Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows
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Overview: What is the ideal Tool to capture leads at events and trade shows?

Overview: What is the ideal Tool to capture leads at events and trade shows? | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

Trade shows and events are multifaceted marketing instruments. When implemented properly, they can

  • boost company awareness
  • serve multiple PR purposes
  • form an important part in recruitment strategies and
  • allow benchmarking with competitors.

The importance of selling directly at shows has been declining, however, generating sales leads at trade shows ranks highest for most of the exhibiting companies.

Ultimately, it is the crucial success factor for organizers: Your show is sustainably successful when this criterion is fulfulled – facilitating lead generation via techical toolscan be one way to achieve that objective!

Particularly small and medium-sized companies anf first-time exhibitors don’t seem to pay enough attention to the process of retrieving and managing leads at such events and, thus, don’t get the maximum impact from their participation.

In the old days, lead capture was done on sheets of paper with some notes and a business card stapled to it.

Not bad, but, hey!, we can do a lot better nowadays, can’t we?

In an ideal world, the lead capture and follow-up process by exhibitors is closely linked to the activities of the show organizer – before (pre-show marketing), during (e.g. badge scanning) and after the event.

That’s where technology comes in. I have endeavoured to present some of the available services in this post. Some come more from the organizers perspective, others focus on the needs of the exhibitors, some combine both views. I am sure there are more out there, so please feel free to comment and add services.

What are the most important criteria for an organizer when selecting the right lead management tool to provide to your exhitibitors?

  • Simple interfaces to visitor registration, CRM and exhibitor databases (if not fully integrated anyway)
  • Monetisation: To what extent can you turn this service into a business model?
  • Data protection: Is the process of lead capture and management bullet-proof from a data protection point-of-view?
  • Usability: Sleek, easy-to-use front-end both for visitors and exhibitors.

What do exhibitors look for when qualifying sales leads?

  • Can the software be fully integrated into CRM tools like Salesforce, SAP or others.
  • Is the lead form customizable in terms of fields, contact details, priority, sales potential etc.
  • Does the tool offer automatic follow-up procedures, like setting reminders, sending follow-up emails?
  • Can you use it to present sales material and other digital assets like product videos? Some integrated solutions offer this A-Z approach.
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Choosing the Right Size Exhibit

Choosing the Right Size Exhibit | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

When you’re choosing the features that will go in your custom trade show exhibit, it’s important to consider how big it should be. The size of your exhibit can appeal to guests and draw them in. However, the size of the trade show venue and the overall reputation you want to establish for your business are just as important. Here are some tips for selecting the right exhibit size.

Assembly Time

Think about the time that it will take for you to put the exhibit together. In general, the bigger your booth, the more features it will have. Consider how long it will take you to travel to the venue and how long it will take you to greet trade show attendees. The shorter the assembly time, the better.

Product Size

The size of the products that you’re showcasing can determine how large your exhibit should be. If you’re selling small items like technology accessories or jewelry, your booth probably doesn’t need to be extremely large. However, if you’re displaying large items like power tools, a bigger trade show table or a larger display space is ideal. Just make sure that you don’t have too much extra room at your booth so you won’t have to worry about getting additional accessories to fill the space.

Booth Space

If you’re participating in a trade show at a large venue where hundreds of other vendors will be, you probably won’t have lots of space to set up a table. Choose an exhibit table that will properly showcase what you have to offer without making the space feel too crowded. If you’ll have more room and you’re one of the feature vendors, you’ll likely have more room and can set up a longer trade show table that allows you to present all of the products your company has to offer.

Customer Interaction

Finally, think about customer interaction when you’re choosing the right size for your trade show booth. Your table should be wide enough to show off all your products, but you and your team members should be able to get around the table comfortably. There should also be adequate space between your tables if you want customers to participate in games or giveaways or have a kiosk for customers to take surveys. If your custom trade show exhibit feels too crowded, this could be a turn-off for customers. It will also be difficult for your team members to get supplies from under the table or come around the table to hand out your marketing materials or shake customers’ hands.

Keep these tips in mind when you’re putting together marketing materials for the trade show and organize the décor for your booth. When you combine your professional creativity with trade show logistics, there’s a good chance that you’ll leave the trade show with lots of promising leads that can turn into long-term customers.

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The Five Stages of Tradeshow Management -

The Five Stages of Tradeshow Management - | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |
Stage One: Don’t we have a show coming up in, oh, a few months?

This is the stage where you KNOW you have a show coming up, but you haven’t confirmed dates, haven’t confirmed who’s going, don’t yet know what products or services you’ll be promoting and, well, basically, anything to do with the show. There’s still plenty of time, right?

Stage Two: Have you signed up for the booth space yet?

The dates in the calendar are definitely getting closer. Should we confirm the space? Who’s going to do that? What about travel – should we book that yet?

Stage Three: When are we going to look at the booth to see if it still has what we need?

Just a few weeks left. Maybe time to update the booth. Let’s get someone to set it up and see what shape it’s in. Does it need new graphics? Is anything broken? You know the drill.


Stage Four: Panic!

Frantically shipping the booth, confirming lodging and travel with just a week or two left. Samples have shipped, right? What about the company branded shirts and promotional products? Isn’t Larry handling most of this? The PANIC stage moves from the brief pre-show panic into nearly full panic during the show, and finally subsides when you hit the airport.

Stage Five: It’s over, thank God! We don’t have to deal with it until this time next
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Tony's Quick Tips: 10 Tradeshow marketing tips

you learn a little bit more with each tradeshow, and gradually refine the process to make it even more effective for lead generation. In this quick video
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Three Terrifying Trade Show Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Three Terrifying Trade Show Mistakes and How to Avoid Them | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

Halloween is upon us, and with it come terrifying visions of specters, apparitions and phantoms.  Preternatural creatures are not the only thing that can strike terror in the hearts of event marketers. Horror stories of everything from missing trade show booths to forgetting equipment back at the office can be enough to keep even the most seasoned event marketer up at night. Below, we highlight three frightful follies that event marketers can fall prey to, as well as tips on how to avoid these trade show mistakes.


Missing Trade Show Exhibit

Tales of ships and planes vanishing in the vast mysterious waters of the Bermuda Triangle have filled the ears and stirred the imaginations of pilots, mariners and the general public for generations.

Like ill-fated vessels crossing into the Bermuda Triangle’s woeful waters, trade show exhibits can come up missing. Everything from exhibit freight companies forgetting to ship an exhibit on time, to exhibits getting lost in transit are very real and serious challenges faced by unlucky exhibitors.

The best way to avoid a missing exhibit is to partner with an experienced exhibit solution providerwho has a good relationship with a reputable freight carrier.  You should communicate your show schedule and timeline clearly with your freight carrier and check-in often to make sure everything is in order prior to shipping. Also, track your exhibit from the moment it is picked up to the second it gets dropped off at the event venue for extra peace of mind and to avoid trade show problems.

Too Much Exhibit, Too Little Space

Greed has been the inspiration for horror tales like Dante’sPurgatorio–which outlined it as one of the “Seven Deadly Sins” to Stephen King’s Thinner.

The horrors of greed are not confined to the pages of classic and contemporary literature. Sometimes well-intentioned exhibitors want to pack as many components and products as possible into their space. This can lead a cluttered and uninviting exhibit skipped over by attendees or–in some cases– fines from show or venue management.

To avoid the terror of having more than you bargained for, make sure that you plan out the exact amount of space you need to make an impact on the show floor during the exhibit design consolation process. A great way to avoid potential problems is by inquiring about a reconfigurable trade show display that can scale up or down in size depending on your needs. You should also study the show rules to ensure your exhibit is in compliance and double-check with venue and show staff if unsure.

Forgetting Equipment

In the movie Alive, the fear and dismay the audience feel is not generated by a monster or creature. Rather, viewers are terrified at the prospect of being stranded and ill-prepared for the elements.

The fear of being ill-prepared or forgetting a vital piece of equipment is a fear known all too well by event marketers. Something as simple as packing the wrong AV cables for your multimedia display can ruin an otherwise seamless event.

To avoid leaving vital equipment behind and to make sure you are fully prepared for your event, make sure you make a checklist of all your essentials. Go through your checklist often, and make sure that you assign items and tasks to member of your team to complete to avoid costly trade show errors.

Aviod Trade Show Mistakes with Help From Nimlok’s Guide to Trade Show Planning

Now that we have spooked you with three terrifying trade show mistakes, learn how you can avoid making them yourself, with Nimlok’s

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Trade Show Planning - Beginner's Guide - Part 1

Trade Show Planning - Beginner's Guide - Part 1 | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

Experienced marketers often complain about the chaos that precedes a show so it’s understandable when first time marketers say that coordinating a Trade Show is daunting and bewildering.

For all those who feel lost, here’s a list of everything you always wanted to know about coordinating Trade Shows but were afraid to ask.

  • How do I choose which show to participate in?

Research short-listed Trade Shows and analyze if participation will help meet brand objectives. Ask organizers for data from past shows and work-out what percentage of the attendees actually fit your customer profile. Consider the location of the show – this will help when you work to meet budget constraints. Also, find out about competitors planning to attend. After making a decision, sign up early to get a good location for the booth.


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25 Top Tips for Success in your Trade Show Booth 

25 Top Tips for Success in your Trade Show Booth  | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

Many businesses, especially B2B companies, rely on trade shows to gain clientele and promote their brand. Trade shows offer an opportunity to gain a better sense of current business trends and to develop a presence in your industry. Setting up and running a trade show exhibit is no easy task, but when it’s done right, the rewards are worth it. To ensure you’re heading for success in your trade show booth, take a look at the following 25 top tips.

Preparing for Success in your Trade Show Booth

1. Make sure it’s worth your investment

Before committing to a trade show, make sure it’s worth your while. Calculate your costs and potential for increased business. Make sure there will be a positive return on your investment.

2. Don’t do it alone

Even if you have a strong work ethic, you’ll need to take breaks. You should have at least one other person with you to make sure your exhibit is never left unattended. Even if it’s just a friend or family member, make sure they will be pleasant and personable with the attendees.

3. Dress right

When choosing attire for the show, make sure you are dressed to suit your industry and to make a good impression on visitors. Also, take into account factors like the temperature and possible rain if it’s an outdoor venue.

