximise its visual appeal, and use a professional writer for your sales materials. This is no time to look or sound like an amateur
3.Interact with all your visitors – you never know who might end up a customer
4.Keep detailed notes so you can follow hot leads up effectively afterwards
5.Steer well clear of hard selling...
6.… but do your best to close deals on the spot wherever possible
7.Don't make people uncomfortable by hovering around them when they visit your stand
8.Check out which stands are attracting the most people and stash the knowledge for next time
9.Keep notes of competitor prices and deals
10.Find out how other sales people draw people in by doing some mystery shopping
11.Buy a stand next to your industry's biggest star and revel in reflected glory
12.Include social media information on your exhibit so people can follow you
13.Collect people's social media account details as well as names, companies and email addresses
14.Set up as many appointments with key prospects as you can on the spot, when the goodwill is at its most powerful, to contact the week after
15.Talk to as many people as possible, throwing your net nice and wide for the biggest impact
Last but not least, you can't know what return on investment the event has generated unless you keep tabs. Make sure you can join the dots so you ultimately have a clear and accurate picture of exactly what you have spent, and exactly what your spend returned.
Whether you choose to use exhibitions or not talk to Aben Bookkeeping about all your bookkeeping needs on 01273 661913.