Trade Shows – The Companies You Dream About Doing Business With – Stop Dreaming, Start Selling!

Just about every business owner will know the names of the dream companies that they would love their company to be doing business with.

These are companies who if they place an order can have a transformational impact on a business.

I call them the “High 5” wins. These are the orders that the owner’s sales team live to achieve and will celebrate mightily over when they win their first piece of business however small from one of these prospective giants.

In all of the years that I sold exhibition space to trade show exhibitors, I was never once asked by an exhibitor if any of these particular companies attended the show that I was selling and yet, I was in all modesty, hugely successful at my job.

The reason I was so successful was that I always asked who those “High 5” companies were for each of my clients. When I was able to show would-be exhibitors the people that attended our show from their dream businesses and others very like them, I always made a sale.

And when I say show them, I mean I highlighted the names of people, their job titles, the number of individuals attending from each company. I showed them to be real living and breathing people.

People that could be reached, could be pitched and could perhaps be sold to if the two parties were able to get together at the show.

Which brings me to the importance of pre-show marketing and a curious mindset among some exhibitors.

Trade Shows Hatch New Beings

If I told you that trade show organisers hatch completely new beings to be their visitors in advance of every show they run, you would wonder what I was talking about and yet, many exhibitors would appear to hold this belief.

They aren’t thinking clearly about how to use events to enhance and develop their list of prospective customers especially when it relates to those businesses that they are already communicating with.

They don’t see the value in alerting people within companies that they want to be doing business with to their presence at an upcoming exhibition or see that some of those same people might well be planning to attend.

When this is the case, it highlights a disconnect between ongoing marketing ambitions as laid out in a marketing plan versus a company’s trade show activities. Sometimes the two things seem to be only very loosely connected and this must be the reason why some exhibiting businesses undertake so little promotion in advance of a show.

The reasons most commonly given for this lack of pre-show activity are;

“That’s the organiser’s job” or more commonly “we just didn’t think it was necessary – we will be meeting lots of people at the show.”

Yes, you will meet people but you don’t have to wait until the show to be talking to many of those “brand-new” specimens. They have already been hatched. They are already out there in the world and that includes those mystical “High 5’s” you’ve been dreaming about.

Your Prospects Are The Show’s Prospects Too

A trade show is a platform, a platform that through the activities of the organiser generates a huge amount of publicity in advance of the event’s opening.

Organisers invest heavily to attract the best possible attendance to their events because the attendance is their product.

Pre-show messages from organisers to the marketplace can be both indirect or direct in nature.

Indirect messaging is designed to create awareness of the show, to highlight themes and reasons for visitors to attend. Direct invitations are issued when organisers contact their database of past visitors and people who enquired about attending previously (many direct invitations will also be issued by your fellow exhibitors at the show).

Given all of the activity highlighted above, if you don’t undertake any kind of pre-show promotion about your presence at an exhibition; alerting current clients; prospective clients; people from businesses that have recently asked your company to quote or to send them samples etc… then you are missing a big opportunity to set-up meetings and interactions at the show.

People (businesses) will be attending and people from the companies that you most want to meet and sell to may well be there too. Let them know that you will be there and why it’s in their best interest to visit your stand.

What Is My Client Doing On Their Stand?

Over the years, I’ve had conversations during shows with exhibitors who have expressed shock and dismay because they have seen a client (or clients) on a competitor’s stand or they have seen people from known, new business leads, walking the halls with neither group having been invited to the show by the dismayed exhibitor.

When you take part in a trade show, you will certainly meet people and businesses that your company has never met or dealt with before, this is one of the massive attractions of shows when it comes to developing new business.

But you will also have the opportunity and more importantly, an excellent reason to contact your current clients, your dormant clients, your hot prospects, your slower-burn leads, your would-be distributors, those friendly journalists and the many other people that you have already invested time and money in with a view to making them interested in some way in your business.

This is such a straightforward piece of trade show marketing, but it is so often overlooked and neglected and it will cost you sales if you don’t take the opportunity to alert people to your presence.

Trade Shows And Databases

If you are a brand new company just entering a market, then a trade show is going to be great for helping you build a database of prospective and confirmed clients.

I know and have known many exhibitors who use trade shows as the only form of marketing to build their enterprises.

For them, trade shows are the only form of marketing activity that their company undertakes (other than their website). They have never advertised, never run email or telemarketing campaigns, have done very little with social media but their businesses have thrived none the less.

If you have been trading for some years and you already have an extensive list of clients and prospects on a CRM system, then the names and details that you collect at a trade show will help keep your database up to date.

People move jobs and join other companies or they get promoted so job titles change. They may move locations or get married; their companies may acquire others… all these things can affect the data you hold and this information is what you rely on to develop sales.

The Most Active & Interested Companies Attend Trade Shows

Contrary to belief in some quarters, trade show organisers do not hatch new people for their events, but what they do very effectively, is attract the most active and interested specifiers in a market to their shows.