4. Be ready to answer questions

Make sure that you and your fellow exhibitors are well versed in your company’s product knowledge. It’s not enough to just memorize a sales pitch. It’s a shame to lose a hot lead by being uninformed, not to mention embarrassing.

5. Use a checklist

It may seem like extra work, but a checklist will go a long way to make sure you’re prepared for success. You should make an inventory of all the supplies, electronic equipment and documents you’ll need. You also should have a list of people you are expecting to meet there and pertinent info about them. (Here’s a checklist to start with.)

6. Arrive at the right time

There are a lot of things to do before the exhibit starts. You need time to learn the layout of the venue, where the restrooms and concessions are, meet with the organizers, make friends with your neighboring exhibitors and not feel rushed.

Marketing for Success in your Trade Show Booth

7. Invite potential customers to your booth before the show begins

Don’t just rely on foot traffic at the show to generate sales. Before the show begins, line up prospects via email, direct mail, social media and so on.

8. Promotional items

Hand out or give prizes with company logos on them such as pens, calendars and t-shirts. Visitors will be reminded of your company every time they use them.

9. Use raffles and giveaways to lure potential clients

When sending out pre-show materials, include a free raffle ticket or tell them they may win a free gift.

Did you know we rent furniture at shows too?!

Create Exhibits that Attract Visitors

10. Create a theme that fits your product or brand

Consider the product or location of your company, and fit the exhibit design to the theme. This is a way to nonverbally communicate what your brand is about, and will help ensure you achieve the desired success in your trade show booth.

11. Well-labeled displays

Make sure your booth has visible signs so attendees know who you are.

12. Well-lit displays

You don’t want your booth to be poorly lit. It will seem dull or dreary compared to other exhibits. Make sure the important items and features stand out.

13. Spruce up your booth with video and audio elements

As long as it’s within your budget and fits your brand image, large, full-motion video or live music attracts attendees like moths to a flame.

14. Provide hospitality

Free beverages and snacks are sure to draw people in. It can be as simple as coffee and pastries.

15. Draw attention with a costumed company mascot

If playful elements fit your brand, a costumed mascot will attract attention and put a smile on visitors’ faces.

16. Hire a spokesperson

If your budget allows, a local celebrity or semi-famous personality will boost your image and attract crowds.

Booth operations and visitor relations

17. Don’t ignore visitors.

This may seem to go without saying, but too many booth staff are busy with other tasks. Make sure your exhibitors are paying attention and giving every visitor a friendly nod, smile or hello.

18. Avoid distractions

Avoid too much chatter with your fellow exhibitors. Don’t get distracted with snacks, phone apps or other time wasters.

19. Don’t scare off visitors

Don’t accost visitors and go into a sales pitch unsolicited. Don’t say “may I help you?” – this question is over-used and tends to be brushed off or ignored. Instead, engage with your visitors.

20. Treat visitors as you would want to be treated.

It’s crucial to listen to potential clients. Don’t interrupt an attendee for the sake of getting out your memorized sales pitch.

Need a hanging banner? We have them for rent or purchase.

21. Qualify visitors

Assess that a visitor is a legitimate potential lead before getting into a lengthy conversation. Some direct questions about their work or why they are attending the show will help qualify them.

22. Take notes for follow-ups

In many cases, your goal may be to establish a continuing business relationship and repeat business rather than a one-time sale. You should take note of all pertinent information for qualified leads.

23. Make friends with your neighbors

Nearby exhibitors can offer help and may even send clients your way if they are in a non-competing industry.

Post-show Practices for Achieving Success in your Trade Show Booth

24. Prepare for follow-ups

You will probably be tired after the show, but the follow-up work is perhaps the most important part of the process. Make sure to do the steps to convert leads into sales.

25. Learn from your successes

Ask existing customers what made them buy from you. This will lead to better conversion rates at future exhibits.

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 7 key components to a successful trade show program

 7 key components to a successful trade show program | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

In my 24 years helping Toronto companies with their trade show displays, I’ve all too often seen exhibitors with good intentions unfortunately make the same mistakes, again and again. Even if they perform well on most facets of their trade show program, many times they fall down on one key part that drags down their entire performance.  So let’s help you avoid that.

Here are the most common mistakes made, for each of the 7 key parts of a successful trade show program:

1. Setting Objectives: Not setting objectives at all. Odd as it sounds, the biggest mistake exhibitors make about setting objectives is going to trade shows without having any! Too often they don’t have a well-thought out goal for exhibiting, going to the show because “we’ve always gone there.” Without objectives, there is nothing to aim for, and no guiding rod to decide what their strategy or tactics should be. Worst of all, they have no way to know if they have succeeded.

2. Budgeting: Not budgeting enough. It can be a big mistake to have a small budget. That’s because trade shows are notorious for unexpected costs, plus for surprisingly high late fees when deadlines are missed. Also, some exhibitors don’t budget enough to truly represent their brand appropriately at trade shows, or they neglect investing in areas like promotions, booth staff training, mural exhibit graphics, and measurement, that could significantly increase their sales and thus ROI, even if initial costs are higher.

3. Exhibit Design: Lack of customer focus. Too often exhibitors ask their exhibits to do too much, loading it up with more text and products than a trade show attendee can digest in a glance. Designing for the customer means focusing messages and images to those that will appeal to the attendee’s needs, and then designing those focused messages into visuals that are bold, clear, and compelling enough to capture their attention.

4. Promotions: Not using promotions to generate qualified leads. Have you ever seen an exhibitor offer an iPad giveaway and end up with a full booth? Unfortunately, they almost certainly were mostly people who didn't fit their target market profile, and were instead just people who wanted a free iPad. To get qualified booth visitors, offer giveaways and promotions that will appeal only to your buyers. Also, I've seen attendees handed a promotion and almost get shooed out of the booth, rather than the booth staffer use the promotion as a starting point for a meaningful conversation that turns into a qualified lead. You won't do that now, will you?

5. Booth Staffing: Selecting unwilling staffers. When exhibitors bring employees to staff the booth who would rather not be there, those reluctant staffers reveal their displeasure through inactivity, poor posture and complaints. Their bad attitude drags down the rest of the otherwise-willing staff. Instead, bring willing booth staffers, who will generate more leads and create a much more positive experience for attendees and thus bolster your brand.

6. Lead Management: No lead follow up. Because exhibitors return from the show both exhausted and behind on the work that piled up while they were away, sometimes the leads (the valuable leads they went to the show to get in the first place!) don’t get follow up letters or get assigned to sales people, until the leads are stone cold. Or the sales people get leads without any qualifying information, so they half-heartedly make a few calls and then give up. You can do better than that. Have your lead fulfillment planned before the show even starts, so you will be much more likely to make it happen. And qualify your leads at the show (hot, warm, future) with lots of comments on the better leads, so your sales people will be more likely to keep calling.

7. Measurement: Measuring the wrong thing. Almost every exhibitor comes back with lead counts from the show, which can be a good metric for that same show year to year. However, lead counts, and many other metrics (awareness, meetings, sales) don’t capture the metric that rules finance: ROI. When you calculate ROI for each show (ROI = ratio of the show’s sales divided by the show’s costs) you may find the show that gave you the most leads has a low closing rate and thus ROI, or that the average sale at one show is so much higher that even with fewer sales it has the best ROI. And with ROI, you can compare your trade show program to other company marketing investments more accurately.

How are you doing on these 7 important trade show areas?  If you are making only one of these mistakes, consider yourself among the elite, because these mistakes are fairly common. If you are making more than one, don’t worry, just pick the one you need to improve the most and fix that first. Then move on to the next one. And when you don’t make any of these common mistakes, you will be better than your competition, who likely still will.

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Get Noticed! 5 Tips for Marketing Your Idea at a Trade Show 

Get Noticed! 5 Tips for Marketing Your Idea at a Trade Show  | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

One of the best places for small business owners to make connections and market their ideas is a trade show. The right trade show can provide you with an “in” to kick start your business. For business owners with a great invention, it’s hard to beat attendance at a good trade show.

Your trade show attendance isn’t just about making connections, either. It is also a chance for you to attend helpful sessions on a variety of strategies and techniques that, when applied, can boost your business. However, attending a trade show requires planning, since most trade shows cost money.

Nicole Lininger, the Director of INPEX, the largest trade show for inventors in the United States, believes that it’s important to prepare for any trade show. She also works for InventHelp, the sister company to INPEX, to help small business owners and inventors prepare for trade shows.

“The goal is to connect inventors and entrepreneurs to companies,” Lininger says. “If you have an idea, you can market it at a trade show, connecting with decision makers that can potentially help you advance your product.”

If you want to make the most of your next trade show, Lininger offers five tips that any inventor or small business owner can use to make the most of any trade show:

1. Prepare an Elevator Pitch

“You need to be able to talk about yourself in a short, concise manner,” says Lininger. Any business owner needs to be able to describe what he or she does in 45 seconds or less — about the time you have on an elevator ride. Craft a pitch that is straightforward, and clearly describes your business, product, or invention. Do your best to make it attention-grabbing. If you can’t explain what you do quickly and clearly, work on your concept until you can.

2. Bring Someone With You

This is about dividing and conquering. If you are attending a trade show as an exhibitor, this is especially important. “You don’t want to be the only person in your booth,” says Lininger. “If you have to go somewhere, it’s good to have someone else in the booth so that attendees can speak with someone.”

Whether you need to attend a meeting, or whether there is an informative master class that you wish to learn from, you need to feel comfortable about leaving your booth.

3. Offer Giveaways

“Giveaways are always good,” says Lininger. “A promotional item with info about you and your company is something that others can take with them, and remember you.”

Not only will a giveaway draw more people to your booth if you are an exhibitor, but the item you choose can help you stand out in another’s memory. This works even if you aren’t exhibiting. A giveaway is a perfect way to break the ice, and create an impression in a potential partner’s mind. “If you already have a product sample, that’s the best giveaway,” says Lininger. “You can demonstrate your product, or pass out a few.”

