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How to Conduct the Perfect Trade Show

Trade shows are the Super Bowl of the sales industry. With almost 60 years of experience, Langenfeld takes pride in being a market leader for trade show performance. Our teams are equipped and ready to represent brands at trade shows across the U.S. Conducting a perfect trade show means filling in the gaps before, during, and after the show. Below we walk through some of our “tried and true” methods.

Prep

Review

Reflecting on and reviewing what you did last year at the trade show will help you improve the upcoming show. Review all aspects of the trade show. This can be deals and promos, physical displays, employee comments, attendee comments, and order history. Use Salesforce to record all trade show information, including orders, and use that data to make future shows even better. Work with the customers and clients to put together a “complete” show program giving your stores many different options to buy at aggressive discounts.

Target show deals

Work with sales managers and buyers to get product placed in key buying areas for the entire show. As you prepare the show deals you want to submit, it is important that you look at each avenue (sneak peeks, WOWs, Red Hot Deals, pallet deals, etc.) offered to make sure that you are utilizing each one effectively. Some of the offerings are only available at shows while others are available to stores even if they are unable to attend the shows. It’s important that you participate strategically in order to capture the biggest audience, maximize your investment of being at the show, and driving sales and placement.

Reach out to stores

Build communication with these stores early on before the trade show and share the deals, planograms, new items, etc., which will be offered. We use a “three-prong” approach to reach out to the stores. We utilize our call center, field sales teams, and Pardot (email campaign). We develop specific and concise materials to use for each method of communication whether it’s by phone, email, or in person via a store visit or meeting.

Reach out to stores using the following assets:

  • Client specific stores lists
  • High volume store lists
  • Stores that have previously placed orders
  • Email campaigns
  • Field sales team
  • National account managers

Perform

Train the team

It’s important to have confident, knowledgeable employees working your booth (if not yourself) rather than hiring temps. EAL has a professional, salaried sales team working booths because we know these people have been trained on the products and will stay engaged with the retailers and maximize sales efforts. It is helpful to have multiple training schedules for current and new clients and train buyers who are new to or need refreshers on the products.

DIY demos

People enjoy hands-on demos with the products. It gives them confidence in the products’ functions and provides knowledge of the details to share with customers. It’s an easy way to show the products in action. Store owners and associates take that information they learned back to their stores. People sell what they know and are comfortable with!

Open & inviting booth

In theory, if there wasn’t a human in our booth, the booth should be able to sell itself. Every booth should have deals that are clearly marked and easy to read. Get rid of any mess or clutter in the booths. It’s common in other booths to see personal belongings or extra products in the space, and this reflects a messy image onto the brand and employee in the booth. If your booth looks like you don’t care, then the retailers won’t care. Keep your booth inviting by greeting retailers walking down the aisle. A simple greeting can go a long way as it will instantly make the retailers feel more comfortable.

Pursue

Follow-up

Track in Salesforce and follow up on leads that did not order. You want to be persistent and give that retailer another chance to place orders. Send out any literature the customer asked for such as product pricing and specs. It’s also important to follow up with stores that already placed orders or stores that were not able to attend the show. Following up with stores will show them how important they are to you. They simply may have forgotten to stop by and/or order. While these stores might not be able to take advantage of all deals available at the show, we are still able to present what’s still available and secure additional orders.  This will also allow us to build a contact list for the next show and provide additional data for the show prep.

EAL uses software, Salesforce CRM, to help track these leads and orders to ensure every retailer was satisfied. Besides retailer follow-up, you will want to follow up with your sales team. Ask them what worked and what didn’t work. Hand out a survey the last day of the show and ask salespeople to jot down their suggestions while it’s still fresh in their minds.

 

Remember to start strategically planning for this event early on. You do not need to create the flashiest booth, as successful booths are ones that have a thoughtful purpose, plan and knowledgeable salespeople.

 

 

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