Estimated duration: 8hrs
This course introduces the range of strategies that successful businesses employ to maximise the effectiveness of their presence in international conferences and exhibitions. It then moves on to relate to the implications of these strategies in different contexts and approaches to be adopted in selecting the more effective presence strategies.
Participants completing this course will relate to the diversity of presence approaches that may be adopted in distinct types of international conferences, conventions and exhibitions. Participants will also be able to select among the approaches by adopting selection schemes that help them construct and implement a focused presence strategy in a diversity of international contexts.
1. Background to Exhibitions and Conferences.
2. Basic Guide to Attending Exhibitions and Conferences.
3. Making the most of your investment:
The 4 P’s
Presentation, Pitch and Networking.
Post Event activity
4. Media opportunities to enhance your investment.
Background to Exhibitions & Conferences
What are we talking about and why are Exhibitions & Conferences of relevance to your business?
They all serve as a means to influence your standing in the market, where buyers and sellers and prospective buyers and sellers, as well as industry influencers, come together to share ideas and potentially create lifetime relationships. Your business must take a serious look at their potential impact upon your business. Your competitors are already likely to be doing so!
Success in business is always about staying in touch with movements in your industry. What is happening, how are customers changing, what new technologies are being advanced, what do you need to be doing in order to succeed in your marketplace. Exhibitions and Conferences provide a means to answer all these questions and more.
This course will equip you with the means to benefit most from being involved in Exhibitions & Conferences. We will go into much more detail later. For now, we will take a brief look at each.
We can have a Trade Show which is an exhibition where goods and services in a specific industry are exhibited and demonstrated to other businesses-B2B. They are usually promoted by trade associations for specific industries. They are plentiful and there is almost certainly one associated with your product.
Trade Shows are a type of Exhibition generally not open to the public, and can only be attended by company representatives and others directly associated with the industry. You should enquire at your Chamber of Commerce or national trade promotion organisation (TradeMalta http://www.trademalta.org/) as to the most appropriate Trade Show for your industry. Attending Trade Shows is often critical as many of those attending are the key decision-makers in their companies, and these are your potential customers! You will improve the benefits associated with attending a Trade Show by planning ahead. More on that later.
What we call an Exhibition is the same as a Trade Show except the audience is normally the general public. Exhibitions are a vital part of product marketing, along with direct selling, advertising, direct mail and the internet. In new and emerging markets, they serve as a major stimulus for industrial and commercial development. Exhibitions are an opportunity for a large number of buyers and sellers in an industry to come into direct contact with each other – at the same time new products can easily be launched and the feasibility of a new product can be put to test. Because Exhibitions are often open to the general public your business is able to obtain end-user perspectives on the new product range.
Exhibitions are not a new concept. They began in biblical times and were popular in Medieval Europe and the Middle East. Originally, they served as a means for craftsmen and farmers to bring their product/produce to the town centre to sell so as to survive and prosper. Called Trade Shows, France and Germany had the first recorded history of organising the earliest such gatherings. Participants realised the value of meeting, sharing ideas and information and providing previews of new products to potential customers.
The buyer-seller format was termed an Exhibition and as interest in them grew they were often on a grand global scale. For example, the Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1851 in London, featured 13,000 exhibits from around the world. Similar events took place in Chicago and Philadelphia.
A business conference brings people within an industry together. The purpose is to share ideas as to what is happening in the industry. Participants network and listen to experts who often plot a possible way forward for the industry. Conferences are often incredibly good at providing ideas to advance your company. Networking allows you to judge whether you are keeping up with best practices in your industry. Delegates attending conferences will often talk freely about their thoughts and aspirations for the industry, and this is valuable to you.
These are private to industry participants and are not open to the general public. These are what we would refer to as Trade Shows. The term “Expo” or “Exposition” is used to describe this event. In reality Trade Shows, expositions and Exhibitions are often used interchangeably.
In B2B exhibitions attendance is restricted to those involved in the industry; manufacturers, service providers, intermediaries, business representatives, representative organisations. The organising entity is often a management company operating on behalf of a trade association and as such the event is pursued as a profit-making activity. They are also more likely to be annual events.
Given that the attendees or delegates are the principal movers and shakers in the industry it is clear to see why your business ought to be present in order to remain relevant. The most important drivers in your industry are there, and so must you. Later we will look at what is involved in planning for your involvement in an Exhibition.
