Modern Trade Show Lead Follow-Up

Modern Trade Show Lead Follow-Up
Trade Show Lead Follow Up.  Photo Courtesy of Flickr.
Trade Show Lead Follow Up. Photo Courtesy of Flickr.

 

Believe it or not, about 80% of exhibitors don’t follow up with the leads they’ve gathered after meeting new people in their trade show booth.

 

Sounds crazy, right?

 

Not to worry. This being the 21st Century, I’m going to share my favorite, easy, modern ways to connect with your leads after the event.

 


   

-LinkedIn

What could be simpler? Start typing your prospect’s name into the search bar on LinkedIn and in a few moments you can invite them to connect with you. I usually write the recipient a personal note to remind them how we met or about the conversation we had. Since LinkedIn is all about maintaining relationships with people you know, I think this improves your chances that they’ll accept your invitation. Now, this lead has a simple way to contact me, and I them.

 

-VIP Questions & Follow-Up

It seems like every show I staff, I leave with a list of a few very important clients & prospects that have questions or need quotes of a more in-depth nature. Ideally, these should be responded to within 24-48 hours. Due to the hectic timeline at the end of a trade show, I create reminders in my phone’s calendar to address these right away. I try to split the list into questions/quotes that I can ask someone at the home-office to reply to, and those that I should write to personally. This way I cut down on the overall response time.

 

-Instantaneous

Very often on the trade show floor, I’m doing a presentation for a client using a tablet or smartphone. In these instances, I find it very helpful to compose an email with the pictures, PDFs & catalogs we reviewed & send it to the prospect while they’re still in the booth. When practical, I prefer this tactic because I can ask them to verify they’ve received it (avoiding emails lost due to misspellings or hidden in Spam/Junk mail folders). In addition, they don’t have to carry around my catalog for the rest of the day!

 

-Group Emails

Did you collect contact info during the trade show with a lead retrieval machine or app? Did you get a list of attendees from show management? What about the business cards you’ve collected during the expo? A quick, group email can be used to thank those that stopped at your booth and to extend a reminder of your product & service offerings to all. We use Constant Contact to manage these lists, but there are many similar providers out there.

 


 

What steps will you take to improve your post-show communication? Leave your thoughts in the comment thread!  Learn more about exhibiting at trade shows in our other blog posts or by heading to our website.

 

Written by John Leberman, Marketing Coordinator for FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

 

FB Displays and Designs trade show display

Reflecting on Thanksgiving 2014

Reflecting on Thanksgiving 2014
From our family to yours, we wish you the best of health and fortune this Thanksgiving and beyond.
Happy Thanksgiving from FB Displays & Designs

Even if you’re not from Western New York, you probably heard that we had a terrible storm here over the past week. Many towns just south of Buffalo received several feet of snow, paralyzing the region.

With all of the travel bans, I was not able to drive into the office Tuesday through Friday of last week. (Not that I would’ve been able to get out of the driveway, anyway!) While working from home, I had the local news on in the background, and couldn’t help but notice how many of our clients & colleagues were affected by the storm. Some had to close their businesses for days, others experienced significant damage to their warehouses & operations. This storm has, no doubt, had a serious impact on our local economy. The weather forecasters said this would be a storm of historic proportions & they were (unfortunately) correct.

Personally, many of my family & friends were in areas that were hard hit, some not able to dig out of their homes until Sunday, most now dealing with the potential for flooding from all of the snow melting. I’m grateful that through this whole ordeal, those close to me were safe & experienced only minor damage to their homes.

With the storm happening so close to Thanksgiving, I think everyone in Buffalo will be a little more focused on what they’re thankful for this year.

If you haven’t heard it before, Buffalo is often referred to as the “City of Good Neighbors.” This week, with the worst conditions upon us, our region lived up to that moniker. Examples of neighbors checking in on one another, digging each other out, and many other kindnesses are all over the news. I’m thankful to live & work in Western New York, where this is “the norm.”

I’ve shared a few of my own photos from the snow storm below, some are on the lighter side, showing our dog all bundled-up to go out into the “SnowVember” weather-

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

Written by John Leberman, Marketing Coordinator for FB Displays & Designs.

FB Displays and Designs trade show display

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How to Make Lemonade from a Lemon Booth Location

FBD2, Lemonade from a Lemon Booth Location
Photo Courtesy of Flickr, Yellow Sky Photography

Stuck in the back corner of the hall or behind a column? Miss out on getting into the main exhibit hall? Here’s how you can see all your clients and prospects and have a successful show:

1. Pre-show announcements.

It doesn’t matter if it’s an elaborate mailer, or a quick text or e-mail, send something telling clients and prospects you’re not going to be easy to find, but the extra effort will be rewarded. Don’t forget to maximize your presence at the show on Linkedin and Facebook.

2. Sponsor a coffee break.

Convince show management into allowing you to sponsor a coffee or beverage break. Then put a very large and colorful sign nearby with a map to your booth and a prize offer for attendees who find you. 

3. Give them a yellow brick road.

Negotiate with show management to let you place stickers on the aisle carpet leading attendees to your booth. These can be arrows, footprints or pictures of your product.

