How much time and money does your firm waste on exhibition stands? I am not opposed to the concept of trade shows or exhibiting at conferences, I just don’t think enough thought goes into what you’re going to get back in terms of ROI (the return on your investment) or analysing what exhibitions generate versus your other BD initiatives.
Over the last 30 years I have been to many events as an exhibitor, a speaker, a sponsor and a visitor. Here are 5 things I‘ve learnt:
# Before committing to an event, challenge the organiser about the precise profile and expected number of attendees. Names of companies is not enough, will you have contact with decision makers or just administrators and sales reps?
# Do you really need a stand? If you are convinced you do, focus on getting a prime location (close to coffee and toilets!) so you can start conversations. And starting those conversations will involve more than just standing behind boiled sweets, mouse mats and brochures!
# Getting a decent ROI will be down to the quality of your follow up. This means capturing client details accurately at the event … and if you get Hotmail addresses, an alarm bell should ring!
# Tell your (current and lapsed) clients and contacts/referrers you’ll be there and invite them for a coffee or something stronger while you are.
# If there is a conference programme, use the talks to give you ideas for new content and share those with your network to underline you have your finger on the pulse.