Selasa, 13 November 2007

How to Use Tradeshow Gimmicks to Build your Business Big!

by Aubrey Richardson
People attend industry tradeshows for numerous reasons. Whether you go and set up as an exhibitor or sign up to visit the vendors, everyone has their own motives for checking out the show. Interestingly enough, some individuals just want to get away from the office for a while and make it a “working” vacation! This is true for exhibitors as well as buyers, either way it becomes a business write off!!

I’ve attended industry shows as a buyer and as an exhibitor off and on over the last twenty years. In the beginning most of my focus was towards the Awards & Engraving arena. Through the years it became quite obvious that this was a rather small industry, as compared to some “sister” type industries such as; screen printing, apparel or sign business type shows. A great deal of my time over the last decade has been spent exhibiting in the larger arenas.

As an exhibitor, I’ve had several different outcomes in mind while at the show; including building from those experiences once back at the home office. Seems as if I’ve done it all at one time or another. Heck, one year I even dressed up as “Logo Man” (a take off of Batman), wore the cape and the whole nine yards! All this to stir up interest in our newest software release titled, LogoBahn. It was the hottest thing around and won first place that year for best technology development!

Now I’m not suggesting you need to dress up in some goofy outfit in order to have a successful tradeshow but I do encourage you to think outside the box. One year our company joined forces with four other well know businesses. We called ourselves the Texas Connection, appropriately named due to our companies were all located in the state of Texas. We placed advertisements in popular industry magazines, informing of our FREE GRAND PRIZE give away, at the next Las Vegas International Tradeshow. In addition to the space ads, each company sent out two post card mailings prior to the show date. We set up a “punch card” to be handed out to each registered individual as they entered the tradeshow exhibit hall.

Each of us had a special die punch with different emblems. We utilized this punch card to indicate that an individual had physically stopped by our booth. Once a person had all five company marks punched, they would then drop it into a centrally located hopper (raffle bin). On the last day of the show just before the end of the day, we gathered around to draw out the winning attendee’s card. It was a smash hit, a true winner for all five of us as exhibiter’s in many different ways.

Our grand prize that year was a big screen TV costing around $1500. This was a small price to pay considering we shared in the purchase of the television set. We were at the forefront of peoples mind long after the show had ended and many asked what we were going to be giving away at the next event!

Here’s the real beauty of the whole deal. As I mentioned earlier there are several different outcomes each exhibitor has while attending an industry tradeshow. Too many in fact to cover in this one article but I want to share one of the better results we experienced as a company. It’s so cool and tailor made for anyone in sales to implement this concept in your business. Whether you are selling a product line or a service this gives you a great follow up plan, as well as a great lead in for your sales force.

Here it is! Remember the punch card each individual was required to have marked by the participating exhibitors? Well, once they approach your booth and ask for their card to be punched, hand them ANOTHER CARD to be filled in while they are getting their card marked by you. It’s a good idea to have another incentive to benefit the person filling out the additional card. Something small, keep it simple. We used an additional giveaway item of our own. A portable DVD player, at the time was only $40 and we shipped it to our winning visitor (or handed it to them if they were present). A mini raffle of our own!

This accomplishes two specific things:

1 – They are held “captive” in front of you to fill out their information, allowing you time to “pitch” your deal to them. Other wise, they will simply get their card punched and move on down the aisle!

2 – This “other card” will now become your personal LEAD CARD to return back to the home office. You can ask pertinent information on this lead card to enable your sales people to target the specific needs of each individual.

Example:

If your item is a software program, you may need to know certain “facts” before pitching your product. Facts such as, what type of computer is used, what version of operating system, email address, do you have a website, do you use any other type of drawing software, if so what kind, etc.

The options are truly endless and become a valuable source of knowledge for your sales team. Imagine this, now instead of waiting on the tradeshow organization to send you the show attendee’s list or print out the “standard” name, address, zip, phone, etc information. You now have specific FACT FINDING answers to your need to know questions without having to call and ask over the phone. Your sales people are truly armed with solid info that allows the to build rapport with their prospects. Making the “sales call” a much warmer, more friendly invitation to your newfound friend.

Remember, no one likes to be sold but we all like to buy. It’s been reported that people prefer to buy from a friend and NOT a stranger. These types of fact-finding questions create great lead-ins, enabling you to get from stranger to friend much faster. Let’s face it, when you call on a prospect and you all ready having working knowledge of who they are, what they are doing and how they may be doing it … it simply makes them feel more comfortable. Not your typical sales call!

We all know most people buy on emotion and later back it up with logic. Think about it, what about that last car you bought? Did you have to have the leather seats with the automatic windows and door locks? Not to mention the DVD player and the navigation system! Okay, Okay … I realize you’re the exception, that’s why I wrote … MOST PEOPLE.

I trust this article will benefit those of you who exhibit at tradeshows. The above ideas are just a few that we’ve experienced over the years and found to have successful results. I titled this article with the word “gimmicks” in it, not necessarily implying these are gimmicks but rather “nifty ideas” in order to create a more successful outcome from your next tradeshow.

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