These public shows are exhibitions that are open to the public. They are used by industry participants to bring products directly to the markets’ end user. These shows are typically held at the weekend to gain maximum exposure and attendance. This event provides your business with an ideal opportunity to test and/or launch a new product idea to your market.
There are 3 key players involved in the creation and management of an exhibition to ensure maximum success.
1. Exhibition Organiser
2. Facility Manager
3. General Service Contractor
1. Exhibition Organiser
This may be a trade association, or a management firm commissioned to run the event at a profit. Later we will be looking at what is involved in organising for your attendance at such an event. For now, it is sufficient that you know that you need to be very close to the Exhibition Organiser so that you are able to get the most from your participation. In addition to the organising of the event itself, the Exhibition Organiser is often involved in periphery activities associated with the event which your business may have an interest in:
- Educational Programmes
- Entertainment Programmes
- Special Sections at the event for emerging companies, new exhibitors, and new technologies.
- Celebrity or guest speakers.
- Meal programmes
- Spouse and children activities
- Internet access and email-centres
2. Facility Manager
Everything associated with the logistics of the event falls under this heading. Size of facility, costs, availability of service contractors, airline services, hotels, transport availability.
3. General Service Contractor
The services provided by this key player include:
- Floor plan design and development
- Booth design: customised and/or generic
- Freight handling and transport
- Storage and warehousing
- Lights, heating etc
- Sound and visuals
A basic guide to attending Exhibitions/Conferences
1. Have business cards with you
Yes of course you need all the electronic gadgets, and you will be issuing your LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and other account details. It is still a good idea to have plenty of cards on-hand to give away. Get cards that are clear in terms of your details, and design them so that they say something about you, your business and your professionalism.
2. Have a great elevator/sales pitch
During the Exhibition or Conference, you will get the opportunity to meet people that may be in a position to help you and your business. They may be potential customers wanting to buy, or investors in a position to support your business ambitions. They may well just have a passing interest in you and your business. Whoever they are you will want to tell them about you and your business proposition. After all, is that not why you are at the Exhibition/Conference?
An effective pitch can help you introduce yourself and break the ice in networking situations. You can also use your pitch to clarify your target audience and business goals for your own use and become more confident and self-assured in business settings.
3. Get to as many information/workshop sessions as possible
Oftentimes people attending Exhibitions/Conferences tend not to go to these. But you have spent time, money effort and may even have travelled a great distance- make the most of it all. Get to meet people and hear their stories. Network, it is all about networking! View the presentations, ask lots of questions.
4. Use your time to meet high quality individuals
These are the people that may/will have the greatest impact upon your business’ future. Remember they are at the event for the same reason as you…get to know them. There is no point in going to every activity at the event. Read the schedule well in advance and plan your time at the Exhibition/Conference.
Meet every speaker you listen to. Do not spend much time chatting to them because they are getting hounded by hundreds of others. Be considerate, and give them space, they will remember you.
6. Conference organisers
Meeting the conference organiser is a very wise thing to do. Few people really give them the time of day, but they should. Organisers can get you introduced to some key people.
Talk to your competitors at the event. They might well be your future partners.
8. Always eat at the event
You should always make the effort to eat lunch and dinner at the event. It is a great way to mingle and get to know people. Remember of course to never eat with your work colleagues or old friends. Make the effort to introduce yourself to new people, remember that you are there to network…so get on with it.
9. Walk around the venue to see what else is there
This is a great opportunity to see the industry and get a feel for where your industry is going.
10. Do not forget to follow up after the Exhibition/Conference
Follow up on all of the business leads generated at the Exhibition by a set date.
To follow up on leads simply collate all the contact information you’ve collected at the exhibition and within a set timescale after the exhibition take time to call everyone, thank them for visiting your stand and find out how your business can help them.
Making the most of your investment
The 4 P’s
a. Developing a plan for a successful participation at an Exhibition or Conference
You have decided to attend an Exhibition or Conference and now you want to ensure the maximum benefit for you and your business. There are many things to consider: design of the stand, preparation of staff, arranging samples, arranging brochures and other Marketing Communication material. Planning a successful participation at an Exhibition and/or Conference requires organisation, creativity and a focus upon detail. You must not easily be deterred from this substantial task at hand.
