Cranmore Park Blog
Cranmore Park Blog
Quality, not quantity: Building personas for a trade show
It's an oft-repeated mantra in business that quality is better than quantity. This is especially true when it comes to a trade show. There is really no point in getting dozens or even hundreds of people to visit your stall if you aren't going to see any return on investment for your time.
You are at a trade show to sell your product, not simply to attract the attention of attendees. In some circumstances the best way to do this is to get as many people to come to your stall as possible in the hope that a decent percentage end up making a purchase. However, it often pays to be a bit more targeted.
'Farming' your contacts at a conference
Networking is a key part of most conferences, but it is also the most difficult aspect to pull off successfully. It's simply not something many people are all that good at, unless you have spent a lot of time at a lot of events getting to know strangers.
The main thing that most people get wrong is not a small thing, such as your body language, your small talk or how polite you are. Instead, it is the larger goal that most networkers forget. Essentially, very few people actually understand why they are networking in the first place.
Trade show tips: Setting up
What's the first thing you are going to do when you get to a trade show? Before you start attracting people over to your stand and making sales, you will need to set it up. This is an area in which many companies fall down, as they are simply not prepared for how troublesome getting everything prepared can be!
If you don't get yourself set up in time, you can really lose out at a trade show. The first attendees will see you as disorganised and be put off coming over and seeing what you have to offer. Meanwhile, you will be stressed out and panicked all day, further affecting your overall success!
Trade show tips: Getting people to return to your booth
The objective of everyone exhibiting at a trade show should be the same: to attract people to your stall in order to advertise your product or service, and hopefully make a few sales. However, everyone is going to be doing this. For attendees, it can be really easy to forget who you have talked to; and more importantly, what their business was.
Getting people to visit your stall is important, but not nearly as much as making sure they remember you. Not everyone is going to be making purchases on the day, so you need to make sure your contacts know exactly what your product or service is and why they should opt for you as a seller.
Trade show tips: How to make the most of being an attendee
A lot of attention is paid to how exhibitors can make the most out of their trade shows, but people often forget that it is not easy to be an attendee either! As soon as you arrive you will be greeted by dozens of stalls, all trying to attract your custom with the many weekend deals they have on.
You need to make sure you are not suckered into a bad deal, but at the same time you need to be on the look out for products and services that will help out your business. This can be tricky at times. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of whatever trade shows you attend:
Serve up some refreshments at your next trade show
At a trade show, you will typically find dozens of exhibitors all vying for attention. There are a number of different ways you can stand out from the rest, but one of the simplest - and most effective - is simply to offer some refreshments.
These don't have to be particularly elaborate; after all, most attendees will be able to get a proper meal from the venue's restaurant. But a few little snacks, sweets or drinks will be surprisingly welcome at most trade shows. You could use lollipops, bottles of water or small chocolate bars to achieve this effect.
Will you bring a tablet to your next conference?
Technology has grown at an astronomical pace in the last few years, which has surely affected your life in some way. Your business will work largely over the internet, your car will have the latest sat nav system and your phone will be capable of far more than you would have expected just two or three years ago.
However, it is often still difficult to understand how this new technology can specifically help you and your business. One of the clearest signs of this is the fact that every conference is not a sea of people using tablet PCs like the Apple iPad. Tablets are incredibly useful for conference-goers, yet surprisingly underused.
What's your conference new year's resolution?
On January 1st, people around the world will be setting themselves goals for the new year. You've probably thought of a resolution yourself - maybe you're going to give up chocolate and sweets, or learn a new skill - but have you thought of creating one or two for your business?
Setting year-long goals can be very helpful, especially if they are measurable and attainable. However, with something as large as a business it is usually not a good idea to set big, vague goals. Now is the time to get specific! Look at each aspect of your company and think: "How can I improve it?"
What promotional giveaways should you bring to your next trade show?
One of the most time-tested tactics at a trade show is to bring along a slew of promotional items to give out to the attendees. While this won't necessarily attract all that many more people to your stall, it is a good way to spread awareness of your brand and to solidify your message in the minds of those you talk to.
Dealing with a bad conference session
It's bound to happen to you sooner or later: you go to a conference, full of enthusiasm, but are let down by one appalling session. Maybe it was unhelpful, told you misleading information or was just unbelievably dull! You can laugh about it later, but while you're in the session what do you do?
You can always get up and leave, of course; you will find that the vast majority of sessions at any conference will be helpful to you. However, if that is not something you are comfortable doing then it is good to know how to deal with a bad presentation as a member of the audience. Here are a few tips:
Keep in tip-top shape for your next conference
Visiting a conference might not seem like a particularly gruelling task, but you will be surprised by how tiring it can be. You might find yourself on your feet for hours at a time, and when you are sitting down you will be exercising your mind as you try to keep up with taking notes and absorbing the content of one of the many panels.
It's hardly equivalent to running a marathon, but all the little activities add up and by the end of the day you might find your eyelids drooping! Obviously this means you will not be getting the most out of your conference. So how can you prevent yourself from being tired out on the day?
Avoiding clutter on your exhibition stand
If there is one thing that is practically guaranteed to make trade show attendees turn around and leave your stall before you've even had a chance to make a good impression, it's clutter. A messy stand should absolutely not be the first thing visitors see, or they will assume you are unprofessional and sloppy.
You probably know not to have a stall covered in rubbish, but clutter can be anything that is out of place. Even members of staff can make your stand seem messy if they are sitting around bored or finishing off their lunch. If they are not working to improve your image, then they are actively harming it!
Stream your next trade show to reach a wider audience
To many people this might seem like an odd question, but how will people see what you have to offer at your trade show stall if they aren't able to attend the show itself? You might think they have missed their chance, but thanks to the internet they can still be a target market for you.
All you need is a video camera and an internet connection and you can stream your trade show live to an online audience. There are pros and cons to this, of course, but if you prepare well and do everything professionally you might be able to significantly increase your brand exposure.
Calling contacts after a conference
When you get back from your next conference, you will almost certainly be doing so with a bundle of business cards in hand. If you have organised yourself properly, these will already be sorted and you will have a plan of action for each contact. However, you will still need to make that all-important follow-up call for them all!
If calling people isn't really your thing, then sorry! You are going to have to be on the phone a lot in the days - or even weeks - following a conference. However, the payoff is definitely worth it. Good follow-up work leads to a whole range of benefits for your business, so don't neglect it!
How to get into the right mindset for networking
There are a million different tactics for networking successfully. You have probably read guides telling you how to hand out business cards, give a good handshake, pick out a good contact from a crowd and organise yourself afterwards. While these are all useful tips to bear in mind, often the most important thing you can prepare is your mindset.
Attitude is everything when it comes to meeting potential business contacts. If you've ever had a conversation with someone at a conference that hasn't ended well, and you aren't sure why, often it will be because you simply weren't in the right mindset to begin with. Luckily, this is something you can easily fix.
Sending employees to a conference
This might not be the ideal solution; however it is much better than not sending anyone at all. Your company will still gain valuable contacts and business expertise, both of which will be incredibly useful. Unfortunately, it does mean a bit more work for you.
If you want to get the most out of the conference you are sending people to, you will need to set up meetings before and afterwards, and perform a solid amount of supplementary work. This can be difficult, but the rewards if you do it well are more than worth it as it can give your business a real boost!