4. Use Business Cards Effectively

Don’t forget that business cards are still a big part of the trade show experience. Lininger says that many small business owners, inventors, and purchasing representatives still pass out business cards at INPEX and other trade shows. It makes sense to run off business cards of your own.

When you collect a business card from someone, quickly jot down information on the back. “As you collect business cards, jot down notes on the back,” suggests Lininger. “Make a note of the people you need to follow up with, or who you promised a sample to. You want to be able to follow up quickly, and keep your promises.”

This also works on an electronic level. You can use apps like Evernote to snap images of business cards and people, and then attach notes so that you remember your connections, and so that you can form better partnership with them later.

5. Attend Informative Classes and Sessions

When it comes to INPEX, Lininger says that there is the possibility to buy a pass to educational sessions. “You can get a pass to seminars and presentations before the floor opens,” she says. Many other trade shows and conferences offer this option as well.

If you are an inventor or small business owner who isn’t quite ready to exhibit, this can be a good way to learn, as well as to network. For those who are wary of paying to attend a show right now, check to see if there is a public access option. INPEX opens its doors to the general public on the final day, and this can be just the right opportunity to walk the floor and get a feel for the show. Lininger also suggests that you can get more tips by following trade shows like INPEX on Twitter. (INPEX is @Invention_Show.) There are numerous online resources that can help you get ready for any trade show.

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19 Ways to Integrate Social Media into your Next Tradeshow or Event

19 Ways to Integrate Social Media into your Next Tradeshow or Event | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

Integrating social media into your tradeshow and event marketing plan is a great way to enhance your company’s next tradeshow presence.  As a Certified Tradeshow Marketer (CTSM),I have promoted and exhibited at more tradeshows than my family has fingers and toes! But now as a Social Media/Community Manager, it is fun to integrate the two worlds together. Here are some ideas on using social media to connect with your prospects, customers and show attendees before, after, and during your events for optimal results.

Pre-Show Social Media Marketing
  1. Find out what the tradeshow’s official hashtagsare for the show, and start following it 2-4 weeks prior to the show to learn trends and connect with key players. Use the hashtag and promote how you will be at the show on Twitter. Consider creating a hashtag specific to your company or campaign.
  2. Often new products or services are introduced at trade shows. Create a teaser video on YouTube to share prior to the show.
  3. What is the incentive to get people to the show at your booth? Share a photo that will get them excited and entice people to come check it out.
  4. Do you have Linkedin connections that you would like to personally invite to your booth or maybe have a lunch meeting with? Go ahead and send them a personal Linkedin message and ask to connect in person at the event.
  5. Create a landing page on your website specific for the show or event. This will be a great way to direct your booth visitors directly to information that pertains to them and have measurable web statistics as well.
  6. Is your company sponsoring an event or a speaker at the show? Be sure to promote your involvement to your followers to the special event or seminar ahead of time via social media.
  7. Connect with industry specific media contacts via Twitter or Linkedin, and ask them to stop by your booth to see new products, attend a seminar you are speaking at, or consider writing about XYZ story idea.  Press contacts will like having many photos and story ideas to write about and tweet about.
  8. Holding a VIP Party or other special event?  You could create a Facebook event pre-show to invite people and create some buzz prior to the party.


At-Show Social Media Marketing
  1. If you meet a customer who is estatic about your product or has a great story, ask if you can to take their photo (or video), then share their photo with their story or testimonial via social media.
  2. Images will be a great way to give people who are not at the show a glimpse into the happenings.  Not all the photos have to be on the show floor – photos after show hours or at special events, can also be fun.
  3. If you are speaking or sponsoring a speaker at the conference, take video of it to share later. Make sure the speaker has a microphone or videotaping is close enough to adequately hear video.
  4. Tradeshows and conferences are busy but don’t forget that you can schedule tweets and Facebook posts. This could be particularly useful if you are presenting on a topic at a specific time – schedule tweets of key talking points during your presentation for your seminar attendees and those who could not make it. I like to use Hootsuite for scheduling tweets.
  5. Contests or giveaways can combine social media with visiting the booth in person.  For instance, you could advertise a contest in your booth, have entries come thru the Facebook page, and then have the winners come back to the booth to get their prize.
  6. Include icons, web addresses, QR codes, and/or calls-to-action to your social networks in  your booth display as appropriate.
  7. Remember, one reason for participating in social media while you are at the show, is to “bring the show” to those people who cannot physically be there. Posting timely photos and show updates will help attendees who are hundreds of miles away feel like they are there at the show with you.
Post-Show Social Media Marketing
  1. Go thru you leads, business cards, and notes to see if there are people you met that you can connect with on Linkedin, follow on Twitter, or Like their business page. Make yourself more memorable by including a personal note or comment along with the connection.
  2. Write a blog post about participating in the show. You could use the seminar discussions, customer questions, or a story as the topic of your post.
  3. Follow up with your leads and connections via email and make sure your email includes links to all your social media accounts.
  4. If you held a seminar or have other educational materials from the show, it is great content to share after the event. You could share video clips of the seminar, slides on Sharepoint, or links to a PDF handout via social media.

These are just a handful of ideas to make your next tradeshow more social.  Using the pre-show and post-show ideas will also help stretch your tradeshow marketing efforts for a longer time period instead of just a few days.

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Social Media Tips for Your Next Trade Show

Social Media Tips for Your Next Trade Show | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

Social media doesn’t care whether your company is worth $100 billion dollars or $100. It doesn’t care whether you’ve been in business for 100 years or one month. With the right mix of informative and entertaining content, social media can help make an impact for your business at your next trade show.

While many of the following tips could be part of your everyday social strategy, they can also help you generate pre-show buzz, add an extra layer of engagement with your customers and expand your presence beyond the trade show walls.

  1. Follow the trade show’s social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. Like and share the show’s posts. (You scratch our back, we’ll scratch yours. Eh?)
  2. Use the official show hashtags (#CONEXPOCONAGG and #IFPE) to share news and events with attendees.
  3. Post early and post often. Don’t wait until the week of the show to start beefing up your online presence. Infrequent posts cause you to lose your connection with your audience.
  4. Publicize your booth number. Up the ante by offering a special prize for those that share your post or tweet out a selfie from your booth.
  5. Host a contest related to your product or service to collect leads for potential customers before or during the show. (CONEXPO-CON/AGG recently completed a social media contest that resulted in more than 1,500 attendee prospect leads.)
  6. Share your blogs or opinions about the industry to establish yourself as an expert in your product or service area.
  7. Connect with potential customers to start building or deepening a business relationship prior to the show.
  8. Post photos and videos. Demonstration videos are a great way to educate prospective customers about your product. Share updates live from the show floor for those who couldn’t attend. Don’t forget to have some fun with it too!
  9. Plan ahead. Even if you plan to have a team member dedicated to social media onsite, it is always a good idea to schedule key posts about your booth number, product/services and special show offers in advance.
  10. But wait! Social doesn’t end when the show is over. Go through your leads and invite potential customers to connect with you on LinkedIn. Even if they weren’t ready to close the deal at the show, you never know when they may want to rekindle the conversation.

Don’t stop here. These tips are just a few ways to amplify your presence at your next trade show or event.

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How to Best Measure the Value of Trade Shows

How to Best Measure the Value of Trade Shows | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

Trade shows and other kinds of industry events present superb PR and marketing opportunities. In addition to meeting prospects and potential partners, trade shows offer ideal venues for meeting reporters and editors. The shows are perfect for major news announcements and new product roll-outs or product upgrades. The trade show itself also promotes announcements by exhibitors.

The first step is to agree on your team’s goals and objectives and define the benchmarks. You might compare show-to-show or shows vs. direct mail vs. Facebook. The goals you select are instrumental in choosing the metrics. For instance, if your object is to sway opinions, the goal may be percent change in perception.

Choose a measurement tool. A clicker to count people visiting the booth may be simplest tool. Count the average number of people in the booth at the top of the hour, advises Katie Paine, CEO of Paine Publishing in her Trade Show & Event Measurement Checklist. Repeat at random times throughout the day and take the average. Other tools include surveys that measure the change in perceptions, sales tracking tools in customer relationship management systems (CRMs).

Tracking badge scans provides another level of booth visitor measurement. In entering badge scans in the company’s customer relationship management database, make sure to identify the individual as a trade show contact.

Monitoring Solutions

Media monitoring services offer an effective way to gauge the effectiveness of PR emanating from trade shows and industry events. Social media monitoring reveals what people say about your event, before, during and afterwards. Monitoring during the event may guide changes in messaging during the remainder of the show.

Make sure you begin measurement as soon as you release marketing materials, Paine recommends. Note the medium, the data, the author and if possible the source. Was it from a speaker, an attendee or a competitor?

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“Don’t just compare events, look at the big picture,” Paine advises. “Are events the most efficient way to get your message across, or to get new leads? Compare online virtual events to IRL (In Real Life) events.”

“Don’t forget to factor in the costs of attending,” she adds. “Travel budgets are severely restricted these days and a small change in the price of a ticket can make a big difference.”

Major Trade Show Metrics

Marketing and trade show experts suggest tracking metrics to measure the value of attending trade shows.

Media mentions. Note product mentions, if key messages were reported, if competitors were also mentioned and the message’s positioning, visibility and prominence.

Social media reach. Social media reach is a vanity metric which on its own gives no useful insights. Used in conjunction with other social media metrics like social media engagement, acquisition and conversion, however, media reach will give you an idea whether participating in a trade show was worth your time and money, says Stephanie Campanella of Tradies Get Online. “Use social media monitoring tools to track different social media metrics,” she advises.

Website traffic. Compare the difference in website visitors before and after the trade show, including changes to both direct and organic traffic, and calculate the percentage change. There should be an increase if the trade show was successful. Some companies create a landing page dedicated to the trade show to segregate and track visitors.

New leads. If your goal is to expand your database of leads that you can then nurture with lead management techniques, make sure to measure the number of new leads generated through trade show marketing, urges Rachel Sprung, events coordinator in the marketing department at HubSpot. Your marketing software with analytics tools should allow you to identify which of the submissions are new to your database.


Attributing revenue to trade shows is difficult since sales staff usually don’t close deals until months later – and because prospects at trade shows often have had previous contact with the company.

