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About This Episode
“Sometimes I tell people, ‘I don’t care that you paid for the booth. You’re not going to the show. You didn’t start planning far enough in advance.’”
She also is the co-Founder and CRO of TradeShow Makeover an online summit focused solely on helping companies to stop leaving money on the trade show floor.
When Alice is consulting a company on how to dominate the trade show, often times the biggest point of failure she identifies is poor planning.
Trade shows are a big expense; you need to generate plenty of revenue from the event.
On this episode of The Sales Engagement Podcast, Alice broke down the 3 phases she says are crucial to Trade Show ROI.
Before You Begin, Evaluate Past Trade Shows
If you have done trade shows in the past, the very first thing to do is analyze those trade shows by making a spreadsheet that includes:
- Costs – all of them
- Closed Deals
- Dollar Value
With a spreadsheet like this, you can analyze what’s happened in the past and how to move forward.
If you’re a startup, you have to begin instead by talking to companies similar to yours.
After having done this evaluation, now it’s time to plan for the next show.
Step 1: The Trade Show Create Phase
This step is all about planning, and it is the most important step. If you don’t have enough time to create a great plan to actually generate leads that close, don’t do the event.
You need to get way ahead of the event and do these 3 things to plan for that particular show:
Ask pertinent questions about the event:
- What is this show about?
- What are the trends in that industry?
- What’s the topic of conversation going to be at the show?
- Who are the main speakers and what are their topics?
- What’s the buzz in the industry about?
Relate that to you:
- Is my booth still sufficient for this particular show?
- Is it’s messaging still current
- Should I add or take away anything?
- What am I going to add to the conversations at the show?
Build your timeline:
- When do Salespeople start calling to set up appointments?
- When will the marketing team drop the emails?
- Will there be snail mail?
- What day do you arrive?
- When do you set up your booth?
- What is your booth schedule?
These planning steps are critical. Alice recommends starting no later than 8 weeks in advance. And for shows that cost thousands of dollars, begin planning a year ahead.
Step 2: The Trade Show Dominate Phase
The Dominate phase is what you do during the show. The key to dominating the show is being memorable.
If you do the show like everyone else: scan badges, pitch, and demo, you’ll look and sound the same as everyone else, and you’re not going to dominate.
What should happen in the discovery zone?
- Did you see the main stage speaker?
- Wasn’t that interesting that they were talking about this?
- I understand that this trend in the industry is affecting your business. Tell me about that specifically affects you
Then you can get them talking and learn whether they’re really a prospect or not before you ever scan their badge.
This way you are not making a mess for marketing by giving them 200 unqualified leads.
When you see that there are a fit and an interest, say “Hey, let me get your business card. let me scan your badge, and let’s schedule a time to follow up and continue our conversation.”
Alice gives 2 other recommendations about the Domination Phase:
- Senior people in your company should be doing it, not just SDRs. Your SDRs shouldn’t go alone, because when very senior people come into your booth, they don’t want a pitch. And inevitably your SDR, not knowing exactly how to have the conversation will fall back on pitching and demoing.
- Lose the iPad or a signed basketball giveaway. Giveaways are an opportunity to get qualified leads, so don’t give away something that has nothing to do with your company. Give away something that people who are qualified would want.
Step 3: The Trade Show Generate Phase
You’ve had meaningful conversations, you didn’t pitch your product, you were memorable. How to generate sales?
This step is about making a new business friend. You want to help your friends because that’s human nature. And that’s how to think about follow up.
Send an email confirming that you have a meeting with them and that you’re excited to continue the conversation:
Subject line “Continuing the conversation from xyz show”
“PS: here is an article I read that I thought you’d really enjoy.” (It should be on the topic you discussed.)
Be sure to give yourself plenty of time so that you can take care of these very personalized follow-ups.
The Most Important Trade Show Takeaway
By using this method, Alice has seen incredible results for the companies she’s helped:
- Better conversations
- Better tracking of leads
- 20-30% higher chance of converting leads into deals.
The most critical thing that listeners need to take away from this episode is that the way to dominate the show and generate leads is by having a solid plan in the create phase.
For more from Alice, head to tradeshowmakeover.com, or message her on Linkedin or Facebook for an invite to her private Facebook group where members discuss strategy and have access to Alice’s 3-day summit videos.
Also, we have a very special gift for our listeners. Unleash is coming up in March 2019, and as a thank you to listeners we are offering 20% off regular priced tickets. Just go to unleash.outreach.io and use promo code “podgoals.”
This post is based on a podcast interview with Alice Heiman founder of Alice Heiman LLC and TradeShowMakeover. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast.
If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.