4. Give them what they want.

Do some serious brainstorming and come up with a novel – a really, really novel – promotional item that will allow people to wear or carry your logo to the masses. The right item will cause people to ask where they can get one for themselves.

5. Let Elvis do your talking.

Hire talent to hand something (samples, coupons, flyers with maps to your space) to attendees as they come into the facility. Some show managers will let you rent space or will designate a specific location for this activity.

6. Give them the shirt off your back.

Dress your entire staff in shirts with a map to your booth on the back and your logo on the front.

7. Sponsor headrest covers on the shuttle buses.

Put your logo and booth location on the back of every shuttle bus seat headrest so that everyone knows how to find you once they are in the hall.

8. Network like a madman!

In addition to every networking event, take advantage of social media. Tweet a ‘Thank you for visiting our booth’ message to every visitor to your booth. This leads to a reply or a retweet that not only creates a bond with the prospect (enhancing the possibility of a conversion) but also takes your brand and booth location to the followers of the prospect leading to more potential visitors.

9. Get friendly with show management.

Don’t be afraid to talk to show management about your dilemma. The more they know that you are serious about maximizing your presence at their show, the more likely you’ll be able to get first option on a better location if someone pulls out or is a no-show.

Good luck and have fun!

Written by Francine Brooks, President of FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

The Five “L’s” of Exhibit Success

The 5 L's of Exhibit Success
The Five “L’s” of Exhibit Success
Photo Courtesy of Flickr

As I was cleaning my office the other day, I came across an article in Trade Show Week that was written almost 20 years ago by Michael Falkowitz, who, at that time, was Sales Development Manager at Nabisco.

Although it was printed some time ago, I would like to share a few lines of timeless advice from that article.

Following are five principles that will ensure both exhibit and job success:

* Learn:

Never stop learning.  The huge technical development that can be [attained] at trade shows is one example of the reasons why exhibit managers must continue to learn. Being a successful exhibit manager will involve knowing and applying this ever-evolving technology.

* Love:

Maintain a positive attitude even in stressful times. Respond to all inquiries. Ours is a communication business. It is rude [to] not respond to phone calls. Know everything there is to know about your company, and go the extra mile, no matter what task you face.

* Laugh:

Keeping a sense of humor can see you through stressful periods and make your- and your team members’- jobs much easier.

* Labor:

Like going the extra mile, doing the best possible job will help make your exhibit the center of attention. Hard work and sacrifice are part of the job.

* Leave:

When the show is done, it’s time to take back what you have learned and start applying those principles to the next trade show.

In closing, it is important to remember that a tradeshow display is not a museum. It’s a billboard, a time-compressed live marketing event and a communication process. Creating an exhibit that’s the center of attention is a matter of taking advantage of those features creatively.

Written by Francine Brooks, President of FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

Use Words to Attract your Audience

Use Words to Attract your Audience to your Trade Show Booth

Every word can have a positive or negative impact on your marketing efforts, especially at trade shows… whether you are creating large graphics, sales material, pre-show marketing campaigns, or talking directly with a prospect.

Since exhibitors have less than 6 seconds to attract attendees to their booth, consistently choosing the “right” words becomes very important.

Below are a few proven marketing words to help you communicate more effectively and accomplish your goals at your next trade show.

#1: “YOU”

This is one of the most important words. Using the word “you” makes it easier to connect to your target audience and draw a direct line from your products/services to how they can provide a solution to your potential clients.

Selling is never about products or services.  It’s about the benefits that are meaningful to your target audience.

#2: “SAFE”

Whether you are dealing with money, health, personal well-being, technology or manufacturing, touting the safety of your product or service is important.

Potential clients do not want to take high risks to address challenges or needs with which they are already dealing. They want a trustworthy, easy solution so they can stop worrying.

#3: “RESULTS”

It is important for prospects to connect your product or service with the results they are hoping to achieve.

Prospective buyers are looking for one thing: Results. You must communicate the results your products/services provide in all aspects of trade show marketing.

Although these three words are simple on their own, by adding them to a well-constructed message on your display graphics, in  your pre and post show marketing communication, on your sell sheets, and in verbal interaction with attendees, conversion rate and ROI will definitely improve.

Good luck!

Written by Francine Brooks, President of FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

Trade Show Booth Rental 101

A great example of a trade show booth rental
A great example of a trade show booth rental

Renting a trade show display is an increasingly popular way to make your presence known at an exhibition.

In recent years, more & more of our clients have been interested in the option to rent a trade show booth.

Reasons why you might need a trade show booth rental include:

  • You’re exhibiting at more shows than you have displays available
  • You have a display that can’t be repaired in time
  • You exhibit at trade shows too infrequently and prefer to rent
  • You want a new look each time you attend an annual show
  • You need a professional look, but don’t have the budget to purchase

No matter the reason, renting a trade show booth allows you to have the professional look you require without all of the usual expenses of ownership. These can include warehousing & storage, as well as regular maintenance.

Here are some thoughts you should keep in mind when considering a trade show exhibit rental:

  • The size of your tradeshow booth space-

While it might seem obvious, it is important to think about the area you will have at the show.  Certain display systems are more appropriate than others in either large or small footprints.