Choose with care the best event to attend. Some good advice here- do not simply react to an unsolicited request from an email to participate in an Exhibition that you may never have heard of before. Remember many Exhibitions are organised by management companies who are set up to generate profit. They will of course have your interests somewhat at heart (at the core of their thoughts), but that is often not the case. They see you and your company as a profit generator for them. Therefore in deciding which Exhibition to attend talk to your staff, your management team , your Chamber of Commerce, Government Agencies and so on…these may well be in a position to give you the best advice. There are many options to choose from. You can see some relevant links later in this module.
The following section sets out a number of areas that you must consider in order to have the most successful outcome possible. Your particular needs will be unique to your business, but it is worthwhile having a checklist of areas to reflect upon before, during and post the event. We will look at 10 general headings.
– Setting Objectives
– Show Offering
– Stand Design and needs
– Your Team
– Pre-event MarCom
– On-Stand MarCom
– At the Exhibition
– Post Exhibition and follow-up
Now let us look at each of these in a little more detail. The intention remember is not so much to tell you exactly what you must do, but rather to get you thinking about what you must consider in order to get the most from your involvement in an Exhibition or Conference. All the checklists in the world will not be of any use if you are not fully engaged, your mind-set must be one that has as its focus the achievement of the best possible outcome from this course of action.
- Set budget. Yes, attending an Exhibition will require a payment from your end. The benefits of attending can be substantial, but as in all investments you must be aware of what finance you have available in order to make a judgement on the appropriateness of your actions. Know your financial commitment.
- Decide on the type of stand, size and location. Having decided to attend you want to make the greatest impact on your fellow industry participants and/or final customers. There are many options at your disposal: open space that you fill at the event, or a booth-like style display. There are others and we will look at some of these later.
- Learn about the most common exhibiting mistakes before you book.
Some common mistakes
This listing is not exhaustive and not in order of importance.
- Not planning ahead. It is NEVER too early to start planning your attendance at an Exhibition. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Plan for your Exhibition well ahead, think in terms of a minimum of 12 months, if not 18-12-9-6-3 months. Application forms to attend, planning the logistics behind getting product to the Exhibition location all have deadlines. These deadlines will attract penalties if missed and may well prevent you from attending.
- Going Cheap. Your attendance will cost you money but see it more as an investment. If you are going to focus upon saving a little here and a little there in terms of the cash you pay, you are looking at the costs rather than the benefits of the investment. This will often be manifest in a shoddy or under-whelming experience at the Exhibition by those that you come in contact with. Remember that you are there to impress upon the market-trade and consumer-that you are ready to do business.
- Not telling the world that you are going to be at the Exhibition. As far out from the Exhibition as possible start telling your stakeholders, all of them including your own staff, that you will be at the Exhibition. This will commence a buzz about your business, showing that you exist and have your finger on the pulse. Doing so will ensure that people will want to come up to you at the Exhibition to learn more about your offerings. By getting to your stakeholders early your stand will be on the schedule on the day(s) of the Exhibition.
- Failure to produce great brochures, business cards, social media, signage et cetera on the day. Ensure that everything that is seen by the stakeholders is consistent and in keeping with the image that you wish to convey.
- Failure to Follow-up on Leads. The reason that you are at the Exhibition is to generate business. It is seriously foolish not to follow-up on requests for information made by interested parties. Ensure that you have a comprehensive plan in place to do this most critical activity.
- No Post-Show MarCom. See your presence at the Exhibition not as the end of something but rather as the beginning of a new phase in your overall business plan. Piggy-back on the success of the Exhibition by continuing to make your presence known in the marketplace through targeted Market Communication activity.
- Not having your display material as the very best. Here we are talking about your stand at the Exhibition….is it bright, clear and efficiently and effectively displaying an image of a dynamic business – your business?
- Not working with professionals. Having a family member that will create a website for you is not always the most appropriate. You must see attendance at the Exhibition as being the greatest opportunity that your business has of influencing the market…get the very best support and advice.
- Not being able to measure the success of the venture. Set objectives associated with your attendance at the Exhibition. How else will you know whether it was a successful investment? Did you get more sales leads, how many people came to your stand and what did they ask about, what were their impressions of your business and your product offering? You must have a means to assess your investment.
- Having a stand that is too big, too small in the wrong location and/or just inappropriate. Your stand on the day is your showcase. Do all possible to ensure that it displays to the world the correct impression about your business.
