Fall is traditionally a busy time for trade shows. Whether you’ve participated as a vendor or as a customer you know by experience that they can be a very good resource for drumming up new business.
The problem is: most business simply do not know how a well played conference marketing plan can make a huge difference in the outcome.
In other words; it’s important to know exactly how to walk away from your next trade show with not only cash sales but long term business prospects.
First of all, where can you find a list of upcoming trade shows that you can participate in? There is a great website that I love called the “Trade Show News Network” http://www.tsnn.com/ and it has a very extensive listing and a great search engine to target you efforts.
Once you create a list of targeted shows then you simply want to call them up and negotiate a booth space. If you’re just starting out, a 10′ X 10′ space will suffice and if you’re seasoned you could get as many as 6 to 8 spaces together.
However, when you talk to the producers you should make sure to ask if there are any speaking spots. Why? Because that’s how you build the most trust, credibility and respect for you and your business.
Speaking is the most important thing you could do from a conference marketing perspective. Think of it this way. It’s your target market and you’re the one who’s holding the microphone. Perfect. You are seen as the expert and that is essential to creating business.
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=> “Trade Show Marketing Secrets.” <=
Please want to do business with leaders and when you speak, you have that leadership status that they’re looking for. The problem usually occurs when you open your mouth and don’t know what to say or do. That’s an article for another day but you really shouldn’t wing it. Get some training from someone who knows how to present effectively. That’s the key!
Anyway, back to the negotiation. When you speak with the producers of the event, make sure you request a speaking spot and use the purchase of the booth space as leverage. Have a good idea of what your topic is and why it is relevant.
You shouldn’t just use your speaking position to promote your business. That happens as a natural results of delivering a great seminar. You should give real value to the audience. Fix a problem, give direction and help others succeed.
The producers should see the value in it and they will likely give you the spot of you choosing if you do it correctly.
Plan well ahead of the trade show date and make sure you’ve got a great booth set-up ready. A well designed pop-up booth can put a great face to your company and I would highly recommend that you get one. Professional looking booths can attract traffic and give the perception that you’re there to do business.
So, let’s say the big day arrives. What should you do? Well, I highly recommend that you use your booth as the landing zone to promote your speaking spot.
Get yourself at least 4 volunteers (or employees) to work the show with you. Put one or two of them at the entrance to hand out flyers for the speaking spot. You must promote it. People don’t just show up. There are many things to do at a trade show and your speaking spot is just one of them.
The flyers that you hand out should create curiosity for the event. Your name and the name of your company are not a headline. Think up a clever way to grab their attention and pull them to the seminar room.
At your booth, have your volunteers enrol and engage the foot traffic. Do demonstrations and ask a lot of question of the participants. That way, if you know what they need you can actually help them.
Refrain from the old style “elevate pitch”. It doesn’t work that well anymore. People do not want to be sold. They will however buy into what you are doing if you show an interest in them.
Hand out your flyers for the speaking spot at the booth and make sure you tell everyone to make sure they come. Tell them they won’t receive as much value in the entire show as they will receive at the seminar. Good conference marketing requires you to be confident and not afraid to be a great self-promoter.
What’s next? The seminar. The ins and out of that I’ll leave for another day but, let’s just say: it’s not what you present but, HOW you present it that matters.
Learning how to enrol and engage your audience and get them to take action requires training. For more information on that, have a look at my “Train the Trainer” course. It’ll help you learn everything you need to know to make money at your next trade show from a conference marketing perspective.