Earmarking budget and resources to an industry lead expo is a huge commitment for most companies. You want to ensure that you get your monies worth out of every show. Being given a role in an organisation's expo’ team is both exciting and daunting for most people, even the most experienced of sales people.
To help you attract leads to your next expo, we have compiled a list of must dos and a few don’ts. Also, you might find it helpful to divide your expo into 3 phases – before, during and after.
Here’s some suggestions on what you can do before, during and after an expo’ to help you attract more leads and get the most from your investment.
Before arriving at the expo
- Know Your Key Objectives: Ensure you fully understand your organisation’s strategy for attending a chosen expo. Just being there is not enough, have clear objectives: prospecting, product promotion, demo’s? Also understand with what metrics you/your team will be measured against. Is it the number of business cards you acquire? The number of appointments you make? The number of demos you give and have scheduled? The quantity and quality of details you record in your customer relationship system (CRM)?
- Define Who to Target at the Expo: Produce personas/avatars by job title. Use the information produced when creating your personas e.g where they read info', whether they prefer to call rather than email, which social channels they use etc. Add them into your CRM, send them invites which will resonate with them and spark their interest. Connect with individuals on their preferred social platforms… start building relationships but do not spam people, choose good fit contacts that you know have a mutual interest or that you know you can help, or end up in their bin!
- Get Your Prospect To the Expo: Once you know who you want visiting your stand at the expo, you need to get them there. If they are hot prospects or current customers, send/buy them a pass to the event. For your prospects push for them to book one-on-one appointments with you/someone on your team at the expo. Treat them as any other appointments, call to arrange a meet up and send follow up emails/reminders. Why not book the meet ups at unusual times so they are more easily remembered? Choose times when the expo floor is unavailable or before the expo dinner when they will have time to spare and not miss any key note speeches. If your appointment is missed, follow up immediately during the expo. They probably had another meeting that ran over or a speaker/demo that they did not want to miss, so show your flexibility by rearranging their appointment with them.
Download our Manufacturing Expo Plan to help you and your team attract more leads and get the most out of having a stand:
While at the expo
- Arrange a Face to Face Meet-up: It is still true, there is nothing better than meeting potential customers face-to-face. Get out in front of the expo attendees and get yourself seen. You can rest later! Remember to be assertive not aggressive.
- Be Approachable, Smile and Use Eye Contact: The optimum conversation methodology is: question, response, question, observation… Take small steps; don’t go in with the hard sell; get to know your prospects first.
- Choose a Team With Mixed Skill Sets: Your team will all have individual key skills and roles, which is why you chose them to represent your organisation at the expo. Companies usually choose a mixture of employees, those that can sell and those proficient at reaching out to other businesses and building a network of contacts; ensure your team remain in the roles given.
- Listen and Learn From Your Customers: know your key questions and stick to them but also adapt if your questions aren’t having the desired affect or are falling flat. Record all questions you have been asked and summarise the answers, so you can share with the rest of your team members ensuring everyone gives a unified response. You don’t want a prospect coming back and asking their question again to another colleague and getting a different answer! If you communicate your products’/services unique features with clarity you will be onto a winner and clarity is better than persuasion.
- Qualify Your Leads Before Taking up Their Time: Only take up someone's time if they are a good fit and genuinely interested in your products/services. Don’t give your giveaways away to just anyone. Make sure you qualify them and receive the information you need to nurture them moving forwards. Also, guarantee your giveaways are worthy of the amount of information you are requesting.
- Give and Receive: Sometimes old school tricks are the best! Give out business cards to everyone you spend time with. Keep your business cards in one pocket. When your prospect gives you theirs, write key takeaways about their requirements on it and then put it in the other pocket.
- Get Yourself a Speaker’s Slot: (if this isn’t possible join a panel.) Prospects respond better to company’s/individuals who are providing advice and giving solutions to problems they have been experiencing. They are more likely to come and seek you out if you show authority in your area rather than bore them with the same old sales spiel, they’ve heard many times before.
- Remember it is a Marathon, Not a Sprint: most expos are over a number of days – don’t be up ‘prospecting’ each night – you will need stamina to be a success!
Following the expo
- Build Relationships With Other Vendors at the Expo: even if these don’t turn into good fit leads, you can build a valuable relationship with these vendors who could become prospects themselves in the future, referral link builders or great partners.
- Follow-up With Every Contact You Have Made: whether good fit or bad, you never know how that relationship could change in the future, who they are connected with etc. People and businesses evolve over time and can become good fits.
- Invite to Your Next Expo: While you have these new good fit contacts, you want them to attend your stand at your next expo. Follow up the metrics you were given at the outset.
Much of your lead generation before the Expo will point your prospects towards your website to get those all important registrations. Our guide to 'Lead Generation' ensures your website will get prospects to engage with your event invitation and part with their contact details and ultimately register.