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American Meetings, Inc. An AMI Global Company

Trade Show Management

Organizing your company's Tradeshow Strategy can be time consuming and expensive. Management in this area of planning includes the development, design and management of all areas of booth execution as well as events surrounding an industry show. These may include booth personnel, marketing, promotional item acquisition, creative services, content management and ancillary events. At AMI, we assist our clients with all areas of Convention, Congress & Tradeshow Management.

Your Congress, Convention & Tradeshow Strategy

When developing your plan consider two areas to focus on the attendee experience at your booth and your overall prospecting goals. Remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression and once you make that positive impression at the tradeshow, it's important to capture the lead.  Here are some tips to consider when you develop your overall tradeshow Strategy:

What to do in the pre-planning phase:

  • Plan as far out in advance. The premium floor space is always the first to go.
  • Submit Your application
  • Choose your Booth Space
  • Contract an event management firm to assist with the logistics (like AMI!)

When you arrive at the show, make initial contact with show management:

  • Pick up the show exhibitors' information packet
  • Confirm booth location
  • Confirm the arrival of show materials
  • Review any required set up procedures
  • Confirm that requested services have been delivered
  • Review the calendar of events
  • Discuss any special security notices
  • Potentially schedule PA announcements for giveaway drawings
  • Review breakdown and ship out procedures

Be prepared with sales tools and tracking tools

Check to be sure you have the following materials:

  • Personal business cards
  • "Show Special" Flyers
  • Giveaways
  • Drawing supplies

Elongating your strategy

Consider the following tools to elongate your strategy while at your Congress, Convention or Tradeshow

  • Establish a War Room for all of your attendees to strategize and use for private meetings
  • Organize meals and breaks with current clients and potential leads to maximize your time
  • Guerilla Market. Use areas outside the tradeshow hall to have an impact (i.e. Hire Canvassers to pass out flyers, buy a billboard off the exit to the convention center…you get the idea)

QUICK presentation prepared and practiced

The QUICK presentation is the cornerstone of the trade show sales presentation. The QUICK system consists of:

  • Qualify - To qualify the prospect, ask some critical initial questions. Begin with a 20 second description of the offering and then start the probes. What organization are you with? What is your role with that organization?
  • Understand and Identify - To understand and identify the prospects' needs, ask additional questions. How are you currently……? What is your process for …….? How much time do you spend ……..?
  • Create an action plan - To create an action plan, ask more questions. e.g. Should we arrange some time immediately after (or during) the show to arrange a meeting?
  • Kick 'em out - When you Kick `em out, utilize:
    • The second handshake
    • Confirmation of the next step
    • The going away gift or drawing entry
    • The hand off to your teammate for termination

Tracking

Congress, Conventions & Tradeshows may provide a method of recording visitors (potential prospects): magnetic cards or imprint cards. If there is not a system to track your leads, use business cards!

  • Magnetic cards: Some shows provide guests with individual cards with magnetic strips on them. These cards are then "swiped" at the booth. Visitor data is captured and recorded at this point. When available, these leads should be rated during input.
  • Imprint cards: Some shows provide guests with individual cards similar to credit cards that are processed onto lead sheets at the booth. Scored leads at the time of imprinting.
  • Business Cards: In the absence of personalized card systems, rate prospects on the business cards using the numeric rating scale. Record number on the front of the card.

Follow up

Billions of dollars is spent each year at congresses, conventions and tradeshows, yet leads are left unattended to. Don't forget, the real sales call, comes after the show. When you return to your office:

  • Copy the rated business cards (or scan and send back to the office before the show ends)
  • Put your name on each sheet
  • Send the copies to Marketing (or your administrative support)
  • Send a supply of your business cards to include in the letters
  • Marketing (or your administrative support) will send follow up letters to sales leads immediately following receipt of leads. The type of letter will be determined by the rating on each of the leads. Once the letters are sent, record a date and time, to place a follow-up call, usually no more than one week later.

Final Evaluation

Congress, Conventions and Tradeshows are a huge investment. It's critical to evaluate the show and communicate the results to your manager.

  • Was the show well attended?
  • Did the right people attend (your prospects)?
  • Was the show well organized?
  • Did you have enough collateral and giveaways?
  • Were you able to attract visitors to the booth? Why or why not?
  • Did you get qualified leads?
  • Did your leads result in closed sales?

Prepare with these valuable tips and you will be guaranteed to have a successful congress, convention or tradeshow. If you need assistance planning your overall strategy, contact AMI toll free at (866) 337-7799 or bd@americanmeetings.com

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