- No Staff Training. A football team will have practice sessions (many of them) before getting onto the pitch. The same goes for the staff charged with manning the stand at the Exhibition (your window on the world). Avoid the temptation to send the juniors, those that have just joined the company (such as interns and recent graduates) to the stand, as is so often the case. Those present on the stand represent your business. They must be fully and comprehensively up to speed on all aspects of the business.
- Failure to Research Your Target Market, because you are at the wrong Exhibition. Do your pre-Exhibition research, scope who will be there: CEOs, other managers, operatives et cetera. Having attended the event in the past may not necessarily mean that it is still the best one for you to invest in. Technology moves on a pace and there may be a more appropriate Exhibition available to you.
- No Teamwork. Ensure that the team involved in the Exhibition is operating as an integrated unit, they all know what is at stake and how to function.
- Not Using Technology to Communicate. Use everything at your disposal to project the image that you desire. Take pictures and post to social media, get the movers and shakers to follow you. Get interaction going.
- Underestimating Your Prospective Customers and not listening to them. They are at the Exhibition and have done their research. They will know lots about your business and have arrived with specific questions that require equally specific answers. They have done their research, so must you. Remember that you are there to generate interest and more business. So, stop talking and start listening to what your stakeholders are telling you.
Before attending your Exhibition it is important to set objectives in order to make a judgement as to the success or otherwise of your experience and investment. You will need to define clearly what success looks like for you.
Going to an exhibition without objectives is like going in blind, what do you want to get out of it? Why are you actually there? Do not just go to an exhibition “because we go every year”.
Not only do you need to set objectives, but you also need to be SMART about them. SMART is an acronym meaning –
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time Sensitive
How do you set SMART objectives?
Before you start to plan your SMART objectives you have to differentiate between aims goals and objectives. Aims and goals generally refer to your aspirations whereas objectives are a plan of action.
Start with the Specific, Measurable and Time-Sensitive criteria, and then when that is complete, use them to figure out whether the objective is both attainable and relevant. Some words are more relevant to Exhibition objectives than others. For example:
Establish, Enhance, Promote, Introduce, Generate, Increase, Gather, Demonstrate and Attract.
To set a ‘Specific’ objective you have to answer the five W’s which are, WHO is involved? WHAT do I want to accomplish? WHERE will you work towards the objective? WHEN will I aim to achieve it? WHY am I setting this particular objective?
What objectives might you have in mind for attending your next Exhibition?
A ‘Measurable’ objective helps you to track your progress towards the overall objective, questions to ask yourself to help you set a measurable objective would be – How much? Or How Many?
‘Attainable’ is something that is specific to you and your business, do not set an objective that you know is out of reach to you because it won’t be achieved. If you want to achieve your goals, then plan wisely and set something that is within reach. It has to be attainable otherwise if and when you fail to achieve the objective, the result will be greater levels of frustration.
A ‘Relevant’ objective is important to your business because if it is not relevant then it is likely not benefitting your business in any way.
Finally a ‘Time Sensitive’ objective should simply be set within a time frame. Without a time-frame there is no sense of urgency and you are more than likely to keep putting it on the long-finger, and not get it done.
Exhibition SMART Objective Examples
Here are a few examples of objectives for Exhibitions to help give you some inspiration for your own and how to accomplish them.
- Establish 10 new business leads by the end of the exhibition.
Try to collect as much information as you can about them such as their name, company, email address and telephone number.
- Generate €5,000 revenue in sales as a result of the exhibition by a set date. To do so you will need to have a carefully planned and well executed post-exhibition strategy and set of tactics.
Revenue is generally not generated from the exhibition directly but rather by following up on leads that you made at the exhibition, this can be measured as you follow up on the leads if they then convert into a sale.
- Meet with 5 key decision makers in my industry by the end of the exhibition.
The best way to go about meeting with key decision makers would be to schedule a meeting with them at the exhibition, ideally having such an encounter planned prior to the Exhibition.
- Follow up on all of the business leads generated at the Exhibition by a set date.
To follow up on leads simply collate all the contact information you’ve collected at the exhibition and within a set timescale after the exhibition take time to call everyone, thank them for visiting your stand and find out how your business can help them.
Other objectives that you might have could be:
Gathering competitive intelligence: an Exhibition/Conference is the location where you can do this, do not miss the opportunity.
Introduce employees to the industry: a great way for new employees to get their feet wet and understand the industry.
Find partners: You may take the opportunity to locate potential strategic partners.
