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A Walk In Our Client's Shoes.

May 08, 2015

The last two days have been a series of contrasts. Time went by in a flash, but the days were very long. I find myself drained and exhausted; yet energized and eager to repeat them. I vacillate between the satisfaction derived from new leads, strengthened client relationships, mass exposure and the fear of not knowing which, how soon, or to what extent any of these qualified leads or new contacts will turn into new business. We just finished exhibiting at a tradeshow (The SC Manufacturing Expo)!

Let me share how some of the basics I’ve taught, trained and encouraged over the years played out in our experience.

1. We established goals and communicated them to the booth staffers:

A. Goal 1: Reinforce among a key target audience (manufacturers) that we are THE WORLD’S LEADING PROVIDER OF CUSTOM MODULAR EXHIBITS. This was a message prominently featured in our booth graphics seen by over 2000 people. The message was reinforced by announcements made by the show producer with whom we had a sponsorship agreement.

B. Goal 2: Generate new, qualified leads (as this was the first time this show ever occurred we did not have a pre-show target for specifying a quantity of leads). Among the total contacts from the show we identified 19 qualified leads for new pieces of business. These ranged from small budget one time transactions to potentially large clients displays and services for international tradeshows, projects for on-site (in factory)  display installations, and multi-unit needs. 

C. Goal 3: Obtain contacts for our database. Knowing that many of the attendees would not be our specific ideal contact within a target company, our booth staffers elicited the names of 77 decision makers or key influencers for us to contact and/or market to.
2. We selected a show that aggregated a large audience of targeted prospects which fit in with over all company marketing goals. 

We then selected a booth space at the show that was placed in an “attendee traffic pattern” that would maximize our presence. We were on a corner that would be passed by anyone going to a breakout presentation or the food areas. 

3. Our exhibit was designed to get noticed.

It was designed to be a Brand Ambassador, to carry our message as well as to meet our functional needs of a monitor, a work shelf, hidden storage, and take advantage of height. We put padding under the flooring (which aesthetically stood out) to cushion our feet as the exhibits were open for long periods of time. 

4. We benefitted from pre-show as well as at show promotional activity.

Our logo was promoted on line and in print many times over several months leading up to the show. We had our products in high visibility areas outside of our booth space for extra exposure. Our sponsorship of the show enabled us to get our logo in at least 12 areas outside the booth for increased awareness. We had additional signage, a branded table and literature at a breakout session we sponsored which also enabled me to define/position our company in the minds of about 200 participants. (Others that spoke at different times included the Governor, the Secretary of State/Dept. of Commerce, several major CEOs and a former White House Policy expert). 

5. Our booth staffers were aware of our goals and primed (before the show) on the basics of booth staffing techniques.

Sure, some are better at it than others. Some of the best don’t necessarily come from your sales dept. Sometimes booth staffing can be a great opportunity for your ‘inside’ people to get face-to-face with the clients they help during the normal course of work.

6. Before the show we established a lead management plan that will ensure appropriate data is entered into our system and followed up on.

Presumably, when we calculate our 'Return on Objective' we'll likely be committing to next year's event.

7. Lastly, while following up on the immediate leads (easily identifiable from the lead sheets we created and utilized), we'll seek to extend the life of the show via social media.

booth display, design, exhibit, tradeshow, businessblog, scmanufacturing, scmfg, ashevillesc, columbiasc, charlestonsc, greenvillesc, skylinexd
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