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Getting the most out of your upcoming trade show will require a lot of work before, during and after the show takes place. There are leads to follow, people to mingle with and a brand to build. Doing a trade show is like networking among the experts.
While a trade show can be a fun experience, you're there to get the best deals possible. Unfortunately, the leads you generate from trade shows may not turn into customers if you leave them alone. Leads take work, and you must follow through to get a good payoff. Getting the leads in the first place will take time and energy, but everything will be worth the struggle if the investment works out.
The data and leads you generate from a trade show can be a big win for your company if you play smart. Here are five tips to help you maximize this data.
1. Follow up on Leads
While you will put a lot of work and care into finding the leads, you'll also need to follow up with them after the show is over. The timing of following up is critical to a successful trade show. With both hot and cold leads, breaching contact within the next business day will put you ahead of your peers and show your lead how passionate you are to make a deal.
Create a loosely drafted email ahead of the trade show. This way, when you do make a lead, you can contact them with just the click of a button. One email is not enough, so send another a few days later and be sure to call during business hours. The best times to talk is usually between 4 and 6 p.m.
2. Find Your Priorities
A trade show is hopefully going to net you a lot of leads to follow up on. While you should consider everyone, a hot lead should get your full attention first. A hot lead is anyone willing to make a deal right away instead of sitting on an offer for consideration. While you're out at the trade show collecting various cards, be sure to separate them into different pockets based on hot and cold leads.
For a hot lead, you'll want to pander to them. Try to be flexible enough to work on their schedule to show you're willing to make adjustments for them in the future. If you get lucky enough to schedule a meeting, be sure to ask them when the best time will be for them. They will be more likely to meet with you and break a deal if you see to their needs.
When contacting your leads both during and after the show, you want to make them feel special. Speaking to them with the same spiel you used on everyone else isn't going to leave a good first impression. Personalizing emails, for example, is a tremendous first step through the door. You also want to prove you're human by having some amount of fun at these events.
When creating your booth for the show, make sure yours stands out. Many people will have unique flooring or personal lighting, but you can make yours attractive and memorable just for being fun. By infusing social media or creating a photo op, your booth can have something your leads will take home with them after the show is over.
4.Have a Plan
The planning stages before the show even begins may mean the difference between success and failure during the event. Details about the booth are essential, but you want to have a strategy about tracking down leads. Go in knowing what your company needs and what you can offer others. Create a list of companies you plan to approach during the trade show, too.
Data is just as relevant as following leads at trade shows. Make sure to house an internal data audit before the show to know your organization's needs and offers. The data you can gain from other companies could be invaluable, so knowing your investments first is crucial.
5.Build or Acquire Data
Making your own data is great for bringing to market for offers, but it may not be the perfect strategy to use. Trading or buying data from leads might be the best path for you. After figuring out what you need and already have, acquiring data should be much easier.
The ideal way forward is finding a data research company to build data tailored explicitly for you. Getting personalized data is highly effective, cost-efficient and enables you to gain long-term relationships with the other company. Creating positive professional relationships is everything.
Look Forward to Trade Shows
A poorly thought-out trade show can be a headache. Going in organized with a plan is the most important tip. While a lot is going on and the show can be tiring, remember you're there to work the room, meet new people and have fun. You want to get the most of out of your visit, but going in with an enthusiastic attitude may be the most important act of all.