I am thrilled at the opportunity to be able to showcase my business, Ignite Leadership International® at the Burnaby Board of Trade’s Showcase & Expo on May 25, 2017 from 2:30 – 6:30 pm.
This showcase includes over 50 B2B exibitors, over 500 attendees to network with, and an oppotunity to particiate in three new seminars.
Why is it important to showcase your business?
As a small business, one of the major stumbling blocks to growing your business is lack of awareness by potential clients. People can’t do business with you if they don’t know you exist. Imagine that!!
When you participate in a trade show event, or have a display table at a seminar or community event, you open up the doors and let people know you are in the marketplace. You never know who may walk by your booth or display and recognize how you can solve their problem.
What is your goal in participating?
I was in the unfortunate position of having to step away from my business for almost 8 months, Despite several attempts to return earlier, I was unable to speed my return. As such, my client base dried up when exisiting projects came to a conclusion during my absence. Although I faced a huge obstacle in rebuilding my business after this break, I was confident building new relationships and reconnecting with prior clients and colleagues would help fast track the process.
Making a connection with as many business leaders as I can and sharing a bit of what I do became the focus of my efforts. Notice, my goal for the showcase is not to sell. Why? Because people want to business with people they know, like and trust. The showcase is exactly that. An opportunity to tell the 500+ attendees what is going on in my business world and what solution(s) I have to offer.
Create a Theme or Focus
Most businesses have a wide range of products and services they offer to customers. It is difficult to try and sell to everyone. Find out what kind of people will be attending the show and create a theme or focus that will appeal to a majority of those attending. You goal is to attract as many people to your booth as possible so you have an opportunity to make a great impression. If you don’t narrow your focus, you may look too scattered and they may rule you out!
Have other materials not on display for other areas of your business to share if needed — better yet, get their card and offer to send the information by tomorrow.
Once you know your goal, what next?
Conversation is King!
During the showcase itself, it is important to have knowledgable personnel in attendance at your booth
or display table at all times during the trade show, or when display tables are open. You want to try to engage as many people as you can in short, inquiry style conversations. You want to learn as much as you can about them. Ask for their business card for a draw and record a few details about them on the card to help you in the follow-up after the show. Remember, at the show, you are the star and should shine!
Collateral has a supporting role!
It is important to have some collateral for you to share with attendees – flyers, rack cards, etc. I usually also have a calendar that allows me, and those helping in my booth, to book meetings (in person or phone) on the spot, where I know I have time available. Booking an appointment while you are front of mind with your potential customer helps you move along the know, like and trust scale faster.
If you have a book or another small item people can purchase at the show that supports your theme/focus, by all means offer it for sale. Have lots of change in a cash box or use a web-based payment app to accept payments quickly and easily. Have someone available to process these transactions for you so you can focus on your staring role!
Don’t overlook other Exhibitors
It is important to interact with other exhibitors during slower times of the show. This offers two benefits. One, you can introduce yourself and your business – give them your business card. Secondly, you can learn about them and what they do, and obtain their business card. Look for opportunities to help each other. Do you have a similar target client? Do you have products/services which could align nicely and help both of you grow business?
Leaders Measure Results
After each tradeshow, determine how much collateral was used, how many business cards you received in your draw, how many are good leads, and how many did you move along your sales funnel process? What was your return on investment?
The Follow-Up Rules
Like every staring role, its what comes next that can make or break the outcome! If you have collected a number of business cards or booked appointments, respond to every person within 24 hours or less! Yes, I said 24 hours or less! Have something new to share them. I frequently use an e-book or my chapter in “The Winning Way” or a recent article, tool or resource that reponds to the theme shared in my booth.
Once you have made that initial follow-up contact, continue to work your sales funnel system to build a trusting relationship and hopefully move them from potential customer to current customer!