However, marketers can reach a reasonably accurate estimate based on the following internal assumptions, explains Ed Jones, retired president of Constellation Communication Corp., a consulting firm specializing in event ROI, in Exhibitor Magazine.

Number of hot leads. Identify the number of prospects who commit to a specific sales-related step as the result of the trade show.

Close rate. Ask your sales department for your company’s average percentage of closed sales per hundred sales calls.

Average value of sale or contract. If you promote multiple product lines, develop a weighted average based on the level of interest for each product at the show and its price.

Use this equation to calculate estimated revenue: Number of hot leads X close rate X average value of sale of contract = estimated revenue.

Bottom Line: While trade shows often provide considerable marketing and PR benefits, they can be costly. Measuring the results of trade show marketing is needed to validate those costs, identify the best events to attend, and find the most successful marketing strategies. Monitoring traditional and social media can reveal comments about your organization before and after the trade show, providing valuable information on the event’s effectiveness.


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E-mail marketing tips to boost your Trade Show Footfalls - Dazzletoday Blog

E-mail marketing tips to boost your Trade Show Footfalls - Dazzletoday Blog | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

As a marketer of a Trade Show App, I have attended numerous Trade Shows and have interacted with various Trade Show professionals. One question that I often keep getting asked is whether “e-mail marketing is of any relevance to my booth presence and success at Trade Shows?”

E-mails are the default business interaction channel today. Almost everyone ends their conversation after a business meeting or Trade Show booth interaction with “E-mail me the details” or “I will sure e-mail you the quote”. Hence the answer here is a no brainer.


See the full infographic here:

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5 Awesome Ideas to Create Marketing ROI from a Trade Show Bag

5 Awesome Ideas to Create Marketing ROI from a Trade Show Bag | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |
5 Ways to Make Your Trade Show Bag Pay Off
  1. Make Sure Your Brand Is Seen. When you customize reusable bags with your corporate ctradolor, slogan, logo, contact info and maybe even a QR code, you are getting your info out there for people to see. Reusable bags function a lot like signs your customers can carry and expose their friends, family and coworkers to your branding message.
  2. Help the Planet. Disposable plastic bags are a drain of resources and clog the waste stream. Reusable bags make disposable bags unnecessary, so when you promote your brand with reusable gear you are helping the planet.
  3. Meet Your Company’s Environmental Goals. Consistency and transparency are important. If your company has established green goals all aspects of your business should strive to live up to those goals. Eco-friendly promotional products, such as custom reusable bags, are good for the planet, and therefore, good for your brand.
  4. Get a Great Return on Your Investment. Reusable products are designed to be just that – reusable. When a marketing tool can deliver 3 – 6 years of dependable use that means your customers will be promoting your brand years from now, and this investment will still be paying off.
  5. Make Sure Your Takeaway Is the Must Have Item at Your  Trade Show. Reusable bags are really useful at a trade show, because people walking the show will acquire so much stuff. When you hand out a custom branded bag people will have a place to stash business cards, catalogs, and whatever else they pick up. Customize your bag to make it stand out, and think about altering the design to build-in function with pockets or adjustable shoulder straps or whatever else you dream up. The more useful your custom reusable bag is the more likely your customers will continue to use your branded bag after the trade show ends.
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Triple Your Leads At Your Next Trade Show

Triple Your Leads At Your Next Trade Show | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

n this episode Ted and Brad discuss the best practices to implement in your up coming trade show. By putting these practices into place with our clients we have seen them triple their leads and close more business!

Talking points for the podcast:

1) Be strategic when reserving your booth – where is it – who is around you
2) Preparation – generally preparation needs to be at least 60 days before the show starts – ordering supplies – checking displays – scheduling of staff – recon of other competitive contractors at the show, is your website supporting the show – photos for the booth
3) Booth layout – make it inviting – organization
4) How are you going to get peoples names, phone numbers, emails? Give-a-way – low cost high received value – show special for services –
5) How are you going to follow up? – Who gets a phone call? Who gets an email? Who gets on your newsletter list?
6) Make sure you have time to walk around the show to get ideas, meet other vendors, figure out what booth you want for the next year
7) Do not do a show unless you are willing to do the show at least 3 years in a row. The same people do come back and if they see you each year the chances of them hiring you will improve each year.
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Ways to maximize your presence at a trade show 

Ways to maximize your presence at a trade show  | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

Regardless of business sector, there is bound to be a trade show that brings together the leaders and great minds of the industry that your business inhabits. Exhibiting at a trade show can provide countless benefits for the growth of your business. From reconnecting with existing customers and meeting new ones to scoping out the competition, the list goes on. Trade shows are also an ultra competitive battle ground, with competitors from the same sector, lined up in rows one after another, fighting for the finite amount of time that each customer has.

Here are a few general categories to keep in mind as you make your decision about whether a trade show is worth the investment.

 Picking the best venue

With a myriad of trade shows available, you will have no shortage of options to choose from. To make the most of a trade show and avoid unnecessary costs, however, it is important that you choose to exhibit only at trade shows that are best aligned with your business.

Deciding between attending consistently successful industry trade shows or less established ones can be tricky. If you are going for the less tried and tested route, then it will be useful to check on past event media coverage, the presence of big name guest speakers, social media activity and the expected attendance for the event.

Plan to succeed

Every successful trade show depends upon a tremendous number of activities coming  together seamlessly over several days in a location often far away from the corporate office. The process of preparing for the trade show must therefore begin months in advance and involve multiple departments within a company including product marketing, sales operations and corporate communications.

Bring your ideas into focus: If you want to stand out from your competitors and generate more traffic to your booth and media buzz about your products, then you better spend some quality time on the planning phase. Showing up to a trade show just won’t cut it. Nor will the “If you build it they will come” mentality. You are facing off against the competition so be prepared to come out with a compelling strategic vision to guide your trade show investment decisions.

Spying on the ‘enemy’: Okay, nobody is suggesting you hack the competition to find out if they are going with a red plush carpet or video booth at this year’s trade show but at the very least you would be wise to learn how they presented at past trade shows. While copying the competition won’t get you far, emulating their strategy or booth creatives can give you some fresh ideas on how to build out your trade show presence.

Create a budget:  Before you start spending, be sure to create a budget for the trade show initiative, which will include brand assets, product prototypes, media outreach and booth staffing. Start thinking about whether you want to spend more to create a show-stopping booth, with complex marketing material and a big booth space, or if you want to go for a more utilitarian route – keeping it simple, yet getting your message across.

Find a creative partner: You may be better served by bringing experts on the team to help you with the trade show strategy planning and execution. While hiring somebody outright may not always be an option, retaining the services of 3rd party experts often is. Some of the main areas you may want to outsource include booth design, collateral messaging and design, booth staffing and media outreach. The good news is that with a well-established 3rd party provider you will get professionals with many years of experience helping companies like yours get desired results at trade shows. You can also hire an agency to work on-demand or possibly consider a monthly retainer in the case of a content marketing & PR agency.

Get the word out

Contrary to popular belief, the bulk of the work for trade shows actually happens before the event itself! Ideally, you should give yourself about 90 – 120 days of lead time to make the necessary arrangements – or in other words, the sooner you start, the better.

Get your signage ready: Instead of cutting on costs, try spending a little more and creating signage that your patrons would enjoy taking pictures of. In the competitive world of trade shows, cheap signage rarely translates into better foot traffic. In fact, if you view your trade show signage as an investment and a chance to make a bold brand statement, you can keep it and reuse it for subsequent events.  

Promote on social media: Assign one employee to take charge of your company’s social media pages for the duration of the event, to ensure ease and consistency in communication. Make full use of the event hashtag when promoting your own marketing material to get the information to event attendees who might not be following your social media accounts. Also, don’t forget to keep your existing followers updated with constant tweets and posts.

While you’re at it, synchronize announcements: The point of going to a trade show is not just to press the flesh of customers and prospects but also to show off your newest innovations and draw a sharp contrast with competitors. To maximize the impact of your product and/or service announcements you should create an announcement strategy that maps out the timing of announcements across all communications platforms. For instance, an Internet of Things (IoT) supplier to the solar industry announcing a breakthrough product/software solution would likely issue a press release to the industry trade press, while also posting about it on the company blog, launching a product landing page and saturating social media channels with a mix of organic and paid posts. The goal of this well calibrated cascade of information is to reach your customers, prospects, influencers and media on the channels where they are present and turning prospects into leads wherever you can.

Speaking of media initiatives…: If you are looking to make an important announcement at the trade show, get a hold of the media list from the trade show organizer and send out a release announcing your attendance, where you can be found on the trade show floor and that you plan on revealing a major product breakthrough. As part of the outreach, try to secure one-on-one meetings with your spokesperson(s) to obtain as much media coverage as possible. Developing a media interview schedule based on the availability of your spokesperson will avoid the potential embarrassment of having a journalist show up with the spokesperson on a lunch break.

Spokesperson training: An often overlooked part of preparations is ensuring your primary spokesperson is fully fluent in the product and company pitch and can maximize the impact of an interview. The last thing you want is for a spokesperson to get a key detail wrong and have a journalist turn around and communicate that to the world.


Be Outstanding

With the crush of competitors at trade shows, you have to make sure that you are thinking out of the box and doing something to stand out so that people remember you.

Set yourself apart: According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), the average time that each visitor spends at each booth is about 5-15 minutes. Thus, to keep them interested and to get them to stay longer, consider setting up video displays, interactive screens, iPad kiosks or raffles draws! Don’t throw things together haphazardly however. Your booth needs an overarching narrative, a dominant theme in which everything needs to fit. 

Staff Selection: Make sure your staff is well versed on product features and benefits. This will greatly affect the quality of engagement with prospects and customers. Your most productive staff in the office are not necessarily the best people for the job. Pick employees who are outgoing and capable of exuding your positive organization culture to leave a positive impression of your business in the minds of visitors to the booth.

Less is more: A trade show is not meant to be a historical display for all of your products and offerings. Instead, highlight 1-3 products/services that you want all of your booth visitors to remember. If you feel the need to talk about more than just 1-3 products/services, perhaps set up a digital display where booth visitors can find out more.  

