Most of us had expected to exhibit at or attend a handful of events or trade shows this year. With the current state of what COVID-19 has done to the quarantined United States, it seems to have turned what many people have thought was a successful and easy sales enablement world on its head. Over the past few years, live events and trade shows have exploded as an opportunity to meet prospects, close deals, introduce new products and build brand recognition. Even when work resumes at offices, large gatherings like trade shows will remain mostly on hold for a while. One of the hardest things to realize is what is it going to take to keep sales moving forward and how do you arm your teams with sales enablement tools to progress?
After recently attending the ConExpo/ConAgg 2020 Trade Show in Las Vegas when this whole pandemic erupted, it seemed like nothing could stop the economy. Over 120,000 people of the biggest names in manufacturing and heavy machinery were putting their best foot forward at a show that only happens once every three years. By day 5, it was drawn to a halt. It’s scary to try to think about what would happen to businesses and the economy if these shows didn’t happen.
Fortunately, much of the budgets that were used for these large expos will remain in the pockets of corporations ready to be spent elsewhere. Now don’t get us wrong, it’s just not the same as rubbing shoulders and shaking hands in a face-to-face setting but the opportunity is still there. Creating a virtual trade show environment allows new and existing buyers to experience your entire product line. Whether on an interactive virtual meeting, a standard one-on-one call or buyers skimming through your website, the resources and time necessary to present your company as cutting-edge needs to be used wisely. Even if budgets are tight now, you can take a small percentage of what was set to be spent and still deliver a “trade show” experience.
Next, traditional trade show investment typically has a very short lifespan. Most shows are a couple of days, with actual trade show floor time even more limited. Trade show costs to exhibit can run between $10,000 and $100,000 just for labor, travel, entertainment, swag and more. Now you can have your trade show virtual solution armed and ready to present 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
How many shows have you exhibited where you’re not sure about the ROI from the show because the leads you collected or the people you talked to weren’t collected correctly? How about the sketchy follow-up on leads generated at the show? Were you always sure the reps followed up as designed? Probably not.
GET THEM ACROSS THE CARPET LINE
Similar to a trade show, getting potential buyers across the aisle carpet to the carpet in your booth is a daunting task. Get your people “in the booth”. Let your attendees know the hours the booth will be “manned”, offer webinars as part of the outreach experience, give the opportunity to people to fill out a survey for free collateral or a gift card. The most important thing in these times is getting your company outreach out to the masses.
Let’s take the webinar approach for example. The “booth” (your available outreach) will be manned from 9 a.m. to noon on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Each day at 11am you’ll be hosting a webinar with subject matter experts and allow clients to talk about how their business is going, the ups and downs and what could use improvement. Give them a reason they can’t refuse to join and see you at your virtual trade show booth. This should be an offer to get something. It can be exclusive content, discounts or free add-on services.
CHANGE THE GAME PLAN
Some people don’t want a big group setting. They like the one-on-one experience where they can get the attention they deserve. If people want to schedule a meeting for a later day, schedule away. Back when business was done on a golf course or in a coffee shop, it’s easy to remember that a “virtual handshake” deal can be done from anywhere. Simply pick a time to meet when it’s convenient, BOOM it’s scheduled.
Most importantly, remember that you’re always here to help. Nothing is better than listening to a buyer, addressing their interests and concerns and planning for another step in the right direction.
SAVE A TREE
Well, it was only a matter of time before we brought up the reduction in printing costs. With standard trade shows being on hold, the need for print is pretty much obsolete for the time being. Who wants to take the time to log, send and consolidate the contact names and addresses to send brochures or spec sheets that will most likely be thrown in the trash? With your virtual trade show experience, you can send digital copies of your product information immediately. The best part is knowing specifically what you sent to your buyer so you know what to follow up on rather than addressing the entire product offering. See, isn’t it kind of refreshing to “go green” and do business all in one step?
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You can’t give up hope or “lose the ship” as some say. Times are extremely challenging, and the businesses that will grow are the ones that think outside of the box. Did you lose your entire trade show season? You can still generate leads from events and outreach. To help find out how, contact us today for a free demo.