Think this is too bold a claim? Well think again!
Imagine if you will, a world where hundreds or even thousands of potential clients COME TO YOU, and all your sales staff have to do is show up to demonstrate your products and services and gather business cards like manna from heaven. That’s right, let your imagination run rampant for a moment and picture with me this fairytale land of milk and honey. A place where lead generation is so blissfully simple, that it’s harder to not find an interested buyer than it is to actually find one.
Sound too good to be true? Well it’s not…
Dollar for dollar, trade shows offer the best value for money of any face to face marketing tool available, and help build product and brand awareness that lingers long after the show is over.
When the ‘Big 4’ consultancy firm, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, was commissioned by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) in the US to study trade shows, they reported:
- That companies allocate more of their marketing budget to exhibiting in trade shows than any other promotional or marketing tool (save personal selling).
- That ninety-one percent (91%) of senior business decision makers consider trade shows "very useful" sources of purchasing information.
- That trade shows ranked first for purchasing information among the 13 main face to face sales and marketing tools available.
- That eighty-five percent (85%) of visitors at trade shows are buyers of one or more products exhibited.
- That closing a sale that begins with a trade show contact is nearly half the cost of closing a sale initiated elsewhere ($550 and 1.4 sales calls compared to $997 and 3.6 sales calls).
Trade shows are designed to let businesses meet potential customers in a friendly, face-to-face environment, over a finite period of time. They work because they allow the whole selling process - attention, persuasion, desire and purchasing – to be compressed into a single activity. And, unlike a ‘Consumer Show’ (where anyone can visit the show by just walking in off the street) trade shows attract only business professionals. So your sales force can feel confident that the person they’re speaking to is in fact a ‘qualified lead’, simply by virtue of their being at the trade show and standing in front of your stand and handing over their business card.
It’s also worth remembering that trade shows are a great ‘leveller’ of companies, both large and small, and that not everybody needs to break the bank with a ‘Bigger than Ben Hur’ exhibition stand to get visitors’ attention. Often something as simple as well designed banners, stand-out company literature and a smiling sales person are all you need to entice the passing crowd to stop at your trade show booth.
And from there of course it’s up to your sales staff to weave their magic!
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