I have written many articles in the past for salespeople about how to dramatically increase the number and value of accounts and orders they get back from tradeshow floors. That advice is something I stand behind wholeheartedly. A trade show is an excellent way for producers to sell a year’s worth in a matter of days. In this article, however, I’d like to give some tips to executives and business owners. Because I have worked with enough people to understand that exhibits and tradeshow booths are not just a way to make money, but they can also be a considerable expense, sometimes reaching into the millions.
This is not money that anyone would want to waste. So, even though your salespeople may be dreaming about a new car and a vacation home, there are budgets, revenue projections, and shareholders to consider. It’s not possible to sit back and hope that your next tradeshow goes well. You have to work out how to make it happen.
For all those who work hard to get to the top, here are a few ways you can double your profits at your next tradeshow.
Make a game plan.
Usually, I am a huge fan of letting sales departments and managers do their thing without too much outside interference. However, when it comes to tradeshow planning, I recommend that you get involved to ensure that the plan is in place and close as many business opportunities as possible. Make sure that everything is in place for tremendous success, from positioning to marketing materials to floor models to tradeshow discounts.
Do not save a few bucks to lose a few thousand.
From the week before to the week following the tradeshow, flights, hotel rooms, and other expenses will likely be higher. It’s annoying, but it shouldn’t stop you from finding the best deals. Your team should be happy, healthy, and ready to go.
Professional exhibitors are recommended.
Many companies are reluctant to hire professional demonstrators and exhibitors because it seems like a waste. Professional exhibitors and demonstrators can be expensive. Your sales and marketing team are better at showcasing your products than you. This thinking has a problem. Most of your employees won’t be strong public speakers. If you do have some, it’s a great reason to make them available for clients who require private demonstrations.
Invest in training.
I am sorry if it appears that my entire column is a guideline on how to spend money. The truth is, I have seen too many sales teams cut corners on their preparations after spending six to seven figures setting up tradeshows. This is a terrible way to plan, and it will not make you a winner at the tradeshow. Tradeshow sales training is possible in just a few days for a fraction of the cost of travel. So forget about the expense and make sure you remember the investment.
Not the fastest, but the most sales.
Salespeople are constantly reminded in my seminars that the odds of getting an order drop dramatically once you and your prospect leave the tradeshow. But they don’t fall to zero. A robust system for capturing names and following up after the tradeshow can make a huge difference in how you see the results of the tradeshow. You should do your best to get orders and accounts while you are on-site, but you shouldn’t lose sight of the ones that did not succeed. Even if only two to three of the ten sales close, that’s still a better result than direct mail or cold calling. So, win the sales you can.
Carl-Henry is a management consulting expert. He is a management consultant who specializes in helping companies select top sales and customer service talent. Carl is also a Certified Speaking Professional, the author of numerous books and articles on sales, customer service, and sales management. He hosts webinars and seminars for clients around the world.