Don’t hide in your booth: Networking is the game you have to play at industry events. Consider making it a competition among your sales reps to talk to as many people as possible and even award prizes on a daily basis. You can even keep track of level of engagement by tallying points for things such as business cards collected, leads generated and LinkedIn connections obtained.

Post constant updates on social media sites: Physical trade shows and a virtual presence don’t have to be mutually exclusive. By posting constant updates on Twitter, photos on Instagram, and perhaps a mix of both on Facebook, you keep both event goers, and non event goers updated throughout the show. And of course one or more dedicated landing pages will contribute greatly to your lead generation.

Owned event: Make use of the opportunities offered by the venue to own your own events. These run the gamut from a press conference to a happy hour or even a panel discussion with industry experts moderated by your CEO. 


Keep it going

Follow up: Adding a personal touch after the show might just seal the deal. Send the people you met an email or a follow-up note on LinkedIn to let them know that you want to keep in touch. Ask them if it is ok if you put them on your mailing list. Even consider asking for their feedback about the trade show booth to get the customer perspective and discover ways to up your game next time around.

Share media coverage: It’s okay to be proud of your accomplishments and to boast about them on your various platforms. Track all media placements and then share the media coverage on your company website, tweet about it, add pins on pinterest, or make an instagram post out of it (but just make sure you don’t break any copyrights)!

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Harnessing The Hashtag To Improve Trade Show and Event Marketing

Harnessing The Hashtag To Improve Trade Show and Event Marketing | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

In the minds of many business owners, social media marketing and trade show marketing are two entirely separate fields. Smartphones changed everything. Social media has intertwined itself into every aspect of marketing and ignoring it can be a costly mistake. Social media marketing is a fairly complicated field, but even a small business can use some of its most basic functions to boost its bottom line. With a minimal amount of work, you can use social media to improve your results in trade show marketing, and your trade show marketing efforts will cause your social media exposure to grow, so your business gets a greater return on all of its marketing investments.


Hashtags are everywhere. A hashtag—written with a # symbol—is used to index keywords or topics on social media. This function was created on Twitter, and allows people to easily follow topics they are interested in. You can’t go online without seeing dozens of them, they’re plastered on the sides of transit buses and commuter trains, they’re on our cereal boxes and our coffee packages, we see them in the movies and on little badges in the corners of our TV programs. Most everyone has a vague idea what they are for, however, many business owners mistakenly believe that they don’t need to worry about learning all this hashtag and social media “stuff” because Millennials are not their target demographic. That may have been true at one time, but social media is continually and quickly evolving, and hashtags are no exception. Large corporations have been spending a lot of time and money researching and developing new ways to use social media in general and the hashtag in particular to generate more profits. Experimental programs are already in place with Twitter, Amazon, and American Express to allow customers to make purchases using hashtags. Whether you love them or despise them, hashtags are here to stay.


By using hashtags to promote your trade show marketing efforts, and using hashtags as part of those efforts at trade shows, you can expand your brand and message exposure exponentially. Since the hashtagged word becomes an index of conversations around a specific word, you gain more insight into who’s talking about your brand and products. Hashtags are used on virtually every social media channel, for easier insight into what consumers are saying, where they are, and how they’re using social media. All of these things can help you target your future marketing efforts even more precisely. By planning and putting in some effective research up front, your marketing exposure will begin to grow and gain momentum on its own, going forward. Here are some thoughts for starting your own marketing snowball:


  • Choose Carefully – When you choose hashtags for your brand, your products, or your promotions, you need to use some care. It’s best to choose the simplest, shortest hashtag possible. Once you have some ideas in mind, search for it on each social medium, and on Google. See if it’s in use, and check to see if any likely misspellings of your proposed hashtag are in use. You may find that one of those is in use by something you don’t want your customers accidentally being directed to. Another important consideration is misreading. Hashtags are not case-sensitive, but often they’re written with capital letters to help readers understand and remember them. Realize that people will type your hashtag out with all lowercase or different capitalization than you intended, so it’s important that the meaning not depend on capitalization. For example, one hashtag-gone-wrong used the country code CH to promote The Hobbit in Switzerland. The creators wrote #HobbitCH. Oops. There are no spaces in hashtags, so also consider what will happen if a reader envisions the spacing of the hashtag differently from what you had in mind – like Susan Boyle’s debut album party, which was #Susanalbumparty. Ummm.. No thank you.


  • Hitch A Ride – Whenever you make a post with your hashtag, think about what other hashtags you might include on the post. Don’t go crazy: two or three per post is enough depending on the social media channel. But if, for example, you’re promoting a new product at South by Southwest, include #SXSW in your post, because that better-known and more popular tag will get your post and your own hashtag much bigger exposure than it would get on its own. Also, events and trade shows promote their own hashtags so you will maximize your efforts by using theirs.  If your post involves a giveaway, include #entertowin as a tag, and it will start circulating on its own! Be careful not to jump on every hashtag trend out there. Attaching yourself to a trending hashtag can be negatively perceived, especially if that hashtag has nothing to do with your company, product or event.


  • Give Them Something To Talk About – Creating something post-worthy at a trade show doesn’t have to involve a 10-story Ferris wheel or a supermodel. Last fall in Utah, one exhibitor placed a single banner stand on the outside of their booth. The banner was simply a photo of a giant crocodile with a hashtag on it. The aisle was jammed with people waiting to take a picture with the crocodile! You can use photographs or drawings, or even well designed graphical banners with funny, motivational, or philosophical sayings on them. How about a selfie from inside your exhibit to win a prize every hour?  Be creative.

Hashtags allow you to create a collection of social media posts around the same or similar topic by making it easier to search, find, and share those thoughts. It allows you to connect with and engage other social media users around a common theme or interest.

Try using Hashtags to promote your next trade show or event – Before, During, and After the show or event!  Incorporate the show’s existing #s with one of your own. (For example: Hey, check out the newest widget in booth 5555 at Widget Show next month! #worldsgreatestwidget #WidgetShow )  Encourage everyone in your organization to use them in related social media posts. It costs nothing outside the time to think through the process and implementation.  The payoff could be priceless.

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Exhibiting and Trade Shows: Trends and Challenges

Exhibiting and Trade Shows: Trends and Challenges | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

Exhibiting at a trade show is a great way to attract prospective customers and create awareness of your products and/or services. A few of our team members had the opportunity to attend Advanced Exhibiting Workshop: Trends & Challenges, hosted by Skyline Exhibits. This lunch and learn discussed trends and barriers companies face when exhibiting at a trade show. This information is of great value to those who invest in trade shows, so we decided to write a blog highlighting key insights from the seminar.

Insight 1: Booth staffing is the most important part of a trade show.

According to Skyline research, 85% of trade show success comes from who works your booth. Typically, the organization selects management, but recently there’s been a shift. Marketing communication or product marketing associates are increasingly leveraged in booths because they really understand the products or services. Trade show attendees are aware of your business more than ever before, so it’s imperative to have knowledgeable staff who are ready to answer questions. Another great resource to recruit to work in your booth are satisfied clients. Who better to rave about your product/service than people who have tried it and loved it? This gives prospective clients an unfiltered look into your company.

Insight 2: A good booth design is key.

Photo by Rico Shen

Trade show attendees are going to walk right past your booth if they feel overwhelmed by too many things happening in a small space. It’s important to simplify your booth, but make it stand out at the same time. One way to do this is to integrate technology into your exhibit. A flat screen with touch screen capabilities makes it easy for

attendees to interact with your messaging, website or social media pages, and it also allows you to be purposeful in the way you utilize your booth space. A few interesting booth designs mentioned at the seminar were double-decker booths, spaces with designated meeting rooms and flexible booths that expand and collapse to fit different space restrictions.

Insight 3: Measure, measure, measure your results.

What’s the point in exhibiting at a trade show if you don’t know if any qualified leads or sales were generated? Measuring and tracking your results is a great way to know if your investment in a trade show paid off, and it also helps with customer relationship management (CRM). If you track who stopped by your booth, you can send follow-up communication to continue to build a connection, which could turn into sales for your company. It’s also important to track every lead to the staff member who secured it so they can receive credit.

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Maximizing Your Tradeshow Investment Through Training

Maximizing Your Tradeshow Investment Through Training | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

Exhibiting and attending tradeshows is an important form of marketing and sales for many companies.  Businesses rely heavily upon these opportunities as a means of acquiring new leads and potential clients.  When the many direct and indirect costs of a participating in a tradeshow are calculated, especially on a cost per lead basis, the investment can be quite substantial.

To be considered, there is the rental of the space and services at the tradeshow venue, a booth or stand of sorts (some are quite elaborate and can be very expensive), then there are the brochures and printed materials, some unique giveaways or prizes for a drawing, and occasionally a special guest or other “event” is deployed to attract traffic to the booth.  Further adding to the overall costs are staff travel expenses for airfare, hotels, dinners, and entertainment.

On the night before, or the day of the show, company representatives arrive to “work the show” and “man the both”.  Some are tradeshow veterans having done this many times before while others may have had limited or even no exposure to tradeshows, but the expectations are the same… acquire leads and identify potential clients.  So how does an employee with little or no experience acquire leads and identify potential clients if they haven’t been properly trained to do so.  The answer is simply “they can’t and they don’t”.

Drawing potential clients into meaningful conversations and acquiring leads is an essential skill set to be learned prior to the tradeshow.  Colleagues must know the proper way to create value for booth visitors in ways that encourages them to discuss their needs.  Creating value and rapport creates an interested prospect.

For the unknowing newcomer and for those who may have perhaps become a little too experiencedthere is the all- important “booth etiquette” to be considered.  Like a magnet, good booth etiquette attracts while bad booth etiquette repels.  The latter often includes sitting down, eating, drinking, chatting with colleagues, or emailing and texting on a cellphone while in the booth.  Nothing repels a prospect faster than a disinterested or pre-occupied person.

We recently worked with a client to prepare their staff for an upcoming tradeshow in the Mid-West.  They were making a substantial investment in this international event and planned to staff the booth with representatives from sales, marketing, and product development (technical staff).  The client was very focused on assuring both sales and non-sales staff was sufficiently prepared to maximize the investment at the show.  Corporate Ladders worked with our client throughout the weekend coaching and training on topics such as client engagement techniques, creating rapport, building value in conversations, and having great “booth etiquette.”