Using the SMART model, prepare for a possible visit to an Exhibition of relevance to your business. Make the effort to address each of the 15 points covered. This may take longer than 60 minutes but it is time well spent.
The Third “P” Presentation
Here you need to think of your physical stand as well as how you intend to present/sell yourself, your product and/or your company.
Things to consider when preparing to Exhibit.
The preparation involved in preparing yourself for the Exhibition can be broken into 7 broad areas:
1. Show Offering
2. Stand Design & Needs
3. Your Team
4. Pre-Event MarCom
5. On-Stand MarCom
7. At The Exhibition
We will now look at each of these in turn.
1. Show Offering
Now that you have decided to attend an Exhibition you need to decide what will be displayed at your stand. Will it be a new product that you want to get a reaction to? What about a special discount offer for items bought at the Exhibition. Demonstrations of your product range with the opportunity for people to interact is always a great idea. There may be an opportunity for you and your team to attend a break-out speakers corner (you might consider making a presentation yourself). These are often perfect opportunities for you to listen and learn from the question and answer session that often accompanies such events. Likewise, many Exhibitions now facilitate research sessions, where participants discuss trends in the market during workshop sessions. Such information is essential for your business’ success.
2. Stand Design and needs
You need to attract delegates to your stand by well-executed design and eye-catching merchandise and entertainment. Remember that there may well be 100’s if not 1,000’s of stands at your Exhibition, you will need to stand out. Going into the crowd asking them to come and see your stand will not often be successful. Instead, you need to be creative. For example, a material handling business manufacturing fork-lift trucks may well arrange to have some live relaxing music at their stand. Delegates are attracted to the music, stay for the entertainment and coffee, and in a relaxed atmosphere you get the opportunity to get your message across regarding your new product offering. Everyone attending will know what you are trying to achieve but they will appreciate your methods.
Another clever example was a company that creates clean water sources for remote villages in developing markets. At the stand the company got delegates to carry two 20-litre jugs of water across a 25 metre platform. This is what elderly villagers have to do twice every single day. Give consideration as to how you might do something similar in terms of bringing your stand to life.
There are many other matters that must be considered:
– Location of your stand – centre stage, out in the outskirts of the Exhibition….that money saved may well be expensive in the longer term.
– Lighting, audio, safety, insurance, carpets floor covering, catering at your stand, giveaways, seating arrangements, a place for delegates to talk in relative privacy.
– Do you have a data capture facility? After all, you are here to get information and do more business!. Ensure that a wide spectrum of people attends the stand, from Marketing, Sales, Production and Management….it is after all an opportunity to meet the competition and the customers and to see what is happening in your industry.
3. Your Team
Earlier we mentioned that sadly all too often the ones sent to “man the stand” are the juniors and interns- the logic being that standing at a stand all day is not the task of middle and senior management as their time is too costly. Think again. This is your business opportunity to engage with your stakeholders. The people on the stand must be the very best that you have and must be fully knowledgeable of your company. This is not generally a description of junior and/or new employees.
Do they have back-up material in the form of branded clothing, brochures, business cards, name-badges. Have they been fully briefed as to the objectives of their presence?
4. Pre-Event MarCom
Have you developed a Market Communication plan to let everyone – existing and new potential customers – know that you will be at the Exhibition? Tell them what you will be offering and where they can find you. Using all available on and off-line facilities, let people know. Create content of a very high standard.
5. On-Stand MarCom
Do you have enough brochures, price lists, video/audio material? Have you had pop-up stands designed, printed and will they be delivered on time?
Ensure that your credit card machine works! If you are actually expecting to sell on the day this will be critical.
Treat everyone who visits as a potential important future customer. Staying aloof and standing off from those that wish to learn more about your business will not achieve successful results. Give them a full product demonstration and answer all questions. Make it a contest with your colleagues, who will collect the biggest amount of quality leads! Salespeople love contests and a little award will make them run even faster. The only contacts that count, are the ones that have been followed up! More on this later.
Ensure that you have completed all required paperwork associated with attending the Exhibition as well as everything associated with your stand and where it will be on the day(s) of the Exhibition. Take note what are the setup times and break downtimes in advance and inform the team setting up your stand.
7. At the Exhibition
Ensure that you have all important contact numbers of the organisers, your team and potential customers that you wish to meet. Be ready for everything!
