Thursday, June 5, 2008

Earl Flormata - BBB Lunch and Learn - How to Run a Successful Tradeshow Booth

Today I attended a lunch and learn as I was invited by my friend Jimmy Gray, better known as Jimmy the Trade Show Guy in the networking circles of the lower mainland.

Before launching into the content, I wanted to mention that Jimmy is a very passionate fellow about his business and his art of networking. One of the networking royalty as alluded to in Darcy Rezac’s books. He has a very warm and gracious nature and is a person who is always welcoming to talk to. I first met Jimmy at a Vancouver Board of Trade roundtable event, and keep bumping into him everywhere as he is an avid networker.

On to the content – the 3 most important things I’ve learned from Jimmy from his talk were as follows:

1) Tradeshow statistics and purpose
2) Never sell at a tradeshow
3) A rundown of the Pre / During / and Post show activities

Starting with the statistics on the attendees:

80% are decision makers or influencers
54% plan to purchase within the next 12 months
75% are looking for new suppliers
8.5 hours is avg. time spent on a show
87% of have not been called by and exhibiting company salesperson in the past 12 months

Wait... so people spend all of this money on tradeshows, attendees visit their booths, staff, resources and time are spent on getting exposure, and staggering 87% of people who have expressed interest are not getting sales calls from the exhibitors? What’s going on here? Are people just being dropped through the cracks in the systems? Perhaps the system itself is faulty, or maybe there isn’t even a system implemented in the first place.
The entire purpose of a tradeshow is getting market exposure and generating potential leads to book appointments with. All a lead is in the end is potential. If said potential is never released, then it is wasted.

So what can we do to implement a system so that people are never left falling through the cracks? First we need a timeframe of reference to find out when to call clients back. Jimmy has suggested that we call everyone back within 72 hours. A phone call is so much more personal than an email blast. Even just a quick hello, and asking permission to add them to your email list, send a catalogue, or booking an appointment differentiates you from your competitors, and that’s an important distinction to think about.

Speaking of distinctions, this brings me to the second topic of NEVER sell at a tradeshow. Remembering the purpose of the tradeshow is to create market exposure and generate leads. Granted the end result is increased sales, and you might be thinking that a bird in the hand... but while you’re busy selling, hundreds of leads bypass your booth because you’re too busy to engage with anyone else. Book an appointment with your oh-so-close sale and give them the ability to enjoy the rest o the trade show as well instead of spending their entire time at a single booth.

Lastly – Jimmy handed out some GREAT lists of pre/during/post show activities and checklists,

...but if you want those, you’re going to have to chat with him directly as it’s his content.
Drop me a line at the Infiniti Point Office - 604 638 1612 and I'd be happy to introduce you to him.

I’m looking forward to becoming a member of the BBB and attending more of these lunch and learns, and perhaps even one day being the presenter at one of these events.

Thanks for reading,
Earl Flormata

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