The Do’s and Don’ts of Tradeshow Booth Etiquette


  1. Train Your Staff: No one is born knowing how to work a show. Hire professionals to prepare the team.
  2. Be Welcoming: Smile and make good eye contact; find something to compliment attendees about…
  3. Build Engagement: Ask visitors about their business.
  4. Ask Good Qualifying Questions: What are their reasons for attending and what do they hope to gain?
  5. Create Value: If the visitor is qualified; offer a follow up call, literature, meeting, or demonstration.


  1. Sit Down: Give visitors the impression that you are on a break and not ready for engagement.
  2. Eat or Drink in the Booth: Visitors may think it rude to interrupt those at lunch.
  3. Use Your Cell Phone: Emailing, texting, checking Facebook, or playing games shows you are disinterested.
  4. Over-indulge before Booth Duty: You may feel sluggish, tired, and disinterested.
  5. Cluster with Colleagues in the Booth: Appears as if you are having a meeting and visitors will walk on by.


A minor investment in training ensured a more substantial return on the tradeshow investment for this client.  This year’s tradeshow yielded outstanding results: doubling the number of qualified leads over the prior year’s show and had great participation from everyone on their staff, including the “non-sales” representatives.

The Takeaway: While your booth, brochures, and giveaways are important, it is up to your people working the booth to truly make the difference.  When investing in tradeshows, plan to budget for training the people who will represent your business at the show.  It certainly was a worthwhile investment for our client.

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101 Reasons to Exhibit at a Trade Show -

101 Reasons to Exhibit at a Trade Show - | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

What makes trade shows so special?

Maybe it’s meeting someone face-to-face for the first time after months of phone calls and e-mail exchanges. How about reconnecting with former clients or spending time with key customers? Perhaps, it’s the chance to make your ads come to life with real-live demos on the show floor. Trade shows are also a powerful way to grow your network and expand your mind.

Are you thinking about the idea of exhibiting at a trade show such as PROCESS EXPO? Do you need ways to justify your participation? Look no further!

We reached out to PROCESS EXPO exhibitors and trade show experts and posed the question: Why do you exhibit at shows?

101 Reasons to Exhibit at a Trade Show
  1. Generate new leads.
  2. Meet people face-to-face who have been difficult to reach via phone or e-mail.
  3. Showcase your products.
  4. Establish your brand.
  5. Reinforce your e-mail and direct mail campaigns.
  6. Qualify leads and advance the sales cycle.
  7. Trade shows allow us to introduce our equipment to customers in a hands-on environment that results in a large majority of our sales. ~Jill Sadlak, Urschel Laboratories
  8. Reposition your offerings.
  9. Solve customer issues and concerns.
  10. Grow your business.
  11. Competition is there. See what they’re doing right.
  12. Haven’t exhibited in a show in the past year.
  13. Highlight new solutions to a captive crowd.
  14. Cross-sell current customers.
  15. Trade shows are valuable networking tools. They provide a great opportunity to meet new people in our industry and build on existing relationships. ~Jon Miller, @AMKingGroup, A M King
  16. See and learn what’s new in the marketplace.
  17. See more customers in 1 day and in 1 location than you can see in 1 month in the field.
  18. Continue conversations with prospects.
  19. 81% of show attendees have buying authority. Which means more than 4 out of 5 people walking the aisles are potential customers. ~CEIR
  20. Upsell existing clientele.
  21. I can see a ton of customers all in one place. Trade shows are also a great time to discuss and work with other manufactures on upcoming projects. The networking is incredible. ~Kate Rome,@empresskateromeRome Grinding Solutions
  22. New to the marketplace? Exhibit to gauge your existing offerings to a specific audience. Capture their responses to adjust for future planning.
  23. Tell customer success stories to an engaged and interested audience.
  24. Try a new market segment for your current products.
  25. Shake hands and hug current customers. ~Emilie Barta, @emiliebarta, Emilie Barta Presentations
  26. Give buyers the chance to see and feel the quality of your product(s).
  27. Train new employees, partners.
  28. Get new ideas.
  29. Assess the market’s awareness of your company, your brand.
  30. Trade Shows are an excellent way to introduce our offerings to Processors that may not be familiar with us. It’s challenging to cover our existing client base, let alone prospect. Shows like PROCESS EXPO help bring potential customers to us. ~Tom Tonra, @NuTECmfg, NuTec Manufacturing
  31. Research companies for possible M+A.
  32. It costs 62% less to close a lead generated from a trade show than one originated in the field. ~CEIR
  33. Obtain feedback on new products or services.
  34. Close sales.
  35. Network – meet new people in the industry.
  36. What better way to have your clients and prospects visit with you to demonstrate the features and benefits of your products and services. ~John Sciabarrasi, Reiser
  37. Meet with key clients. Interview them for case studies.
  38. Maintain relationships with clients and business partners.
  39. Establish new partnerships.
  40. Learn about and observe industry trends and emerging technology in a face-to-face, hands-on environment.
  41. The #1 reason why we exhibit is nothing replaces Face-to-face interaction with existing clients and also potential clients. I personally love being on a show floor! ~Rachel Wimberley, @tsnn_rachel,Trade Show News Network
  42. Provide personalized customer education with in-booth presentations, demos, one-on-one meetings.
  43. Get publicity.
  44. Gain insight into the food and beverage marketplace.
  45. Meeting face-to-face with open-minded prospects; people who are in the market to buy.
  46. Reconnect with current customers and meet new ones. It gives us a chance to visit with them face-to-face and learn what we can do to help them and their industry. ~Tracy Long, @BaldorElectric,Baldor Electric Company
  47. See colleagues from other offices.
  48. Re-establish your brand.
  49. Demo “soon to be released” offerings in your booth.
  50. Place your company in the global spotlight.
  51. Tradeshows are about FACE! Face-to-face contact with customers and prospects is critically important in acquisition and retention of customers. The average salesperson only sees 2 to 3 buyers per day and is finding it harder to get face time in the field. ~Jefferson Davis, President,Competitive Edge
  52. New to the marketplace? Exhibit to understand what’s out there.
  53. Catch up or stay in front of industry trends.
  54. Exhibitions are the #1 source for attendees who make the final purchasing decisions! ~CEIR
  55. Host a press event to introduce the industry to a new product.
  56. We love any opportunity to meet and speak with our customers one-on-one. Trade shows are wonderful opportunities to build relationships and make new ones. ~Dawn Wollesen, @BunzlPD,BunzlUSA
  57. Help customers and prospects understand how a product or service works.
  58. Provide price quotes.
  59. Support your channel partners and build relationships.
  60. Grow a new market segment.
  61. Trade shows also showcase the latest trends in the industry, serving as a great launch pad for A M King innovation in the future. ~Jon Miller, @AMKingGroup, A M King
  62. Identify new product ideas from customer feedback
  63. Continue conversations with current customers, partners, prospects.
  64. Together with business partners, showcase your offerings to an engaged audience.
  65. Discover companies who can help grow your business.
  66. Van der Graaf participates in trade shows to build long term relationships with clients. We can showcasing the latest & greatest in conveyor drive technology as well as engaging them in educational seminars to improve their business efficiencies. ~Melissa Lara, @_vandergraaf, Van der Graaf
  67. Re-brand your company.
  68. Give media a sneak peak of new offerings that you’re planning to unveil at the show.
  69. Meet face-to-face with key accounts. Interview them in-person and write up a success story.
  70. Grow your team: recruit new hires.
  71. 72% of show visitors say the show influenced their buying decision. ~CEIR
  72. Hold a product launch party or reception.
  73. Test new product ideas.
  74. Several reasons for exhibiting: promotion/brand awareness, business development, vendor/professional research, etc. But if we had to pick the #1 reason, it’s to connect with potential clients & reconnect with past clients. ~Noel Abbott, @EpsteinGlobal, Epstein
  75. Recruit new distributors and dealers for your product.
  76. Conduct competitive research.
  77. Meet new companies that can grow your business.
  78. Communicate directly with your target audience.
  79. Invite PR contacts to the press room for an interview on your newest solution. Give them the chance to take pictures.
  80. Make Your Business Stand Out: Trade shows provide exposure to current clients AND to potential new business opportunities by using industry press to get your brand and message out to a multitude of people. ~ Steve Mannarino, @GESGlobal, Global Experience Specialists, Inc.
  81. Manage Key Accounts.
  82. Reinforce your brand in the industry.
  83. Schedule face-to-face appointments with key accounts.
  84. Distributed a beta model to current customers. Get them to test it and get feedback.
  85. Customer Maintenance – address and update service issues with accounts.
  86. The value of exhibiting at trade shows lies in relationship-building. Face to face connections with customers and prospects help solidify relationships and often outweigh connections based solely upon email, text, and social media communication. Trade shows act as a conduit to build better business relationships. ~Amanda Sasse,  @nelsonjameson, Nelson-Jameson
  87. Grow + expand your revenue base.
  88. Conduct market research and analysis.
  89. Invite the media to your booth for a private demo.
  90. Showcase new products in your booth. Invite show guests to try it out. Get immediate feedback.
  91. Tradeshows are the best, most economical way to gain competitive knowledge, compare products and learn what is hot, what is not, and how your company can stay current. And it’s all under one roof! ~Steve Mannarino, @GESGlobal, Global Experience Specialists, Inc.
  92. Negotiate or renegotiate terms with current account.
  93. Continue discussions with existing contacts, partners.
  94. Schedule demos of existing and proven products.
  95. Perfect your lead generation strategy – test new sales pitches and messages on-site.
  96. I work with companies who exhibit at trade shows and the number 1 reasons that they exhibit is either to generate leads OR for branding purposes / to be recognized. ~Michael Flavin,@michaelflavin,
  97. Run live demonstrations and presentations of new products and services.
  98. Get clients to act quickly with show specials.
  99. Celebrate a company milestone.
  100. Smile and look a prospect in the eye when you meet him or her for the first time. ~Emilie Barta,@emiliebarta, Emilie Barta Presentations
  101. To add the human factor into the buying decision. Shows allow you to build trust. You can look them in the eye to address their issues. They can see your enthusiasm when sharing solutions to their needs.
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Exploding Three Common Myths About Trade Show Success

Exploding Three Common Myths About Trade Show Success | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

Some people in the exhibiting industry measure trade show success by focusing on factors that aren’t that important to having a successful show.