Taking the 7 points highlighted above, and prepare yourself for your upcoming Exhibition by jotting down the things to consider when preparing to Exhibit.
Elevator or Sales Pitch
During the Exhibition or Conference, you will get the opportunity to meet people that may be in a position to help you and your business. They may be potential customers wanting to buy, or investors in a position to support your business ambitions. They may well just have a passing interest in you and your business. Whoever they are you will want to tell them about you and your business proposition. After all is that not why you are at the Exhibition/Conference?
An effective pitch can help you introduce yourself and break the ice in networking situations. You can also use your pitch to clarify your target audience and business goals for your own use, and become more confident and self-assured in business settings.
The elevator pitch or sales pitch is so called because it generates the image of you finding yourself in a lift/elevator with a stranger and you wish to tell him/her all about your business in a concise clear and undecorated manner. You might have up to 2 minutes, usually less.
An elevator pitch can be one of the simplest yet most powerful tools that you have, and you need to have one. You need to practice at getting it right.
An elevator pitch is meant to be delivered in the time it takes to complete your average elevator ride. The length can vary, but typically you want to be able to deliver your pitch at a gentle-not rushed pace in under two minutes, ideally in under one minute. Your goal length should be 150-250 words.
There are many suggestions available on the internet as to what your pitch could/should look like. Here we will give you two options.
Elevator/Sales Pitch Option 1
1. State who are you
Write one sentence about who you are.
“I am in business for 10 years and based in Dublin Ireland.”
2. Describe What You Do
This is your mission statement. Keep it to 2 sentences at a maximum. Tell what it is you do every day.
“I give business advice to new start-ups in the nutritional and healthy eating sector of the food industry. I show how to identify and segment new markets”
3. Identify Your Ideal Clients/Customers
Use your target audience description from number 2 above as a guide, and write 1-2 sentences about who your ideal clients or customers are.
“My clients are dynamic people who are driven by a passion to create great food for a knowledgeable market sector. My clients know how to make great products but are less aware of how to identify and create markets. That is where I come in. My knowledge of the dynamics of the marketplace is unsurpassed.”
4. Explain What Is Unique About Your Business.
Use your unique selling proposition (USP) as a guide, and write 1-2 sentences about what sets you apart from every other business owner who does what you do.
“My USP lies in the fact that I am the only one with that unique ability to combine my knowledge of the food sector- having been Chief Marketing Officer for a global food business for over 25 year-with a deep passion and awareness of the newly evolving nutrition and health food sector.
I have brought 15 business ideas to the market with amazing success in the last 10 years”
5. State What You Want to Happen Next
Write 1-2 sentences that identifies what you want your audience to do next.
“I would like to schedule a good time for us to sit and talk about how we can work together to achieve great success.”
6. Create an Attention-Getting Hook
Write 1-2 sentences that pull in your audience and get them engaged in what you’re about to say.
“Have you ever thought that your idea was capable of being even more successful than it is, there is simply more there. More for you to achieve? Then I can help.
7. Put It All Together
Now, take the points from 1-6 above and create your pitch. Keep returning to it until you get it sounding just right and natural. Time spent talking out loud to yourself is time well spent! The pitch can always be improved upon. Practice. Practice. Practice. Here is an example:
Elevator/ Sales Pitch 1
I am in business for 10 years and based in Dublin Ireland.
I give business advice to new start-ups in the nutritional and healthy eating sector of the food industry. I show how to identify and segment new markets. My clients are dynamic people who are driven by a passion to crate great food for a knowledgeable market sector. They know how to make great product but are less aware of how to identify and create markets. That is where I come in. My knowledge of the dynamics of the marketplace is unsurpassed.
My uniqueness lies in the fact that I am the only one with that unique ability to combine my knowledge of the food sector- having been Chief Marketing Officer for a global food business for over 25 year-with a deep passion and awareness of the newly evolving nutrition and health food sector. I have brought 15 business ideas to the market with amazing success in the last 10 years
I would like to schedule a good time for us to sit and talk about how we can work together to achieve great success.
Have you ever thought that your business was capable of being even more successful, that there is simply more there, more for you to achieve? Then I can help.
Elevator/Sales Pitch Option 2
The process is very similar to option 1 and is simply another way of achieving the same outcome. This one can often be best used if you have a captive audience, one that is there to hear from you. You want to retain their attention from start to end. Take a look and see which of the 2 options suits you best.
