How To Get A Return On Your Investment At A Trade Show

It’s kind of the ‘holy grail’  isn’t it? There you are spending a fortune on an exhibition or trade show…. all that time, energy and MONEY. I bet you know to the nearest penny the amount you’ve spent on the stand, carpeting, lighting, transport, stand build, promotional gifts (please tell me you did that!!!), staffing, Hotels, meals, entertainment, etc, etc. But do you measure your success?

RT Promotions Exhibition Display

RT Promotions Exhibition Display

My company, RT Promotions, has just returned from our most successful trade show ever, and I thought I’d share some of the processes we applied at the event.

I think the biggest lesson we learnt was ‘preperation’. Yes, you’ll have prepared for the show with a tick list of things to make it happen. The booking of all the various things, the layout, etc. But, have you sat down and quietly considered what you are trying to achieve and ‘how’. Of course you’re after more customers or increased sales….. but then so is everyone else. So my question is, ‘what are you going to do that different’?

Let me put this another way. Have you got a battle plan? A plan that you will sit down and discuss with all the people involved in the show (your staff). A detailed plan of action that tells your stand staff what you want them to do, and more importantly, what you DON’T want them to do!!! A friend of mine organised a stand for a client and when he asked the staff what they were going to do, they all thought that simply being pleasant and handing out brochures was acceptable….. he soon put them right. The plan was to ‘qualify’ prospective clients asap. If they weren’t a client, then a happy smile and a brochure was fine, after all, PR’s a good thing right? but, the important thing here was that he gave the staff a clear focus. They were there to determine the folk who weren’t time waster, or brochure collectors.

Richard Mack and Catherine Gregg, of RT Promotions
Richard Mack and Catherine Gregg, of RT Promotions

That’s where my business, RT Promotions, can help. Some promotional gifts, particularly the low-cost ones, are brilliant to get your staff talking to prospects, asking them the quality questions that’ll sort the wheat from the chaff.

Don’t be afraid to ask those powerful ‘qualifying’ questions. They’re gems. Let me give you an example.  A few months ago, I went as a visitor to ‘The Gift Show a’t the NEC. It took over all of the halls there… it waqs a massive event, and stand space was at a premium. I was impressed. the stands were amazing, the show was packed, there was a buzz about the place. But…. I wasn’t a ‘customer’. I wasn’t in the market for any of the things being sold there, I was simply looking for fresh ideas…. . Now, lets be clear. I didn’t waste anyones time, I was a ‘browser’ and didn’t hide it. If asked, I made it clear that I didn’t own a gift shop, but one guy, the owner of the company, spent 15 minutes telling me all about his range of candles. He was passionate, and wanted to tell me about all of the features, smell this, hold this, let me show you the price, etc. While he was engaged with me, folk were wondering on and off his stand, being neglected, and all he’d needed to do was to ask me a simple question, “do you purchase candles’, or ‘do you own a gift shop’… anything!!!!

Get your staff focussed. Use the promotional gifts to qualify OUT those that are not potential customers.

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