I’ll give you three examples of what I believe are myths.

And I’ll share my thoughts on why I don’t think you should waste much time trying to change, argue about or analyze them.

They are what they are, and they don’t necessarily have a lot to do with whether your trade show exhibit will be successful.

Myth #1: Overall Show Attendance

This figure changes from one industry to the next, and it fluctuates each year. Sometimes it’s up. Sometimes it’s down. But does it really matter? To my way of thinking, its importance is a myth. Why?

Particularly in the B2B world, declines in the attendance numbers aren’t actually a reflection of fewer buyers attending the show. It’s more likely that each of those companies is simply sending fewer people in their entourages. But the buyers are still there. So trade show success doesn’t depend on show attendance figures.

It’s just that when times are good, companies send larger groups of people to shows. When times are bad, they send fewer. Those smaller entourages still have to find solutions for their companies. They’re at the show. They’re in a buying state of mind. And they’re looking for a product or service that will help them. You just need to find them (but more about that later).

So don’t worry about the overall numbers. Keep your focus on marketing effectively to those buyers who are a perfect fit for what you’re there to sell.

Myth #2: Prominent Booth Location

Needing to be in a prime location is another of those myths that just won’t go away. This has more to do with pleasing your executives than it does with trade show success. It’s great to have a prominent spot in the exhibit hall. But don’t sweat it if you don’t.

Attendees are more organized these days when they go to shows. They don’t wander aimlessly through the aisles. As many as 76% of attendees already know which exhibits they want to visit before they arrive.

So if you’re on their list, they’ll find you. The important thing is to get on that list!

That has much more to do with pre-show marketing than it does with where you happen to be on the show floor. A strategic marketing plan has to include efforts to lure those key buyers to your trade show booth with:

H-Line Trade Show Booth Rentals – 10×20

– a series of targeted emails,
– a direct mail appeal or invitation (a postcard, letter or even a uniquely shaped printed piece),
– phone calls from sales staffers to your top prospects and current clients
– and even news about contests or games to be held in your trade show booth.

Pre-show marketing is critically important. The majority of companies, however, don’t invest enough effort in this arena. As a result, opportunities are lost at every show. But you don’t have to be one of those in the majority.

Myth #3: Busy = Successful

This could only be true if you market to everyone at the show. Do you? Probably not.

Your market is more likely a tiny sliver of the overall attendance at a show. If your trade show exhibit is busy, you do succeed in tiring out your booth staffers. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve achieved trade show success or done more business.

I’ve seen trade show booths filled with people waiting for an autograph or the opportunity to take a picture with a celebrity. The problem? 95% of them weren’t prospects. The trade show exhibit was so overloaded that staffers couldn’t do business with real buyers to save their lives!

What’s far more important than having a trade show booth filled with people all the time? Being sure you’ve reached your key buyers and hottest prospects. If you’ve invited them and they’ve shown up, it doesn’t really matter how many more people walk through your display.

You do, however, need to be sure you’ve reached those VIPs and conveyed your brand message thoroughly. If they’ve heard your marketing message, you’ve done most of the work required. The final piece of the puzzle is having action steps in place for each of those buyers and prospects.

The rest is just follow-up, which I’ve written about at length elsewhere. Suffice it to say that follow-up is the most important—and sometimes least accomplished—element of trade show success. If you’ve done all the work to attract potential business, then follow through effectively and work your leads.

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Getting started with your first trade show marketing experience

Getting started with your first trade show marketing experience | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

Going to a trade show to market your business for the first time can be both an exciting experience and an overwhelming one. On one hand, it's a fantastic opportunity to get some exposure for your organisation and possibly land some much-needed customers. On the other hand, large events can be hectic, and finding specific ways to advance your company's goals can be tricky.

Large events can be hectic, and finding specific ways to advance your company's goals can be tricky.

If it's your first time attending a show, you'll probably want to have a detailed plan mapped out in advance. This will make it easier to spring into action once the time comes. You can never be too prepared.

Going in with a detailed checklist

If you're getting ready to man your company's trade show exhibit for the first time, there's a lot to think about. That's why Entrepreneur Magazine recommends that business travelers keep a detailed checklist to make sure they don't miss any of their key objectives on a given trip.

For your first trade show, you really want two different lists. One is a regular travel to-do list listing all the stuff you need – clothes, phone and laptop chargers, transportation arrangements and so on. Beyond that, you also need a marketing list. What new connections do you want to make? What professional goals are you hoping to achieve?

Make your mark, build your brand

As Inc. Magazine noted, the beauty of attending marketing events is that you get a chance to establish yourself as an expert in your field. If you go to enough of them, eventually people will start to recognise you and think of you as an authority in your industry – perhaps even a true thought leader.

If you're able to be helpful to customers, it will help you make your mark.

To smooth this process along, you should enhance your marketing activation efforts by doing something to stand out. Perhaps the best way is to be helpful to the people you come into contact with. If you're able to share advice, insider knowledge or free stuff with your new connections, that will help you build both your company's brand and your own personal one.

Know the importance of effective booth design

There's one more key ingredient that should make its way into your business' marketing plans, and that's trade show booth design. Every time you attend an industry event, you should have an attractive display ready that will help you draw in customers and hold their attention for a while.

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5 Tips To Help You Avoid Trade Show Failure

5 Tips To Help You Avoid Trade Show Failure | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

No one wants to fail, especially when trying something new - like a trade show. Unfortunately, being new puts you at a disadvantage. There is one sure-fire way to stave off potential doom: establish realistic expectations.

Setting expectations is a primary management tool.  They are the framework for your success. They establish roles, delineate goals, and define action plans. They get your whole team heading in the same direction; everyone knows the game plan. Instituting expectation setting into your preparations will shorten your learning curve and bring you one step closer to your "best case scenario."

So how do you initiate good expectations?


#1: Plan ahead

This seems obvious but it's surprising how many new exhibitors don't do it. You and your team need to know where your trade show road is leading (your goals) and how to get there (your strategy). Use a checklist, make and write down a plan.

  • Time management. There are a lot of time-sensitive elements associated with participating in a trade show: entry cut-offs, printing deadlines, shipping timelines. Miss any of these and you rack up serious costs in late fees, rush charges and shipping fees.
  • Read the exhibitor's manual. It's essential to follow the rules and regulations if you want to avoid unnecessary fees. It will also tell you who to contact for help with hanging banners, procuring electricity, connecting to Wi-Fi.
  • Pre-show marketing. Once you've made a plan and studied the rules, it's time to tell everyone about your new endeavor. Hello! Social media! Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn... Include them in your plan under marketing. Use your company's blog to create a buzz. Studies show trade show attendees know which booths they're visiting before they get to the event. You want to be on their lists.

#2: Select your staff

One of the most common trade show mistakes is sending the wrong people and/or not training them. Make sure you send people who match your trade show plan's purpose. Once they're selected, thoroughly train them in everything from setting up equipment to the company's history to the latest product. Empower them with knowledge.

  1. Make sure they understand the overall plan and goals for attending the trade show. Be clear about what's expected of them. People work better when they know what's expected of them.
  2. No one can be high-energy, on-the-go all the time. Prevent burn-out by establishing a clear staffing schedule that gives each person a break. This will keep them rested, energized and in good spirits which will ultimately benefit your exhibit as a whole. 

#3: Display quality, not quantity

Trade shows are synonymous with excess. They're loud, they're crowded, there's a lot for attendees to see and absorb. Give your audience a break. Use the less-is-more approach to booth design.

This is counter-intuitive. You'd think flooding your booth with graphics and multimedia and giveaways would help you keep up with your competitors. Quite the opposite. It causes you to blend in with them. Keeping your display simple will distinguish you from the crowd and raise attendees’ interest; they'll be drawn to the calm atmosphere. It makes your booth an oasis. It's not always about being the flashiest exhibitor, but instead creating an environment people want to go to and stay in. You can even try making your booth comfortable, by providing seating or even plush floor mats that provide foot comfort to attendees that have been walking all day.

Simple doesn't mean boring. A wall of banner stands or a well-considered hybrid backdrop can be stunning. Sticking to essentials also helps induce interactions between attendees and your team members. The minimal messaging can evoke attendees’ interest that they’ll be compelled to approach and interact with your people in order to get your full message.

#4: Follow the leads

Use lead capture apps to record and track leads quick and easy. The question becomes how to incorporate the technology into your exhibit. Do you arm your staff with smartphones or have visitors interact with a tablet on a display stand? Whichever method you choose, plan it! This is the vital information you came to get. Don't let it slip away.

Once you've decided on a recording and tracking system, make a plan for contacting the leads post-show. Many companies choose to contact leads the same day or during the trade show. This isn't effective. In fact, it comes across as pushy and over-eager. Waiting a day or two post-show has a two-fold effect: it projects confidence on your part and it distinguishes you from other companies. You'll also get their undivided attention which increases your chance of furthering the relationship.

#5: Give pertinent giveaways

Giveaways are definitely helpful when it comes to getting visitors to remember you. However, they need to be pertinent to your brand. As Colin Hageney suggests in his article 5 Common Trade Show Mistakes and How to Avoid Them on Bullpen Marketing, have three levels of giveaways:

1. Something for scoopers

This is an item that costs less than a dollar for the people that just come by the booth to get stuff. This item should not only have your logo but it should have a web address for them to visit in order to learn more about your company.

2. Something for qualified prospects

Depending on your budget, this could range from $2-5. The people who receive these items are ones who would be a good fit for your product or service. Perhaps they attended a presentation, a demonstration or entered your contest. The product you're giving them should reinforce your company's brand and offering.

3. Something for clients

Often times you'll have clients visit you at a tradeshow booth. You'll want to reinforce your relationship with a gift. Depending on the value of a client to your business, these can be $5-50. Often times, nice golf shirts are given to clients so they can be walking brand disciples for your company.

