Exhibitions are the perfect environment to generate sales leads, close sales and speed up the sales process. Even as technology progresses and new information becomes easier to find, a good old face-to-face meeting is still more likely to secure a deal. That’s not all, exhibitions also allow you enhance your brand image, collect potential prospects details and maintain your relationship with your current customers.
Your exhibition success should be measured by Return on Investment (ROI) which means your number one goal should be to generate leads and close sales.
The Pre and Post Exhibition Meeting
With such an expansive range of benefits to exhibiting, different departments may have very different reasons to be there. This isn’t a bad thing but it does mean you should meet with the relevant people to decide what you want to achieve as a company and how to do so. SMART Objectives should be put in place and the team manning your exhibition stand should be kept in the loop so they understand their role in achieving the objectives.
Here are some examples of SMART Objectives that are commonly set in the exhibition industry or you can read our article on SMART Objectives for an Exhibition -
- Generate ‘x’ amount of sales leads within a certain time
- Meet with ‘x’ amount of existing customers within a certain time
- Follow up on ‘x’ amount of sales leads within a certain time after the exhibition
After the exhibition is over have another meeting to discuss what went well and more importantly what went wrong and how you can improve. Look back at your SMART objectives and go over them in detail with your co-workers.
- Did you set the correct objectives?
- Were the objectives too easy/difficult to complete?
- How will you change your objectives next time?
Top Tip – Learn from previous events and use these meetings to refine your objectives until they suit your overall objectives as a business perfectly.
Target the Correct People
Defining your target audience is essential to improving your ROI, this should be discussed in your ‘Pre-Exhibition Meeting’ however there are a few things you can do once you leave the meeting room to get the right people to visit your stand.
A few of the things you should consider when deciding upon a target market may be:
- Job Title
- Type and Size of Organisation
- Relationship with your Brand
- Areas of product interest
Often the exhibition organiser you will provide you with a list of people that have bought tickets/signed up to go, if you ask. You can use this list to your advantage by analysing which of these people meet the description of your target audience, with this information you can then contact them directly to invite them to visit you. The more personalised you get with this the better, refrain from sending an automated e-mail to everyone on your list that matches your target market as many people see this as insincere.
Top Tip – A handwritten letter as opposed to an automated email can be a great way to provide a personal touch when inviting people to meet with you.
The Big Day
The big day is here, all of your planning and preparation comes down to this, but there is still more you can do to improve your ROI whilst exhibiting. Get interactive for example – do something no one else is doing and give people a reason to visit your stand over someone else’s. From iPad games to football shootouts, anything you can think of that breaks the monotony of exhibiting is sure to bring in plenty of new leads, if you can make it relevant to your business that is even better.
Use social networking, onsite advertising, email marketing and website graphics to create a buzz around what you’re doing. This can be done alongside competitions and giveaways to really entice people to visit you and see what you have to offer.
Enjoy yourself. Far too often exhibition staff look either bored or exhausted, whilst it is true that exhibiting is an exhausting task, do your best to stay upbeat. This is your chance to show to the world your hard work and what you have to offer so be excited about it!
Top Tip – Allow for regular breaks throughout the day in order to stay refreshed and energised, working an exhibition can be tiring job.
The Follow Up
During the course of your exhibition experience you should collect business cards or at least take down prospects contact information onto a notepad, this information is the key to maximising your ROI and without it, you’ll be losing money.
Here are some tips on how to properly follow up on your sales leads:
- Personalise emails with the prospects name and the event that you met them at in the subject line. Don’t automate this email as people will know and people will be less inclined to follow up with you.
- Have a specific call to action when following up with leads, whether it be a white paper download, a demo or encouraging them to purchase a product. Make it clear where you want them to go next.
- Follow up within 2-3 days after the event has finished, give them enough time to rest but not enough time to forget about you.
Top Tip – Categorise your leads based on urgency (hot, warm and cold) when leads are being followed up salespeople know who to contact first.
We hope this guide helps you to improve your return on investment at future exhibitions. At XL Displays we provide everything from portable exhibition stands right up to custom built exhibition stands. Please contact us or call our sales team on 01733 511030 for more information.