A Successful Seminar

FB Displays and Designs’ President Francine Brooks held her “Setting the Course” seminar last night at the 31 Club in downtown Buffalo. The event went very well as all attendees engaged in an excellent learning experience. Francine’s presentation, along with a very informational question & answer session aided in making this seminar a true success.

Some of the topics that were discussed included trade show attendance, set-up, budgeting, etiquette, and much more. The pictures below depict Francine’s first-rate presentation accompanied by some of FBD2’s signature displays in the background. The seminar housed 60 attendees along with the FBD2 team who was responsible for setting up all of the displays beautifully.

If you have any questions pertaining to the seminar feel free to drop us a comment or email at davide@displaysanddesigns.com.

Francine Brooks presenting

Old School Business: The value of face-to-face networking in an electronic age

Shaking Hands

As we enter into a brand-new decade where it seems technology is king and business relationships are being built on your computer screen, iPhone, and Blackberry, it is more essential to go “old school” in order to propitiously build relationships that will earn you business. That means face-to-face, not avatar-to-avatar. In old school terms, get out of your chair and start pressing flesh!

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against social media. In fact, I use it on a daily basis as part of my marketing strategy. Its purpose (from a business approach) should be to enhance your brand, build community, promote your resources, and generally distribute your value on a worldwide scale. Spending more than about 45 minutes a day on it is a wasteful use of your valuable time. The reality is, always has been, and always will be that in order to truly build relationships with potential business partners, you must get out and network.

The key to this process is networking adeptly. Running yourself ragged from breakfasts to luncheons to after-hours will only devour your time and increase your waistline. It rarely brings in the business you desire. To manage your time wisely and get the most out of networking, I offer my 5-step formula:

1. Do your homework. Determine where potential buyers of your services network. Create a list of individuals that you want to meet. Find a way to be at those places. Referral groups are NOT the place to meet these people. Better options are non-profit events, service club organizations, trade association functions, chamber of commerce committee work, pro-bono work, etc. You can add to this list based on your services and expertise. All “functions” are NOT created equal. Only attend those that will provide you the opportunity to meet key decision makers in your target market.

2. Seek out people you don’t know. What’s the use of networking with people who already know you. Sure, there’s an opportunity to build on relationships that have already started, but in my experience that’s not what happens. Usually, it’s a familiarity issue where networkers lack the self-confidence to strike up a conversation with someone new. They are safe in their group. Bust out of this shell and force yourself to interact with others who need to learn of your value.

3. Never sell. Networking functions are never a good place to “pitch” your business. This is the time to build relationships. Ditch the “elevator speech” and become a proficient questioner and listener. Find out about them and be in the moment.

4. Offer value. Give away value for free. Offer your articles or white papers if appropriate for their use. Offer to connect them with another person that can be beneficial to their business. Provide them with resources that fit their needs. How do you find out if it makes sense for them? You ask good questions, you listen, and you sincerely provide value to improve their condition.

5. Follow up. If they are truly a potential user of your products and services, offer to meet them at a later date. See if you can schedule a meeting on the spot. Follow up with e-mail. Add them to your free mailing list. There are a variety of ways to do this, including electronically. But the initial follow up must be personal.

Don’t become trapped in cyberspace. If you do, you will limit your market and never really build the trusting relationship that is required to do business. Tomorrow, you can begin to transform your networking prowess by implementing the five steps, which cost nothing and are quite painless. Then, you will begin to reap the rewards of better relationships, improved time management, and increased business.

(Author: Dan Weedin of The Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal)

Setting the Course for Trade Show Success and Profitability

FB Displays & Designs President, Francine Brooks will be giving a seminar on everything there is to know about trade shows. With over 15 years of experience, this workshop is a must for anyone even remotely interested in trade shows. All of the key elements involved in putting on a stellar performance at your next trade show will be discussed.

