If you think that trade shows are a marketing tool of yesteryear, think again. A recent survey of one thousand executives shows that 85 percent believe trade shows are MORE important today.
The trick is that the way they visit trade shows has changed. Trade show visits aren't a haphazard jaunt down the aisles; they are pre-planned strategies with a mission. And, because of lack of time, serious visitors stay late to accomplish their task. But, according to another survey, more than 60 percent of booths are empty the last hour of the show. Don't let yours be one of them!
If your firm's people have been shy about stepping up to the trade show booth, there's good news on the horizon. Another trend shows that friendly consultants are replacing pushy salespeople. Research indicates that people prefer to talk to "the nice guy" for information and, once a buying decision is made, is happy to be transferred to the "salesperson."
A trade show trend focused on customer retention has exhibitors asking, "How well did we sell?" vs. asking, "How many leads did we get?" In the end, it's what you've sold that counts. Along this line, some companies are utilizing the trade show arena to treat current clients like VIPs by inviting them to client lounges and special areas of the trade show. Other companies simply show up to support industries in which they service a great number of clients. When you consider that it takes five times more effort, money and time to replace a customer than to keep the ones you have, this trend can really pay off.
Buying teams outnumber individual attendees at shows now. What's a buying team you might ask? Well, it's a group of people who strategically attend a trade show and make buying decisions as a group. One member may go for the once over. Then another member goes back to confirm you are a firm they want to work with. Then yet another member goes back for the final vote. They get together and decide as a group if you get the thumbs up or not. What does this mean to you? Well, it means that you need to provide training and ensure your team is consistently selling your message!