10 ways to Maximise your ROI at PPExpo 2017

Written by our guest Blogger John Heffernan from Red Live Media.

 

For many attendees at #exhibitions one word spreads fear and dread; Networking.

Yet for most exhibitors, that is generally the core reason to attend in the first place!h

Businesses exhibit to promote their products and services, to meet new clients, to engage with current and past clients. Networking.

Exhibition visitors attend to research, to discover, to engage. Networking.

Networking is not a core skill either trained or coached yet it is simply expected.

Not all exhibition stand staff are created equal!

Marketing, technical and sales teams will network with a very different approach and although Networking is encouraged, it is frequently, not delivered as a process.

I am always reminded of attending a major digital marketing event when passing a stand, I was greeted with the fantastic opening; “Are you looking for something digital?”

Really?? Closed question. No thanks. Keep walking.

Worse still, the impact on that business brand reputation was an immediate nose-dive into oblivion.

So how do exhibitors ensure they promote their brand, products & services and maximise the often huge investment in time, travel and expertise?

1. Have a plan!

a) Train & coach all attending staff (including senior & management staff) with the basics; Keep the stand tidy, professional and welcoming (slouched in a chair is not the image of a professional business)

b) Worse still, don’t get caught eating at the stand!

c) Remember, discussing lasts nights hotel session may not be the highlight of the stand visitors day.

d) Put the phone down! How can you talk to stand visitors if you are on your phone!

e) Have a “lift-pitch” coordinated for all staff to provide a continuity message of who you are and why you are there – BUT keep it short – they are more interested in what you can do for them (what problems you can solve and how) than they are about the history of your business.

f) Have a coordinated “fact-find”; questions you can ask to provide specific responses or route the visitor to the most appropriate team member.

g) Plan how you manage stand time, comfort breaks, lunch, which seminars / keynotes you need to attend, who goes and how do they feed back to the team.

h) Plan your target audience and how to recognise the potential sale from the tyre kicker!

2. Prepare FAQ’s

Have a Stand ‘answer plan’ to show continuity.

What are the most common client questions, how do you answer and how to move FAQ’s about you to a fact-find about them; what are they looking for, what problem, issue, deadline do they need to address and how can you assist.

This is an excellent exercise in truly identifying your USP and reason to be there!

3. Be recognisable

I have lost count of the exhibitions and events I have attended and stands I have seen where I haven’t got a clue what they sell, to who or why.

Even worse, when I ask, I often receive the technical ‘klingon’ that my limited brain cannot comprehend. No thanks. Keep walking. Again.

You need a clear message about your brand, your products & services and your business offer.

That could be staff ID badges with role / responsibility, printed brand shirts, promotional products / collateral, brochures, business cards and so on.

Don’t explain your technical expertise – tell me how it can help me to help my business, my clients, my partners – and you can only do that when you have completed a basic fact-find!

4. Fact Find not life story!

I was once told that all sales people have TWO ears and ONE mouth and they should listen TWICE as much as they speak! Brilliant – and the one area at which sales often fails. Badly.

The minute we meet a potential client there is a tendency to spill the beans with a diatribe of ME ME ME comments. Remember; It is about THEM not YOU!

To find out if the visitor is an interested potential buyer you need to know more about them so ASK THE QUESTIONS! If you can identify their need, problem, timelines etc your conversation will prove ultimately more beneficial, informative and successful!

5. Be Real and Interested

In the Social Media times we live in, transparency is key.

The visitor can look you up both personally and corporately on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and any discrepancies with your conversation will immediately present a barrier to future sales.

6. Use the Power of LinkedIn

We all know in business that LinkedIn is a very powerful business networking tool – and if you don’t, let me know when you land back on planet Earth. So use it!

Using your corporate profile and key staff, post an article or an update and tell your network you will be at PPExpo 2017, invite to meet (targeted appointments not random passers-by) and use the opportunity to promote or update demos, offers, new products etc.

Use LinkedIn search to identify your target market and invite them to connect and meet you there!

When you identify a potential client at your stand, we traditionally swop business cards. Great. It works.

But what if you met 20, 30, 50 people in a day and didn’t keep accurate notes or like me, your memory is not what it used to be?

Why not connect there and then on LinkedIn – put a face-to-the-name and the invitation can clearly state “we met at xxx event today and we agreed to connect to follow-up and discuss xxxx”

Increased network, clarity and memorable. Use it!

7. Use the Power of Social Media

PPExpo has a @Twitter account and will promote a specific hashtag # – so use it!

All attendees who engage will see you, your posts, your content, promotions and offers. Create your Twitter Moment!

And not just Twitter – will there be Video / YouTube or WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest…… Do your research and find out where the conversation is taking place – and be an active part of the conversation!

Be engaged – Be Visible.

8. Don’t forget the Power of eMail

eMail Marketing remains an option that frequently delivers some 40x greater impact than other digital marketing platforms.

An eMail campaign can be launched pre-event – to target your opt-in database list with invites etc and don’t forget – those NOT attending must also be offered access to the event offer, news, updates.

The latter can be a great source of new sales simply through awareness.

Collate the “fact-find” business cards you have collected and segment into the area of client interest with a follow-up email; great to meet you, delighted to provide etc as appropriate.

Simply blasting out 300+ emails to the cards you have collected will have your sales team busy for the next few weeks – and probably with very little return!

9. Arrange and Confirm actions and follow-up

Back to your exhibition plan!

When you identify a potential client who is going to follow-up? If it is not the person they met at the event – they need to be introduced, who they are, why them, how they will help.

People often BUY People first and business / product second.

If you agreed to a specific follow-up or timeline – stick to it. Make a promise and keep it.

Better still, for meetings, have a diary system on hand to book meetings there and then and the immediate follow-up is to re-confirm the meeting, meeting agenda, specific talking points and so on. That must come from the person they met!

Here we can filter the Positive-Negative! The disguised Tyre Kicker will cancel the meeting!!

You do not waste time, effort, resource, research on a time-waster.

Move on to the Positive-Positive!

10. Have a POST event plan!

Often forgotten is the real follow-up benefit of PPE exhibitions.

Get all attending staff to do a short “what worked and what didn’t” feedback piece. Ask for warts and all – it may be illuminating!

A post event plan may include a Blog about the keynote / seminars content and your comments / input OR a list of new FAQ’s you received at the Stand OR a general industry news / update your audience will be interested in.

A PR piece about your successes – new clients, demos, product promotions, keynotes etc

Social Media posts with images and hopefully some video of your stand, team, clients, audience, PPE2017 in general with accompanying thought-leadership comment piece.

Sales team data collation to discover the real ROI of attending within 1, 3, 6 or even 12 months’ post-event.

Turn your business card contacts into a research piece – post a survey, why did you attend, did you find what you were looking for, were we able to help…….

This type of survey delivers further positive brand awareness.

There is so much more that can be conducted within the rush to sales post-event but having a plan helps to create a schedule and accurate feedback for the one pressing decision;

Do you book again next year?

I see so many business spend fortunes on Stands, Teams, Print Collateral; Brochures, Flyers, Promotional Products and more, never mind the resource time, travel and business disruption, yet many fail. Fail to plan. Fail to co-ordinate. Fail Fail Fail.

To maximise your ROI – you need to Plan. Digital & Traditional, pre-event, at the event and post-event. Guarantee of success. No.

Giving you maximum opportunity to succeed. Definitely.

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