Trade shows used to be a great excuse for people to travel out of town to eat fancy dinners on the company’s dime. They are now a way to close an entire year of sales in just a few days.
With hundreds of decision-makers at once, or even thousands, more companies realize the potential. I receive a lot of calls from sales managers and business owners who ask me to help them prepare their teams for the event. It takes only a few weeks to prepare. These are some of the first things I teach my team:
Set big goals.
Trade shows are an excellent opportunity for salespeople. Nearly all your most prominent clients and prospects will be there. They’re also likely to be in a buying mood. Your company spends big on exhibitions and travel. This is your best chance of securing dozens of new accounts quickly.
Set up appointments.
Do not expect to meet the women and men you want to meet. Before the trade show, call them and remind them that they will be there in person. Then, arrange a time for you to meet up. Breakfast and dinner are the best times for clients to meet.
Do your “boothmanship.”
You need a strategy to stand out and get prospects interested quickly. Larger trade shows can be almost carnival-like. This is what I call “boothmanship” and can make the difference between leaving with hundreds of contacts and clients and spending several days watching others make sales.
Be aware of the pricing strategy.
Many companies offer “tradeshow deals” to help close new accounts quickly. It’s a good idea for you to review yours before. Be ready to answer any questions clients may have, even if your company doesn’t offer discounts. Tradeshow attendees are more likely to ask for discounts than in any other setting. Be prepared.
You should be ready to close quickly.
You need to ensure everything is ready for sale. This includes setting up a meeting room and preparing paperwork in advance. This is important for two reasons: First, clients are more likely to be excited about new products and ideas than they are to complete paperwork on the spot. Second, you only have so many hours to meet buyers, so don’t waste their time on mundane tasks that could’ve been completed before you board a plane.
Keep following up.
Don’t let the tradeshow go by without contacting your prospects. Follow up with those you met. There may be buyers who weren’t able to find the right product at the tradeshow but are still open to working with your company.
You will have more time for the future.
A sales team should allow 3 to 6 months for preparations for significant tradeshows. You can make more sales if you do your research well in advance. Give yourself enough time to prepare for the next tradeshow.
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.