Your trade fair performance is only as good as your preparations!
Do you know that? You go through an exhibition hall and look at the bored faces of the stand personnel. Some are looking intensely at their smartphone or are leafing through the brochures of the competition.
If this is how it is at your stand or counter, then it is a guaranteed case of insufficient preparations. Those who rely solely on a sufficient number of previously unknown trade visitors straying to their stand or counter have not yet exactly understood the meaning of a trade fair. Only those who in the preliminary stages leading to the fair make sure of a full appointment calendar, will spend a successful and an interesting day at the fair! Only those that enter the fray of the trade fair and sociably expand their own network, will create an adequate ROI.
Here are the most important tips, how you prepare for the trade fair:
1st Target: Exchange words with the existing customers.
You have something new to report. Something in which your existing customers are also interested. Do you remember? A trade fair was previously called a “marketplace of news”. Are your meeting rooms available for booking online now? Do you offer new services to your customers, such as participant management? Do you have a business case for a hybrid meeting? Are there any innovations from the catering kitchen? Perhaps alternatives to the 3-course menu?
- Make your existing customers curious about the news about your hotel. Write to them and announce the “breaking news”. Anyone who does not go to the fair can secure an appointment with you by telephone.
- Provide trade visitor passes for your customers free of charge.
Setup your trade fair day in one of many free appointment planners (e.g. https://doodle.com/de/) and invite your customers, to secure an appointment in your calendar! Most of the trade visitors meticulously plan their day and then will rush past you if you do not make it in advance into the calendar.
- Create a landing page on your website for the planned trade presentation and link from there to your online calendar. Put down on the landing page the expert room that you represent at your stand, describe your special expertise. Maybe your event technicians or your Chef de cuisine is the right partner for specific topics. For this purpose, include them as well via Skype, in case your customer would rather talk with someone else other than the sales manager.
- Make your colleagues in the order section ask every customer before the trade fair, whether they know about the fair and if they plan a visit. If not then send them an email with information. Set up an appointment (Doodle). Exchange mobile phone numbers, so that one or the other can be found if something comes up in between.
2. Target: Exchange words with lost customers
Invite contacts, targeting the ones you have lost contact with. Send an invitation with a link to a visitor pass free of charge and introduce yourself as a contact person for lost relationships.
Request a short conversation, to find out why the ex-customer no longer books with you and whether you can maybe do something to change that.
Tip: such invitations should be delivered either by telephone or formulated very individually in writing. Sometimes you simply find out, that your customer has a new person in charge, who still does not know about your perfect offer?
3. Target: Exchange words with interested parties
An equally very interesting trade fair target group are the persons, that at some time made a request to your company which did not lead to a purchase or to a booking. The procedure is similar to that of the lost customers.
4. Target: Getting to know, new previously unknown prospective buyers at the trade fair and finding cooperation partners
Also, for this group, it is not enough to linger about at the trade fair stand grinning cheerfully.
- Research, where “your” trade fair is placed as an event in social media. Register yourself there so you make yourself visible. The ‘Best of Events’ has placed the next trade fair, for example, on Facebook. More than 500 people have signed up already publicly. Have a look at it, whether there are interesting contacts and address them professionally and individually.
- Search the trade media, who are usually with their complete teams at the trade fairs. Research, for example, on XING or LinkedIn the editors and offer them a theme, that the editors may be interested in. Attention: with a weak advertising without news value you will not get any further here.
- Also, other exhibitors may be interesting to you. Are there caterers, technical service providers, service providers for support programs, that come from your region and you may not yet know? Arrange to meet! Maybe, they have also customers that you would like to take care of together!!
- Visit the lectures and forums, where your customers also take part in. It is not absolutely necessary that you totally stick to your stand. Prepare a nice sign, how you can be reached by phone. “I am visiting a customer just now, call me (or write a Whats App) and we can arrange a meeting”. The chance meeting at a trade fair is often better in one of the lecture rooms or networking events than on your own trade fair stand. Look at the trade fair stand as a home base and not as the only place where you can make great contacts.