And then there are printed materials. Brochures, flyers, catalogs. Be careful with these. They can be quite costly and usually don't get read. In fact, they can prevent visitors from interacting with your staff. Attendees will simply take the handout and keep walking. This kills your ROI. Distribute these materials judiciously as part of or after a conversation has ensued.

What to giveaway, how and to whom should be included in your initial plan. Getting your trade show exhibit planned, ordered, staffed, up and running will be hectic and nerve-wracking and overwhelming. This is part of the process. But you can take control. Set expectations, make a plan and take advantage of these flop-avoiding opportunities. They will improve your trade show experience and lead it to great success.

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Trade Show Marketing Strategy: 7 Best Practices

Trade Show Marketing Strategy: 7 Best Practices | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

Companies in the wholesale distribution business attend tradeshows to generate leads, learn what is happening in their industries, gain brand recognition, and sell products. Without a strong trade show marketing strategy, however, the success of these efforts is not guaranteed.

So how can companies improve their trade show marketing strategies to ensure success? Here are some of the best practices you should consider when developing your winning strategy.

7 Best Practices for Your Trade Show Marketing Strategy1) Decide on your why.

Marketing guru Simon Sinek says that the biggest question that every company needs to answer in order to be successful is: Why are we doing what we’re doing? According to Sinek, your “Why?” is all about your purpose, and purpose determines everything else. The answer to your company’s “why?” should drive every other decision you make. 

Sinek’s model for decision-making recommends that companies start with asking why they do what they do, answer questions about how they will do it, and then determine what it is that they will do. Working outwards, start with the general purpose of your actions or decisions, and then work towards the specifics that will help you achieve those goals.

Adopting this model for tradeshow planning, you might come up with the following:

  • WHY do we attend tradeshows? To gather leads that will eventually help us sell more widgets to customers in the gadget industry.
  • HOW will we gather those leads and convert them into paying customers? By gathering email addresses for potential buyers in the gadget industry that we can then follow up with and market to via email or other means.
  • WHAT is our plan? What specifically are we doing? We are attending tradeshows directed at the gadget industry. We will offer a giveaway to entice prospects to leave their business card or give us their email address. We will follow up with those leads with an email campaign, and then follow up by phone if they reach a certain level of engagement.

This is just one simple example. Your “Why?” may be something totally different, but using this process will help to ensure that your tradeshow strategy and associated tactics and goals make sense in the context of why you are attending in the first place. Just be sure to involve all of your stakeholders, to ensure that everyone agrees on the goals for your tradeshow presence.

2) Set up appointments in advance.

Tradeshows aren’t just about gathering new leads. They can be a great opportunity to keep in touch with customers or meet with people who can be influential for your business. To ensure your trade show investment will be as effective as possible, establish meetings ahead of time. Doing this during low traffic times can be a great way to make sure that your time is spent wisely.

3) Establish a clear call to action.

In order to track your success, you need a clear call to action and a metric that will help you determine whether your efforts are successful. These tactics are often focused on lead generation, and they can be easily tracked. Here are a few examples:

  1. Set up a landing page on your website that you will promote in your booth. Encourage people to visit and download information.
  2. Run a contest in the booth, and encourage attendees to enter to win.
  3. Create a hashtag for use on social media and encourage people to use it.
4) Put the right people in the booth.

If lead generation is your “WHY,” consider putting a marketing person in the booth, in addition to customer service or salespeople. Keep in mind that the priorities and skillsets of salespeople (cultivating prospects and converting them to customers), and those of marketing people (generating leads) are often quite different. Having multiple skillsets available allows you to better manage your booth traffic. Marketing people can focus on gathering leads, customer service or salespeople can focus on qualifying prospects, and salespeople can work with customers who are ready to buy.

5) Follow up promptly.

Strike while the iron is hot. The sooner you are able to follow up with leads after a show, the better. This ensures that they still remember you, and are likely to respond more favorably to your follow-up offer. Many companies do this by uploading customer lists to the home office at the end of each day and sending a follow up email to thank visitors for stopping by. If same-day follow up isn’t possible, then be sure to follow up within 5 days.

6) Limit giveaways.

Limit giveaways to those who give you their contact information. In other words, try to avoid giving marketing collateral to unqualified leads. More generally, it’s important to quickly qualify any attendees coming into your booth, so you can spend your time wisely.

7) Do a Post-Mortem.

At the end of the show, go over the show results with the entire team. What worked well, what didn’t, and what should be done differently next time? Will you attend again in the future? Document this information, and use it when creating your tradeshow strategies for next year.

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How to Sell at Trade Shows

According to the Center for Exhibit Industry Research, the majority of trade show attendees are decision makers or influencers that plan to make a purchase within the next 12 months. Don't waste an opportunity like that -- follow these guidelines to help make sure your staff is ready to sell effectively.

Avoid soft sells

Trade shows require a hard-sell approach. When attendees show interest in your booth, approach them immediately and invite them to learn more about your products or services. Don't leave people waiting -- trade show attention spans are short, and people will leave your booth if they can't get help in 60 seconds or less.

Be engaging

The way you greet a visitor to your booth shows your professionalism and willingness to help. Avoid innocuous greetings like "Can I help you", "Hi, how are you?", or "How's the show going?". Instead, ask a direct question that engages the visitor and helps you gauge their interest in your company's products or services -- "What information can I tell you about our new heating system?" or "Hello, what are you looking for in a patio door?".

Watch your manners

Certain booth behavior looks sloppy and conveys that you're not interested in your customers. Don't sit down. Don't eat, drink, or smoke at the booth. Never leave your booth unattended. Don't spend time chatting with colleagues instead of focusing on customers.

Qualify prospects quickly

The first thing you should do once you meet someone new is establish who they are (buyer, decision maker, supplier, competitor, etc.) and where they're located. This way you won't end up spending important time with a person who isn't responsible for buying your product/service, or who is located in a region your company doesn't serve. You can find this information out by asking some key questions, looking at their badge, or requesting a business card which will have the person's title and address.

Ask lots of questions

Engage a prospect by asking open-ended questions -- ones that require more than a yes/no answer. This will help you determine their needs and interests. Focus your responses on how your product or service can meet these needs. Be sure to observe the 80/20 rule -- listen 80% of the time and talk 20% of the time. Try to avoid any kind of prepared sales pitch, which can begin to sound robotic after you've said it for the 50th time.

Keep good records

Write down all the relevant information about a prospect on a "lead card" which contains: the person's name, title, address, phone/fax number, e-mail address (all these can come from a business card), needs/interests, budget and timing. Use this card for your post-show follow-up when you return to the office.

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How marketers can get the most out of a trade show

How marketers can get the most out of a trade show | Closed Loop Selling through Trade Shows |

Online marketing can push your business far these days. However, you should never discard the power of offline marketing either. Especially when it’s mingled with networking. That’s exactly what happens at trade shows all over the world.

Running a stand at the trade show is often an overwhelming and exhausting experience. But if you are interested in making new business happen and pushing your name further, you can’t neglect those events.


So, how do you get the most out of your presentation and attract the necessary amount of traffic to your booth? Here are the top strategies to try:

Strategies To Attract Traffic To Your Booth

First things first, merely showing up and setting up your booth will not instantly win you any new biz. Sure, there’s going to be a lot of buyers out there, but the competition will be tough too. Here are some simple steps you can take to make sure no buyer passes through your booth without at least slowing down for a few minutes.


Location is Everything

Just like with any other brick and mortar kind of business, location decides a lot in this case. A lot of trade shows will sell prime locations for an extra charge, so you may want to consider this.

In this case, look into the offers early on. The best places tend to sell out fast and some locations are grandfathered, so it’s worth inquiring even a year in advance.

"Here's another smart tip in this case. If you plan to attend the same show at least two years in a row, a lot of organizers will be willing to negotiate the prime spot price if you sign a long-term contract. Sometimes you can get as much as 20%-35% discount," says Simon Llewellyn, Managing Director at Homes and Villas Abroad.

Prep Your Booth Look

Now, apart from the winning location, your booth should also have enticing looks. Here are some of the best practices worth deploying:

  • Bright colors instantly grab attention – that's a no-brainer. If your brand colors are in the more neutral scheme, however, consider spicing up the booth décor with backlit lightbox displays featuring attention-grabbing promo materials. Speaking of which…
  • Data visualization can be the answer to more engaging industry and business stats. After all, the majority of buyers don’t have the time or desire to skip through lengthy paper reports and boring charts. Impress them straight off the bat with interactive displays featuring your key message and numbers to back it up. Сheck out Information is Beautiful for examples of creative and useful data visualization options.
  • Feature a variety of mediums that would appeal to different audiences – some prefer flyers and pamphlets; others are into modern interactive materials and video demos.
Train Your Booth Staff

Speaking with the prospects all day while keeping that smile on your face can be incredibly tiresome. Especially, when people may ask you the very same questions over and over again.

The first rule here is – never put just one representative on the stand. There’s a 100% guarantee that during the second part of the day they'd be absolutely worn out. Every minute counts on a trade show, but you cannot force anyone not to have breaks either.

So, have a team of at least 2-4 reps fully prepared for the event. Before their dispatch, make sure you are on the same page with the following:

  • Your staff is well aware of the goals you'd like to achieve during this event.
  • Your staff is aware of the type of attending prospects and competitors.
  • Each of the staff perfectly knows their role e.g. there’s a senior to finalize the deal and supporting staff to answer direct buyer questions and cater the general public requests.
Consider Trade Show Specials

Make sure you've highlighted the special offers you have and created clear guidelines of how a buyer can redeem their offer. Create a prominent poster for the deal as well.

Now, there are two types of special deals worth offering at trade shows:

  • Those, which can be redeemed for immediate purchase e.g. 20% off if you buy straight from the booth.
  • Those, which can be also redeemed after the trade show either at your storefront or online. These deals can be styled as special coupon codes and will allow you to retain the hesitating buyers and evaluate the trade show impact on your business more accurately.
Prepare a Dedicated Social Media Marketing Plan For Your Show

Apart from simply making an announcement about your attendance and sharing real-time or post factum updates, you can use social media to retain prospects in real time.

A few strategies worth pursuing:

  • Offer rewards/discounts to those, who have checked-in at the event and tagged you on social media.
  • Share special promos on social media to foster booth traffic.
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