  • The rules set by show management-

It is important to consider the amount of time it will take to install your booth compared to the official setup & teardown hours assigned by the managers of the trade show.  If the time allotted for installation is short, an uncomplicated system would be best.  In addition, you should look at the booth height limitations in the exhibitor’s manual and choose a booth that will comply with those rules.

  • Creativity in design-

Use this opportunity to show some creative flare with artwork that will grab attendees’ attention.  This may be a great time to test a more daring concept than what you’re used to!

  • Consider a hardware system that’s new to you-

Especially if you will be in the market for a new display system in the near future, it might make sense to try out new hardware you are unfamiliar with.  (Who doesn’t like to “try before you buy”?)

  • Be flexible-

Since you will be working with your trade show design company and utilizing their rental inventory, be as flexible as possible with your criteria for choosing a display system.  There will likely be some traditional as well as trendy options available.

  • Usability of graphics-

While you may only be exhibiting with this arrangement one time, it would be helpful to design the graphic elements in your booth so that they can be re-used in future displays, on other display systems you already own, in your showroom or in your lobby.

  • Length of rental-

Pay close attention to the installation & dismantle dates for your trade show and make sure the length of your rental allows enough time to ship the display to and from the show.

  • Options-

In addition to the display itself, you can usually rent many items to enhance your booth such as lighting, flooring & furniture.  Renting allows you to have high quality pieces in your booth without breaking the budget!

Now that you’ve considered exhibit rentals, take a look through our other blog entries for more tips.  If you have a suggestion to share, please leave it in the comments, below!

Apps that are Lifesavers at a Trade Show

FBD2 - Download these apps before your next trade show
Photo courtesy of Flickr

Your mobile device can be the “backup” to your “backup plan” & help you to save time and make better decisions.  Here are some of our favorite apps and why they’ll be a great resource when you travel to your next show.

Sometimes, getting to the Expo can be half the battle. Fortunately, search apps like Kayak & SkyScanner Flights can help you with last minute travel snafus.  Encourage your coworkers to use Just Landed to instantly let you know when their flight has arrived.  (Don’t forget about your favorite airline’s app- it can help to confirm details, speed up check-in, access your boarding pass & look for upgrades!)

If you shipped literature to the show at the last minute, knowing where your parcels are is priceless.  The FedEx, UPS and USPS apps are comprehensive, save your preferences, and bring instant peace of mind.  (Some freight carriers have tracking apps too!  [For tracking your entire trade show display shipped in on pallets].)

While on the show floor, check to see if show management or their contractors have an app.  Show apps are great for quickly accessing maps of exhibits, viewing daily schedules and connecting with other attendees.  Sometimes using the show contractor’s app can save you from walking across the whole expo hall to get help from the service desk.  (Save your energy for setting up your trade show booth!)

Having printed copies of your receipts, order forms & installation instructions goes a long way towards avoiding complications & misunderstandings.  But having an electronic copy to instantly share with show management, vendors & co-workers is even better.  PDFExpert, Dropbox & iBooks are all fantastic options for storing, organizing, accessing & sending your important documents.  With Dropbox, your files are stored in the “cloud” so even if you lose your phone & paper copies, it is still possible to gain access via a desktop computer or borrowed device.

Need to edit or create a document on the fly?  Look no further than Google Drive & Genius Scan.  Google Drive is great for editing text & spreadsheets, and Genius Scan turns your phone’s camera into a full-fledged scanner & PDF creator (perfect for documents that need your signature!)

If you’re traveling to an exhibition in another country, having a local translator is obviously best.  However, in a pinch, iTranslate is a fantastic tool that allows both parties to speak into the app and see/hear the translation in their native language.

You’re in a strange city & want to take a client out to dinner, but don’t know where to go?  Of course there’s an app for that, and it’s called “Yelp!”  Once you pick the perfect spot, make a lightning-fast reservation with OpenTable.  Both apps allow you to leave a review of your experience, so other business travelers will know what to expect.

While digesting your meal, take a moment to save the details to Concur or TimeSheeter for easy tracking of your expenses.  These flexible apps allow you to save information on meals, mileage and hours, all with the ability to easily export the data when you get home.

For anything else a “road warrior” might need in an unfamiliar town, check out AroundMe.  This app uses the GPS in your phone to find the pharmacy, gas station, ATM, coffee shop, parking lot, supermarket, taxi, etc., nearest to your current location.  One of the fastest & easiest ways to get accurate information on the businesses closest to you-Don’t leave home without it!

If all else fails, there’s Evernote.  There are too many features to list, but the big ones are:

  • Taking notes-it’s the perfect place to help you remember useful websites & important details
  • Making “To-Do Lists”
  • Uploading documents & photos
  • All notes you enter, documents & photos become searchable for text; you can easily find whatever you’re looking for with just a few taps.
  • With options for all operating systems, desktop computers & web/cloud access, you’ll never be without the information you need.

Most of the apps mentioned here are free and available for Android and iOS.  Hopefully, these apps will take a little bit of the stress out of your next trade show appearance and make you more productive!

Tell us about your favorite apps in the comment section, below!