Most Malaysian businesses that exhibit at trade shows do very little to set themselves up for success. That’s because, shockingly enough, they don’t know what success looks like.
They’re too used to the idea that trade show organisers sell them on — that if you build a booth at the show, buyers will come. That trade shows offer opportunities to create awareness for brand exposure and product exposure. So exhibitors don’t do the necessary preparatory work.
Trade shows are far more than that. The most successful trade show exhibitors do the leg work to set up meetings during the trade show with businesses in the vicinity! Here are the steps to get started.
1. Create A Contact Database
Start by mining your leads that your sales team have built up over the years. Look for businesses in the same city as the trade show. Segment them by the ones that look most similar to your existing customers. Those will likely be the ones who will most likely buy your product.
That shouldn’t be all you do. Start building a list of potential customers in the same city by using Google, Linkedin, Owler or association databases. Create a tier of prospects, prioritising the ones who will most likely buy.
After that, build a contact database of people in each prospect company whom you will need to reach out to. It won’t just be the CEO, the GM, and the CFO. It should also include the head of departments whom your team will work closely with and need their buy-in to achieve a successful sale.
2. Contact the Prospects to Set Up a Meeting
You can email them and just say, “Hey, we’ll be in town at the trade show. If you have an opening, we’d love to show you what we can do for your company and for you!”
But of course that’s not enough to get someone who drive all the way to the trade show. So you need to offer incentives, real incentives, not just a bag of goodies. Try offering discounts on your product or value-added incentives including extra services or free delivery for a month. You can even offer to host them for a dinner or breakfast meeting at a great restaurant.
Whatever you offer them, make sure you don’t waste their time. This meeting should not just be any kind of show-and-tell. You need to be able to prove that you will be a good partner just for them and help them visualise business and personal success with you.
3. Keep Following Up to Confirm the Meeting
Don’t worry if your prospects don’t bite immediately. Many will wait till the last minute before confirming a meeting. The most important thing is to keep following up and add more incentives if you can.
If nothing else works, you can go beyond emails with direct mail packages with gifts to flatter the prospect. Gifts often obligate someone to respond. Do whatever it takes to confirm that meeting.
You can even use social media ads to hyper target prospects. Yes, digital ads these days can be used to target individuals or anyone working at the prospect company.
Hire Experienced B2B Marketers to Help You
It’s no easy task to create marketing plans around trade shows, especially when you’re doing it for the first time. Luckily for you, my team of B2B marketers are very experienced at planning and executing marketing programs for trade show exhibitors. We can help you research and build a prospect list, help you create emails, automate them with multi-touch responses, create digital ads and target them, as well a design a booth and onsite marketing materials. Contact me today and let’s start planning your marketing future.