What’s the most important goal of a tradeshow display booth?
Actually, let me ask that question another way:
Do you know what the most important goal should be? In other words, why are you at the tradeshow? Why are you exhibiting in the first place?
I say ‘should’ because many exhibit managers and salespeople get this one wrong.
And I’m sure that as a diligent marketing professional, you’ve asked these questions of your marketing team (and of yourself) many times.
Some people might answer: ‘to sell our stuff’. Others might say: ‘To handout brochures and sales material’. And many would probably suggest:‘To demonstrate a recently launched product’.
While the last answer has some merit (we’ll talk about product demonstrations in next week’s issue), the first two are complete nonsense.
Now before I give my own answer, let me first walk you through what I typically see nanotechnology, microscopy and high-tech firms doing at these exhibits.
Then we’ll talk about solutions.
I remember strolling through the exhibit floor at the Materials Research Society (MRS) conference last year and stopping at several of the booths to have a gander.
Time and time again I was greeted by display managers and sales people who were more interested in shoving product brochures in my face than engaging me in conversation.
Many of these salespeople were eager and enthusiastic. Most had glossy, slick brochures touting all the whiz-bang features and benefits of their product or service.
And most of them spent the bulk of their time trying to convince potential prospects why their solutions were the best of the bunch.
Because of this, they were more likely to intimidate and scare their prospects away instead of attracting them towards their booth.
And you know what makes this even worse?
High-tech firms spend a lot of moolah on tradeshows and exhibits.
A lot of time, effort and money goes into preparing their booth and display. Not to mention the trouble and cost of transporting all the materials to the location itself.
I know this first-hand because many of the clients I work with disappear off the face of the earth during the lead up to an exhibit!
So understandably, it can be frustrating when very few (if any) potential prospects come calling to find out more about their solutions.
No. 1 goal for tradeshow selling
So what should you be doing?
Well, your primary goal at a tradeshow should be to capture names and contact details of qualified prospects to add to your mailing list.
Yep, that’s it.
Believe it or not, one of the worst sins committed at these events is that the people who man the trade show booths make no attempt to capture contact details.
There’s no direct-response marketing applied.
Your entire display and booth should be set up to capture as many qualified names as possible.
You do this through the correct use of direct-response marketing, technical copywriting, sharing your advice and helping your buyers via handouts etc.
You also do it by engaging your prospects in conversation and trying to help them.
That’s a lot better than getting in their faces and throwing brochures at them as they run in the opposite direction.
In case this hasn’t registered yet, I’ll spell it out for you:
Your primary goal at any tradeshow or exhibit is to capture the names and contact information of highly-qualified leads and add these to your in-house mailing and email lists.
This all starts with a list-building mindset. An attraction mindset.
And guess what?
Attraction begins with the marketing team. With you.
Attraction and list-building first begins long before you ever get to the tradeshow itself. It begins with the copy, the content and the entire display creation process.
Because, if the content, copy and direct-response elements aren’t in place then the sales team is dead in the water.
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