You have chosen the best position for your stand, invested the money for the biggest one you can afford and then been shocked by all the additional costs – who knew electricity points cost so much?!!! So how do you now get the best return on that investment? Here’s the top 5 steps to success:
- Know your why – I am stealing from Simon Sinek’s great book title but it is important. Why are you attending – some reasons could be:
– to make some sales
– to get at least 50 qualified leads from independents
– to meet the big boys whether that is buyers from grocery multiple buyers, food service or travel industry
– to find business partners such as wholesalers, outsourcing or designers
Set an objective for the event just like you would any other marketing activity and then plan your approach based on this. Designing your stand to find a distributor will need different messages to how you design it to attract independent delis
- Fail to prepare, prepare to fail – make sure you have thought through every eventuality of the stand.
– how are you going to capture contact data? – are you relying on the exhibition data capture system – I suggest you also have a sheet for people to fill in – include a column for your personal notes of who they were and why you are keen to meet them – by the end of three days – you will have met so many people and not have a clue who they all were!
– make a list of everything you need – are you giving out samples? Do you have plates, spoons, allergen listings…….and always take refuse sacs and a bin!! And pens – you can never have enough pens!
– pre invite people – let everyone know you are going on social media and invite them to your stand number. Also if you have specific buyers you are wanting to meet – send them an invite via linked in
- On the day – get there early to set up so that you are ready when the doors open,
– brief your team (make sure you have enough cover) with the objectives, product knowledge and how to sell to people
– ensure everyone knows who the key buyers are so that if they come on the stand, they can pass them to you or free you up if you are tied up in a different conversation
– ensure everyone is dressed to fit the brand and are wearing comfortable shoes
– ban mobile phone use and eating on the stand – looks unprofessional
– plan in plenty of breaks for the team to keep them fresh and also to go see the competition!
- Afterwards – manage your expectations, I went to an exhibition last year and got 30 qualified leads – I followed them up diligently and not one turned into a sale. But it had raised my profile and new clients did follow – but there was a time lag. The picture at the top gives some great statistics on sales success – use them to feel reassured!!
– follow up as soon as possible but be patient – remember that show visitors will be inundated with follow up calls
– email first and then try phone calls
– don’t be a stalker – try and add value to your messages with information that your potential client may be interested in
- Next year – the last thing you may be thinking about is investing another load of money but IF the event is a success, now is the time to rebook – you will have a better idea of positioning for the ideal stand for you and a good chance of getting it.