Establish credibility and your background – KEY FACTS
Say something amazing that will grab the audience’s attention, that will stop them in their tracks.
Map out what you are going to do
Clear explanation of what is going to be pitched. You are going to talk about Points 1, 2 & 3 stating the points.
The first item you want to talk about.
The second item you want to talk about.
The third item you want to talk about.
We often remember the first and last thing we hear – recapping is important. Tell them what you said.
Ask for questions from the audience/panel.
Too many people leave on a low after questions – finish by telling them something else amazing! Or repeat your GRAB.
Start thinking about your elevator/sales pitch. Remember that this can/should be returned to again and again in order to get it “finely tuned”. You will always be making it more concise and of course you will always be making it relevant to your particular audience.
The ability to network, as every successful sales representative will tell you, is essential to success. Networking is quite possibly the lifeblood by which your business will survive and prosper in dynamic markets, and quite possibly THE reason that you are attending the Exhibition or Conference. It is a process and not an act, meaning that you are never really finished with it. It is something that you should be doing every minute of every day.
1. Building your network
Developing your network by getting involved in everything that might possibly be connected to your business, your customers and the other stakeholders is critical. If there is a networking event taking place, be there. You will meet others, possibly develop business and personal relationships, and who knows what might happen. Keep track of everyone and every business that you make contact with. Each is a link, a potential route to new business.
2. Be resilient
Every salesperson will tell you that a prime characteristic that is needed is that of being resilient. You will get more of the “I don’t want to buy” than you want. Each time you meet a prospect, even if it does not result in a sale, it is important to get what you can in terms of information for future reference. An important lesson learned in sales techniques is that the objective is not always that of getting the sale. The objective of that well set out sales pitch may well be that of initiating a relationship, which will, over time and with effort, result in positive feedback ending with a sale.
3. Be the best that you can be to everyone that you meet
The expression to remember is “Don’t burn any bridges”. Be nice to everyone. Your marketplace is relatively small, people talk to each other, and they will talk. Have them saying only good things about you.
4. Be generous with your advice and time
Allied to number 3, networking has to do with helping the other party, even or especially when there is no obvious benefit to you at the time. What goes around comes around. People do business with people and people like people who are nice!
5. Develop that relationship database
In your business circles, everyone knows someone that knows you. Keep the lines of communication open at all times. This is as important as market research, producing products and selling them. You should always be focused on the network.
Use email, newsletters, phone calls and all relevant social media platforms to develop that positive connection. It is not a monologue where you issue information. It is a dialogue where you listen and gain invaluable insights from your network database. These insights will cover such areas as:
Product development opportunities: which products are most likely to win the favour of your customer, what branding strategies will work best and so on. A well-structured and maintained network database will possibly eliminate the requirement for you to engage an outside agency to undertake market research. Your network provides all that you need to be successful.
6. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate
The three secrets of establishing, creating and maintaining your network. Maintain regular and consistent contact with those in your database. Make the communication as personal as possible. Face to face is ideal, failing that avoid those mass post-outs of information. The receiver knows that you really don’t care. Try setting a face-to-face meeting. It really works. Are others attracted to you, are you a person that lights up the room when you arrive or leave? Make sure your positive personality and outlook is attracting relationships and not pushing them away.
7. Network vision
You develop a network in order to make a positive impact upon your business. Never lose sight of this fact. Have a clear vision of where you are going and what you want to achieve from the network activity.
Make a list of everyone in your business network. Think in terms of everyone and anyone that might assist you: professional and personal contacts.
The fourth “P” Post-Event
Evaluation after the Exhibition
How did everything go? Did you achieve the SMART objectives set? These are some of the questions you should be asking. After the exhibition has finished do not just leave it at that, spend some time along with your employees that attended evaluating the results of your hard work, did you gain as many business leads as you had hoped?
If you achieved your objectives – great! Set more ambitious objectives next time (but still attainable of course). If you missed your goal do not worry, evaluate what you think went wrong and work out a way to improve upon that. Perhaps set something that is more easily attainable or consider doing something different. If you are going to five exhibitions a year for example, cut that down to one or two and spend the money you save putting more effort into a more impressive exhibition. Chances are you won’t do everything perfectly the first time so try different things out to see what works for you and your business.
