GETTING IN SHAPE FOR THE FIT SHOW 2018: WHAT WE LEARNT FROM THE EXHIBITOR TRAINING DAY
When we were first asked to work on developing the live theatre content for FIT Show 2019 we thought it would be all lycra, kettle bells and protein shakes. We soon learned it was Fenestration Installation, otherwise known as windows, doors & conservatories. It’s an industry so many people never give a second thought to, but one we all rely on every day whether at home, work, school or out and about. And within what could be considered quite a functional market, how do exhibitors at the industry’s leading trade show start to make an impact with the visitors and businesses they want to meet?
Pro-active exhibitors made a fantastic start to maximising their investment last week at the exhibitor training day. Increasingly event organisers are realising the power of such events but if you’re still not sure why these add value to your exhibitors click here for our blog with the latest research. As we chatted with exhibitors we discovered the industry is well-connected and people were already getting benefit from talking with each other about their plans and challenges for the show. This informal networking seemed as important to the delegates as the packed programme of formal presentations.
So what did we learn on the day which might help you in planning for your next trade show, regardless of which industry you’re in?
- Don’t Leave Your Valuables At Home: we were asked to deliver a session on why existing customers are just as, if not more important than new prospects. Clients often tell us their key objective is to meet ‘hundreds of new prospects’ at shows, which is important for filling your pipeline. However, research shows that the probability of selling to an existing customer is around 65%, whilst it is only 5-10% for a new customer. Therefore, think about how you create a proposition at the show for existing customers around a new product or additional services. Can you remember a time when you were frustrated that your bank or mobile provider offered a fantastic deal, but it was only for new customers? Is that how you would want your existing customers to feel if they approached your stand and you only had something exciting for strangers? If nothing else, trade shows provide a great platform to say thank you to your current customers, and seeing someone you know offers a welcome relief from the hard work of effectively filtering visitors.
2. Plan Your Lead Capture Early – it was great to see the team from LiveBuzz on site all day to answer questions and help exhibitors understand the best options to capture the details they specifically need. The team emphasised the need to plan early and really think about what details will be most useful to you based on what you want the next action to be. There are lots of different ways of capturing leads, some are included in stand bookings and some will cost more than others. This is fundamentally your only way of ensuring you have the details you need to convert those conversations to cash so it’s worth investing in. And LiveBuzz’s final piece of advice – follow up! Almost 87% of trade show leads are never followed up leaving visitors disappointed & frustrated – make sure you’re in the 13%.
3. Build Your Own Capability – it was an interesting and thought provoking session from the team at Building Our Skills who told us that 25% of the construction industry will retire in the next 10 years – without a solid pipeline of new recruits in place. In asking exhibitors what they thought would make interesting topics for the live theatres, we heard loud and clear that building skills and capability in the industry was a priority. It isn’t just the new recruits however that we’ll focus on, as there seems a need to offer support and advice for those who want to stay in the industry but move to less physically demanding roles as they grow older. Trade shows provide a fantastic environment for building knowledge & organisational capability. Having a number of colleagues in your squad at a trade show enables them to attend personal development session or pick up industry knowledge from live presentations, so don’t discount the value of off-the-stand time for your team.
4. Rock Your Trade Show – closing that day we heard from industry veteran The Exhibition Guy who has worked in exhibition sales for a number of years. With a keen insiders eye, Stephan shared his 7 top tips on how to make the most of your trade show investment. He emphasised the need for 3 clear objectives, making them SMART and linking back to LiveBuzz’s presentation, ensuring you know how you’re going to measure them. Stephan made an interesting point regarding GDPR, in that making contacts at trade shows creates an implied consent which even in the less stringent B2B world reduces some of the GDPR compliance risks. He rounded off by focusing on really listening to visitors, rather than being too eager to sell. Using the statistic that 82% of trade show visitors complain about disinterested exhibitors, this backs up our insight that the number one issue visitors have at shows is not being listened to. Visitors want to explain what their problem is so that you fully understand whether your product or service could be a solution for them, enabling a conversation about whether you want to do business together. If you can’t solve their problem, you’re wasting both your time trying to sell to them.
The day was topped and tailed by the FIT Show team explaining the many and varied ways they’ll be interacting with visitors over the coming months to make sure the right audience see, hear and know all about the show and its exhibitors. It’s great to see so much collateral provided by an organiser for exhibitors to take advantage of and as we always advise clients, if you do nothing else, make sure you do everything that your organiser offers you – it is what you’ve paid for after all!
If you’d like the ProExTra team to help your clients unleash their inner Exhibitionist we’d love to help plan and deliver your Exhibitor Training Day – just give us a call on 07891 122542 to talk through your ideas.
Equally, if you’re visiting or exhibiting at FIT Show 2019 and have a topic you think would make an interesting session please do get in touch via Twitter (@ProExTraCo) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.