By Kate Pierson
When a trade show’s aisles are inundated with frantic foot traffic, eager eyes are surveying the surroundings, concept-hungry minds are contemplating commercial options, and you’re in the background at your stand thinking, ‘I’m here, pick me, pick me!’ – it’s perfectly acceptable to utilise attention-seeking tactics to attract your marketshare.
And by this inference, we don’t mean you should jump up and down waving your hands in the air, or use loud and overly-colourful behaviour to engage the curiosity of prospective buyers.
Attention-seeking in this context is about smart selling. Because in the craze of competition at a tradeshow it’s easy to get lost in the commercial crowd and getting noticed is everything when it comes to being a leader in the professional pack.
A tradeshow is much more than a showcase or exhibition; it is a networking event and hands-on marketing opportunity for consumers and potential buyers to become visually and tactically acquainted with your products.
With this in mind, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) has put together a tradeshow instruction manual for newbies and well-schooled veterans wanting to brush up on their tradshow knowledge and etiquette. Offering a comprehensive how-to guide for maximising potential at trade events, the aptly titled, Ensuring success at tradeshows, is a tradeshow toolkit at your disposal.
From outlining your objectives, researching, budgeting, planning and pre-show promotions, to planning your work at the event, conceptualising an exhibition briefing and overviewing what to do during the event, this guide has a comprehensive checklist for commencement through completion.
A fundamental point raised in the guide, notes: “Remember trade events are just the mid-point of an integrated sales process,” and NZTE director of specialised manufacturing, Hans Frauenlob reiterates the importance of remaining committed to a trade event from start to finish.
“Attending a tradeshow can be an expensive undertaking. Therefore, during the leadup time it is important to recognise your target audience and identify what it is you want to achieve. This involves reaching out to your customers and leaving yourself enough money for the follow-up phase after the tradeshow.”
Frauenlob says follow-up is a critical part of the process, but this is often the aspect that is neglected by businesses. “Nothing disappoints a prospective client more than no follow- up, but of equal importance to the follow-up, is of course the leadup itself,” he explains.
Without a definitive and strategic pre-event plan in place, the professional currency you invest- aka your valuable time and resources, may be lost in translation when in essence, they should convert into increased marketshare, sales and profitability.
Frauenlob says the most effective approach to organisation at tradeshows will vary between sectors and companies depending on what they want to achieve.
“Although the criteria varies, what a lot of potential exhibitors tend to do, is walk the floor of other tradeshows prior to their own and look at how they need to position their prospective products against competitors. Looking at competitors messages and finding a point of difference is also key.”
Finding or reinvigorating business relationships is also about prior networking and inviting prospective or current clients to attend a tradeshow you will be exhibiting at. “Instead of waiting for traffic to come to you, if you want to secure five distributors, give yourself a headstart by inviting 10 distributors you already know or you have found yourself,” he says.
“It sounds cliché, but success at a tradeshow really is about preparation, preparation, preparation.”
For more information on tradeshows or to view the full Ensuring success at tradeshow guide, visitwww.nzte.govt.nz