Follow-up on contacts made
Following up all contacts made at the Exhibition is critical and sadly often not undertaken to the greatest advantage. Get all leads uploaded to your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Get this information out to your relevant staff as soon as possible, these leads cannot be allowed to get “cold”. Evaluate the results against the stated objectives and investment, to determine the success or otherwise of the activity. Work with all relevant staff and let them know how much you appreciate their input and hard work.
Following up on all the contacts that you have made and made promises to at the Exhibition is essential. This is an opportunity to show just how professional and serious a business person you are.
Year after year, we are told that over 70% of the leads are not followed up after the Exhibition. This is not a good outcome.
You will spend a great deal of time effort energy and not forgetting money on planning and executing your presence at an Exhibition. All of this investment, and still, many contacts will remain uncontacted after the exhibition. It really makes no sense.
What is the most common reason for not following up?
It has to be laziness, there is after all no excuse in terms of technology given the abundance of software available to enable seamless post exhibition contact. After the big build-up, you are tired and simply forget about the Exhibition now that it is over and you get on with the daily routine.
Some things to consider in the follow-up:
Invite or welcome the contacts to your email list.
After the Exhibition send a short message with a summary of your discussion. Remember to ask for the next step: a further meeting, would they like more information, and of course “how many do you want to buy”?
Add a photo of yourself at your stand to your message! Then contacts will remember who you are and what you talked about at the show!
Explain how you obtained their names, make it personal and connect back to the conversation that you had.
If they chatted with specific people on the stand about specific items, reference that conversation. Do what you can to show what you have in common and why they should engage with your company.
Create event-related content.
Again, the event is what connects you. Write articles and blogs about it. Interview the event’s subject matter experts. Have this on your TWITTER, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms. Bring along a reporter. Demonstrate your value to attendees by providing a fresh perspective and helping them assimilate even more information.
Do not get into selling right away.
The best way to sell is not to sell. The best way to get the sale through is to concentrate upon the buyer, there is no selling without buying. Therefore, in the follow up to the Exhibition you must move with great care.
The leads that you may have made at the Exhibition may not yet be ready to buy. Move slowly and with care as you bring them down the sales/marketing funnel.
Make personal connections.
Make sure your sales professionals individually follow up with the people they spoke with, whether that is through sending an email, connecting on LinkedIn, or following them on Twitter. People build relationships with people, not companies. Yes- this will be time-consuming, but it is well spent time.
Keep them engaged, even though they may never be a customer.
Do not discard attendees who are not a fit; they could become a champion of your brand, or possibly a partner or collaborator. They will be talking about you and your business to others in the market. What will they be saying?
Engage them by developing a nurturing campaign that will keep them abreast of what is happening in your business and the market in general. Invite them to subscribe to an online newsletter, attend online events, or connect via social media.
While your sales team is busy following up on the hottest leads, marketing should be jumping into action with tailored content. Try and do as much prep work as you can. Have a content plan and materials prepared for every eventuality – so something thanking attendees who came, something for those who didn’t turn up, etc. This can be followed up with an overview of the event including pictures s and a link to the video embedded in your website. Consider turning statistics and information into a shareable infographic (remember to have your name in there so that you get the credit). Not only will you encourage engagement, but you could reach future prospects for your next B2B event.
Explore what possible content you might generate subsequent to attending an Exhibition, identifying what platforms it might appear on.
Media opportunities to enhance your investment
You want to make the very most of the time you spend on your Exhibition or Conference.
Checklist to maximise your presence
a. Before the Exhibition/Conference spend time creating a video people will want to watch. Get the video shared across relevant social media platforms. Do something that will encourage delegates to want to seek you out on the day at your stand.
b. If appropriate think in terms of a ticket giveaway. Fees to attend Exhibitions/Conferences can be very expensive, so have a competition with a prize of tickets. Promote across all relevant social media. Get people talking about you.
c. Make full use of GOOGLE Ad Words to get the message out there. If you do not know how to do this, seek professional advice it will be money well spent.
d. Set up a TWITTER hashtag # and run it before, during and after the event. Same for Instagram.
e. Create a Group on LinkedIn…start a conversation going prior to the event, and perhaps arrange a gathering at the event of those members of this group.
f. Create an event on Facebook.
g. Make contact with some speakers attending the event…..create short videos and post to social media platforms.
h. Create great content for press releases.
i. Ensure that your activities at the event are recorded/documented.
Get a copy of the delegate list once you register. This is a gateway list to potential customers and your competition. Shortlist those that you want to engage with and start approaching prior to the event.