7 Smart Ways To Create Sales Opportunities At Trade Shows


Are those business cards on your desk still collecting dust? Or perhaps that stack of flyers you passed out didn’t generate any leads?

At tradeshows most of us fall victim to the easy, but least effective, prospecting techniques: Handing out business cards, passing out flyers and collecting business cards for raffles.

And it gets worse.

We give prospects our business card, hoping that they’ll contact us… But they never do.

It should be your goal to break this pattern, stand out and create a compelling reason for your prospect to take action on the spot!

Trade shows have a culture of their own. It’s brimming with loud music, inspiring vision and hallways packed with world-class marketers creating a better future.

So, it’s important to capitalize on these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

This doesn’t mean you should look at everyone as if they’re a dollar sign – but let’s face it, sales matter.

And since it can be challenging to determine the ROI of your presence at these events, leaving without closed sales makes it difficult for your company to justify investing in future conventions.

That’s why on-site selling is not only important, it’s practical! People are there to see what YOU can do to set their business on fire (figuratively of course).

Capitalize on the emotional momentum that the trade show is creating for you. People are more motivated and open-minded here than they are at the office, surrounded by distractions. Use these seven smart ways to create sales opportunities at trade shows.

1) Reserve A Room Near The Trade Show Floor

Reserving a room can be a very important logistical detail. It eliminates distractions and creates an environment where decisions are natural.

Tradeshows are incredibly noisy and distracting. You may be able to rattle off an answer to a potential client or shoot them a quick sales pitch, but due to noise, you may not be able to thoroughly answer questions or get them to make a decision.

Having a quiet space and privacy can assist you in making authentic personal connections. It allows you to hear about your potential client’s problems, and genuinely discuss how they can be resolved—as a team.

In addition to having a booth, you should reserve a room that’s near the trade show floor so you can talk about prices, details and ultimately close the deal. This will give you a chance to pull aside folks that are genuinely interested and have a real, authentic, in-depth discussion.

2) Rehearse Your Elevator Pitch

At any event, you really have about 30 seconds (or less) before you lose the attention of your guest.

That’s why it’s incredibly important to nail down your 30-second elevator pitch before you arrive. An effective pitch is a short overview of what your product or service does, and how it can help the individual or their business.

For example:

“7 Figure Automation is a digital marketing company that helps B2B companies fill their sales pipeline so they can focus on running their business.”

You want listeners to be informed and interested, but you also want them to engage and ask questions too. Which is why a private room can come in handy.

3) Attract Attendees With Unique Content

You only have about 10 seconds to capture the attention of people passing by before they become disinterested.

Every company wants their spotlight and many will pay thousands of dollars to achieve it. But most company booths look the same.

When planning your event look beyond boilerplate videos and run of the mill brochures. Find something that’s going to grab their attention and hook them right away.

For example, at a recent sales conference, we knew that we only had a short amount of time to grab people’s attention. There were many other companies at the trade show, so we needed to figure out a way to stand out from the rest. To do this, we displayed a giant white elephant at our booth (which was connected to our problem-solving campaign of addressing the white elephant in the room).

This alone slowed foot traffic to our booth, especially when combined with large screens displaying funny, interactive videos that also tied in with our campaign message. These two pieces of content kept people’s interest long enough so that we could have in-depth discussions with them.

Making sure your content leads to a sale is your next step!

Once your content draws people in – whether it’s a video, fun display, unique signage etc. — it should grab people’s attention enough to slow them down so you’re able to show how your service benefits their end goal. This also gives you an excuse to bring up even more content as well.

Testimonials, content, pricing information, case studies – you name it! Prove to them that you can provide outstanding value.

4) Research Companies In Attendance To Leverage Sales

Knowing which people and companies are attending is incredibly beneficial. Checkout RSVPs on Facebook events or the trade show website to learn who’s going to be there.

If you’re a B2B company that sees a lot of professionals from the same industry are joining, ensure that your sales pitch, or even your materials speak to that niche.

5) Use Calls-To-Action To Maximize Engagement

In your trade show marketing you should always be asking attendees to complete some form of action. To increase sales on-site, you need to make sure you connect the call-to-action in all of your marketing to something they can do AT the event.

Don’t have them just leave their business card in a fish bowl – have them do something ASAP—right then, right there.

Getting a business card is great, but it’s not going increase your chances of getting a sale. Rather, schedule their meeting on the spot or have them enter their contact details into your CRM system – instead of sorting through dusty business cards on your desk the following week.

6) Develop Connections Before, During And After The Event

To get the most out of your sales presence during trade shows, let people know that you’ll actually be there.

This could be a simple series of social media posts, or something more intricate like an email campaign.

The more people you can connect with beforehand, the better! For some people it’s easier to answer emails, or write messages on LinkedIn.

Connecting beforehand can prime them for potential sales opportunities. You could even prepare something specific for their industry ahead of time.

After all, hard work is what it’s going to take.

During the event you should continue the social engagement – post on social media using the event hash tag, and look for people interacting with that hash tag as well.

But remember to be authentic.

The last thing you want is to come across as too pushy and seem like a sales robot. Simply make a connection. If they aren’t interested, don’t try and force them into something that they don’t want.

The best you can do is deliver your message and let them know how you can benefit them. The rest is in their hands. If you come across as polite, professional and convincing, they might just come back when the time is right.

7) Ask Yourself These Questions

Trade shows are an opportunity to learn and network with your industry leaders. After the event, ask yourself the following questions to get the most value:

What did I do well?

We’re often too hard on ourselves, but there’s likely something you’re proud of, so understand your strengths. This could be your visual presentation, or maybe the way you handled a certain potential client.

Nonetheless, this is a very important way to do some self-reflection.

What did I learn?

Teachable moments are everywhere, you could be a conference veteran, but there still will be things you learn from each one.

This could be something as deep as how to dispel common myths about your industry or something as simple as the new automation trick you learned.

Even the small things add up. Whether it’s big or small, focus on the “aha” moments during the trade show.

What could I improve upon?

Could your collateral have done a better job explaining your service or product? Or maybe you could have done a better job scheduling appointments on-site.

These three questions will keep you on track and move you forward. Self-reflection is an important part of growing, learning and improving.

These tips can work for any conference that you find yourself attending. Securing on-site sales is not only key, it’s incredibly rewarding!

Making long-term connections and growing as a businessperson, is equally fun, adventurous and satisfying. So, use these tips to grow and leverage experiences with world-class marketers.

7 Smart Ways To Create Sales Opportunities At Trade Shows

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