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Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=Sales Strategy'>Sales Strategy</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=Trade shows'>Trade shows</a>
Sales Strategy
Jun 2, 2017 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

So you’ve decided to exhibit at trade shows? Great.. but now what? How do you make sure that your booth and brand stand out from the crowd? What can you do to maximise your chances of generating leads and having valuable meetings with new prospects and existing clients?

The exact lead generation tactics you decide to use will depend on many factors including audience, budget, resources and goals. In this first of a two-part article, we consider activities your sales and marketing teams could use ahead of the trade show to generate quality meetings and lots of strong leads in advance.

Research and Recommendations

Just deciding that the time is right to invest in sponsoring or exhibiting at trade shows is not enough. You should be at the events which best match your business goals.

Researching and agreeing on which shows will give you the best opportunities to reach the right customer and partner target demographics is the first stage.

If the target audience is the attendees of a show, make sure you research and identify the best events matching your general target demographics. Larger events will give you more fish to catch but don’t neglect smaller scale events which may attract the key decision makers and buyers.

Sometimes, the target audience will be the other exhibitors at a trade show. For example, perhaps you offer a software product designed specifically for publishers and decide to set up a booth at book expos. The list of exhibitors coupled with tools like LinkedIn and conference meeting portals can be excellent resources to build your leads list.

Ensure your marketing team gets the low-down on advertising options for the trade show and consider advertising in newsletters, on the event site or in related trade magazines.

Pre-Show Lead Generation

Generating leads ahead of the trade show can give your company a massive edge over the competition. Many companies rely on leads which come from the foot traffic to the booth. To really maximise your chances of generating leads and meetings at trade shows, be proactive and book meetings with potential customers and partners ahead of time.

  • Create a buzz: By publishing lots of content about your involvement at the show ahead of the event through PR wires, social media, email campaign and display advertising you can push the features and benefits of your product in a contextual way which results in meetings. The key is to have something newsworthy to announce. That could be a product release, award or perhaps a special offer open only to show attendees.
  • Use show tools: Many trade shows offer exhibitor or sponsor portals where you can access marketing materials, schedules and contact exhibitors and attendees ahead of a show to invite them to meet at your booth to learn more about your services and products.
  • Social selling channels: By using social selling tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can reach out to professionals you know or think will be attending to introduce yourself and invite them to meet to learn more.
  • Incentivise: Try offering special rates or offers to attendees in advance to get opt-ins and confirmed meetings.
  • Don’t be shy: Be bold! If your company has won awards, works with big name clients or helps change the world for the better in some way then don’t be scared to mention that in your pre-show intros. It could separate your products from the competition.
  • Remember your existing client base: Do not neglect your existing customers who are attending the show. Not only does meeting with them at shows help reinforce your relationship, it can lead to discussions of new opportunities to grow accounts. 

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Copyright ©2017 by The Canadian Professional Sales Association

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