The Roadmap To Tradeshow Success

Edmiston Group, Road Map to Success, TradeshowIt’s tradeshow season and are you preparing for success or wasting your money going without a plan? Without a plan how will you measure the show’s success to determine how to spend resources in 2016? Why should anyone stop at your booth? When they stop by – are the people manning the booth engaged in talking with their audience or looking at their phones? Who wants to talk with someone who is more interested in texting than actually having a conversation? It’s important to have a process in place, especially if you are looking for a meaningful ROI when it comes to making budget decisions for next year.

Make sure you have qualifying questions on your give-a-way registration – are they planning a project within the next six months, can you subscribe them to your newsletter, would they be interested in setting up an appointment. Sometimes people drop business cards in a bowl without completing the form. Try to engage those individuals and if possible request a second business card – or when they walk away, fold down the corner of the card so you know to follow-up. Define the process before the show.

Now that you’ve made a lot of great new connections, the show is done and you think the phone will begin ringing off the hook. You’re on top of the world. But guess what, unless you take action on those connections, those business cards are nothing more than a piece of paper. That’s right…just another pile of papers with little to no value. So how do you convert those slips of paper into a valuable business relationship, a relationship that will lead to a client, a strategic partnership or a great vendor relationship?

This is where the good news comes in. You control the outcome. The number one challenge that business owners fail to do is follow-up. We have the tendency to start with the greatest intentions. We invest in a great display, purchase meaningful promotional items, dress our best for the day, and then drop the ball when it comes to follow-up. We simply fail to have a plan.

Let’s face it, if an ideal prospect talked with you, they likely talked with your competitor too. So how do you stand out from your competitors? Simple: it’s all in the follow-through and execution of the plan and taking the time to communicate before and after the show will reap rewards.

  1. Reach out to customers and potential clients prior to the show – announce where you’ll be and what your give-a-way will entail.
  2. Have open ended questions on your registration slips to identify potential leads and ask if you can add them to your newsletter list
  3. Within 10 days – follow-up with a thank you or an appointment request.

Follow the above steps and your chances of outsmarting your competitors soar. You can use a tool such as Constant Contact to stay in touch both before and after the show. Did you fail to respond within 10 days? Don’t worry, there’s always next year.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business growth.

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