What’s your take on trade shows? Some dealers think they’re a waste and avoid them entirely. Others question the value but exhibit anyway and then walk away wondering if it was worth the effort and cost.

A few, however, consistently get more from trade show appearances – and their booths always seem to be packed.

Want to join them? Here are 10 tips to help you increase return on your trade show investment.

  1. Be choosy. It’s better to concentrate your resources on one or two trade shows, rather than spread yourself too thin trying to attend everything. Keep in mind that big shows aren’t necessarily best – a smaller show targeted at a well-defined market segment can generate better results
  2. Know why you’re there. Simple, but a key step many businesses overlook. Are you looking for new leads? Showing off a new line? Nurturing relationships? Whatever your reasons, get clear on them so you can devote your limited resources to getting results
  3. Come prepared with a system for tracking performance. Another simple step that many trade show exhibitors just don’t take. It doesn’t have to be complicated – a notebook or spreadsheet is fine
  4. Hold a giveaway with your swag budget. Logo pens, travel mugs, t-shirts and other swag may tempt visitors to swing by your booth, but they tend to leave a cheap, short-lived impression you may want to avoid. A premium giveaway aligned with your brand can be a more effective use of your resources
  5. Promote show-only specials in advance. These days, that promotion will usually take the form of emails and social media posts. No-cost or reduced price accessories are effective, as is partnering with your financing company to offer a show promotion, such as no payments for 120 days or a special low rate just for your visitors
  6. Don’t necessarily shy away from big, flashy neighbors. They draw a lot of traffic and as long as they’re not direct competitors, it’s a chance for you to get in front of more visitors than you might otherwise
  7. Don’t hide behind your table. Get out there and say “hi” to passersby. Strike up a conversation. Mention your giveaway. While you certainly don’t want to be overbearing and pushy, a warm and inviting atmosphere and attitude encourage visitors to stop and stick around for awhile
  8. Be ready to make a sale. If you’ve got visitors who are ready to buy on the spot, don’t make them wait until you’re back in the office. Have everything you need to complete the deal right there on the trade show floor, including the ability to set up delivery, installation, financing and anything else related to the sale
  9. Follow up promptly. Don’t wait to get back in touch with visitors out of fear you’re badgering them. Fan the flames of their interest in you while you’re still fresh in their minds. Every day you wait is a day another dealer can shoulder in
  10. Analyze your performance. Take some time after the show to evaluate what you did well and what you can do better at your next show

With the right approach, trade shows can be a valuable part of your lead generation, nurturing and sales efforts. Put these tips to work and get more from your next trade show appearance.

Want to boost visitor interest and urgency with a special show-only financing promotion? Get in touch – your LEAF Account Champion will be happy to help with an attractive offer just for your trade show visitors.