Anyone who makes the effort to travel to a show is telling you that they are on the hunt for something or someone that will solve a problem for them or help their business to grow or develop in some way. They are interested in finding solutions. They are in a buying frame of mind.

And many of these active and interested people will be the very same people that your business markets to throughout the year. They will be people and businesses that are on your sales database or CRM system. They will be from enterprises that you would like to know more about and that you would like to be talking to including your “High 5’s.”

They are real people. They can be reached. They can be sold to. So, stop dreaming and start selling.

Can Online Customization Revive the Greeting Card Industry?

Do you recall the time when Greeting Cards used to be the answer to everything? People used to rely on cards to wish their dear ones be it birthday, new year, festival, or for any other reasons like saying sorry, thank you, get well soon, etc. It almost seems like a bygone era now. With the rise of internet and e-greetings, paper based greeting card industry is on a decline and almost dead.

But the good news is it can be revived. With a little effort and ingenuity, paper based greeting cards can thrive even in this internet age. The question is how?

Since internet is the reason why paper based cards have declined over the years, it can be the very medium to revive it as well. On the condition that it has to be more user friendly and creative than it ever was. Only then can it again find a place of preference like it used to a decade or so ago.

All of the above can be done through personalization.

Customers love personalized goodies because of reasons more than one. One of the important reasons is that they are sending gifts by ordering them directly from the internet and when they can add a touch of personalization to it, it feels nice. Same can be done to the paper based greeting cards as well.

Let’s understand why greeting card personalization is a good idea.

It’s creative

Paper are more creative and customization will work as a cherry on top. Customization lets the customers design their own cards. They can use their own graphics that makes it more interesting. A greeting card with pictures and text you can relate to is definitely more preferable and customization makes it possible to get the exact thing one is looking for.

Easily Accessible

Web-to-print or online selling of customized greeting cards save the customer’s effort and time which it takes to visit a greeting card store and search for the card they want. Posting it to the concerned person is another task to do. E-commerce eliminates all the efforts by letting the customer order and send cards within a few clicks. Printers can use an effective web-to-print tool to facilitate the selling of cards online.

Cost effective

As stated earlier, people love customized things and it goes without saying that cost of the product always matter to the customer. If someone wants to send over a personalized gift to someone, what can be more cost-effective than a paper based greeting card? While other customized products are costlier, the affordability of these cards can helps in its revival.

Make tangible gifts

The biggest advantage of paper based cards over e-greetings is that paper based greeting cards are tangible. While e-greetings get lost in the lists of mails, paper based cards are more thoughtful and psychologically more thoughtful. E-greetings are preferred because you can edit it and make it special for the receiver, if paper based cards are offered with the same line of thought, it can make a grand comeback.

5 Ideas You Can Use To Promote Your Brand Effectively

One of the 3 “Ps” of authority brand positioning is Promotion, which involves deciding what messages to use to support your brand as well as how those messages will be delivered. Promoting your brand involves creating awareness, influencing the perception of your brand, and managing its reputation. Promoting your brand also includes using the Personality you develop to enhance your promotional activities. Promoting your brand should emphasize and reinforce the brand image you choose to represent your business. When you are considering broader marketing activities, you want to make sure they are consistent with the image you want to portray.

Here are 5 ideas you can use to promote your brand effectively.

1. Don’t just “sell” — TELL. Fancy promotional copy won’t be as effective as examples, testimonials, endorsements, case studies and results. Wrap your fancy promotional copy around real results to put your brand face forward in its best light.

2. Connect your brand to your customers’ wants and needs. Use checklists to help your customers determine if they are being served effectively. Infographics, blog posts and videos can help deliver education to help both customers and prospects learn more about how your brand can help them.

3. Build partnerships to help build trust with both customers and prospects. Partnerships that link your brand to another quality brand can build trust faster and elevate the perception of your brand.

4. Brand promotion should be “gR.R.R.eat,” and “gR.R.R.eat” promotion does 3 things:

  • It should help your customers and prospects Recognize your business through your brand. Use logos, graphics, taglines, and creative marketing tactics to create awareness so your brand is recognized and stands out in a crowded marketplace.
  • It should help your customers and prospects Remember your business through your brand. Continue to use logos, graphics, taglines, and creative marketing tactics to reinforce your presence in the marketplace.
  • It should stand for the Respect you share with your customers and prospects. A highly trusted brand reputation is an extremely valuable competitive edge, and maintaining a strong reputation should be the goal of your brand promotion and messaging.

5. Consist communication in brand promotion is key to brand momentum. Communication goes beyond your promotional messaging; it also encompasses “little things,” like how your telephone gets answered, how the business responds to customer complaints, and how the brand’s image is managed on social media. Create a brand promotion plan, update it regularly, and follow it religiously.

Jan Sandhouse Hurst, the Authority Mentor, shows business owners, service professionals, entrepreneurs and experts how to use her signature marketing formulas to attract more clients, generate profitable leads and create killer authority positioning. Jan has taught hundreds of individuals and businesses her creative strategies, systems and solutions that pay off.