Top 10 tips for participating at a trade show
Tradeshows are platforms that allow you to meet with key contacts within the industry and develop relationships in a face to face manner.
Throughout the year you can avail of attending international tradeshows (E.g. ITB, IFTM, Fill Your Heart with Ireland, WTM) and local tradeshows (Meet the Buyer, GB & ROI Coach & Group Operators Workshop and ITOA).
To make your attendance worthwhile, it is vital that you make time to plan what is needed to be done before, during and after the tradeshow.
1. Set goals on what you want from the tradeshow/each appointment
This could be reconnecting with existing contacts, developing new contacts, reconnecting with industry peers or gathering specific information
2. Set up additional sales calls
Key contacts may not have availability to meet with you so are often happy to meet in the days before or after the show. Alternatively, contacts may not be attending the tradeshow but may have offices in the area. This gives you the chance to visit their offices and have more time with them – bringing a gift is always a nice touch!
3. Prepare in advance
Ensure you know you are prepared with key questions you want to ask and that you expect to be asked. Set up the right appointments, research those that you are meeting and make contact in advance with your appointments.
4. First impression is important
You do not get a second chance to create a first impression and it can often dictate how the meeting will progress. Greet them with an appropriate handshake and have brief informal introduction. Be relaxed (but not too relaxed!), smile, maintain open body language, remain interested throughout and remember you are always representing your company.
5. Open with a positioning statement
This is a short explanation in which you can effectively present your credentials so as let them see you are professional and knowledgeable. Practice a short 30 second pitch outlining your position in the company and the reason that you wanted to meet them. Keep this clear, concise and deliver in a confident tone to give the meeting a good opening.
6. Ask great questions
It is vitally important to ask relevant questions. You may only have 10 minutes so ensure that you get across what you want in the time allocated. Good questions will control the flow of conversation and allow you both to find out where there is a match. You can also uncover further selling opportunities through a measured probing question. Remember to have different questions for your different appointments, especially if you have met them before and you want to keep the conversation fresh and relevant.
7. Have an engaging presentation
Decide whether you want to use an Ipad or printed slides whilst presenting your business. Keep it short and simple with focus on visuals and videos rather too many bullet points. Concentrate on their needs with relevant information and ensure that it engages them to want to discover more.
8. Dealing with objections
Always listen attentively to any concerns or objections raised during the meeting. Follow up with a question for clarification so you can give a measured response. It is important that you show understanding to their concerns and that you want to actively provide a solution. It may be helpful to prepare beforehand with what the potential objections might be regarding (Price etc). Ensure that you note what was raised and that it is addressed again in the follow up.
9. Engage with other trade at the stand
An overlooked action is engaging with other trade on the stand. Some of the most helpful insights and answers you will get will be from the industry around you. You will find that they may have more experience at being at that specific tradeshow or that they can share information on a certain market or the industry in general. They may have valuable feedback on a contact that you didn’t have the opportunity to meet. You can also build close relationships that are helpful when planning for shows in the future.
10. Follow up
Close the meeting with confidence and summarise actions that need to be taken following. It is normal to return to office with additional emails waiting for you however it is vital to block out time to follow up with everyone you met. Personalise your responses and ensure issues discussed are a