“Trade shows are a unique medium for selling and communicating. No other marketing vehicle enables companies to establish and strengthen personal relationships with so many customers and prospects,” Francine explains. Come see how you and your company can reap the benefits that trade shows have to offer.

The exclusive 31 Club located in downtown Buffalo will host the event on February 17th at 4:30 PM complete with networking and hors d’oeuvres. For more details, please visit: http://www.displaysanddesigns.com/invite.asp

Trade Show Advisor’s Trade Show Timeline

trade show floor

Are you thinking of getting your company into trade shows or are you looking to revamp your overall approach? If you fall into this category, you may want to give this a look. This article from Trade Show Advisor expresses that planning your next trade show should begin at least 12 months before your next event. By properly allotting yourself ample time for preparation, you would be giving your company a substantial competitive advantage.

By following the steps advised in each phase, you can guarantee that when you get to your booth, you won’t be looking at an empty space. Giving the time to iron out all of the kinks will lighten a great deal of the pre- and at-show stressors. Knowing that everything worked out and was set up on time will help you get your head in the game and put a 100% effort into your performance. After the show you will know all of that groundwork paid off when you open your spreadsheet full of quality leads.

Give this article a look and let us know what you think. We look forward to hearing from you.

Phase 1: 12+ Months… Your Strategy

– Identify how you will use trade shows as part of your overall marketing and sales strategy.

– Develop a budget and your projected return on investment.

– Research and identify which events you will attend based on target reach and opportunity.

– Request information from event sponsors, including past attendee counts and vendor participation.

Phase 2: 9 to 12 Months Before Show

– Set specific objectives for your show such as number of product sales, leads generated, publicity secured, etc.

– Identify your space needs and the type of exhibit, display and promotional items you will need.

– Register and reserve your space with the event sponsor and request full details on exhibit requirements.

– Develop a trade show marketing plan divided into three sections: 1. Pre-Show Marketing, 2. At-Show Marketing, and 3. Post-Show Marketing.

Phase 3: 6 to 9 Months Before Show

– Develop a compelling sales message that gets across the key points you want to communicate at your exhibit in 30 seconds or (preferably) less. You and your staff will need to rehearse this message and use it confidently at your booth to maximize your effectiveness.

– Select exhibit suppliers and begin design work for your display booth, banners, accessories, literature racks, and other exhibit items you will need as part of your trade show planning timeline.

– Identify promotional initiatives and high-impact tradeshow giveaways you will use to attract visitors to your display area.

– Determine the literature and marketing materials you will need at the show – and begin design and printing work.

Phase 4: 3 to 6 Months Before Show

– Order your giveaways or promotional items.

– Continue working with vendors on your display booth, exhibit items, and marketing materials, Confirm delivery dates and adherence to your trade show planning timeline.

– Determine staffing requirements, develop booth schedules, and plan training sessions.

– Identify how you will ship your display and other items to the show.

Begin making travel arrangements.

Launch pre-show marketing initiatives.

Phase 5: 1 to 3 Months Before Show

– Put together follow-up packets to send immediately following the show to your leads.

– Continue pre-show marketing activities

– Make all travel arrangements.

– Schedule staff training.

– Contact event sponsor for any last minutes details.

– Finalize production of booth display, promotional items, and marketing materials. Confirm shipping date.

– Finalize all travel arrangements.

– Schedule dinners or other meetings to be held at the show with prospects, distributors and/or customers.

Phase 6: 1 Week Before Show

– Complete staff training.

– Confirm shipping arrival dates for your booth display, promotional items and materials.

– Double check that all action steps on timeline have been covered.

Phase 7 – Follow-up Activities: 1 Day to 1 Week AFTER Show

– Analyze leads, send follow-up packets, and make contact as appropriate.

– Evaluate success of trade show participation compared with objectives from your trade show plan.

– Review your budget compared to your actual expenses for the show. Determine your return on investment.

– Make recommendation whether to participate in the same trade show next year.

– Include suggested changes, enhancements, and other trade show ideas.

(Source: Trade Show Advisor)