Crowds and Leads Guaranteed

Crowds and Leads Guaranteed!

Many of you who have kept up with my blog and newsletters from the past will recognize my above promise started in 1973.

As a performer and a consultant for Trade Shows, Sales Meetings, product launches, etc. the most frequently asked question are “How do we attract crowds and how do we keep them?”

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Today we will concentrate of specifically on trade shows.

After almost 500 trade shows around the world the answer is surprisingly simple and yet complex.
For giant booth crowds a lot of the work starts the year (or at least several months ) before the show doors even open. Those who attend shows to attract clients with no serious preparation are doomed to failure.

Our first approach will be a multi-step email and physical mail campaign that is targeted to the 80/20 of your client that has proven exceedingly successful. By approaching the 20% that give you 80% of your business we hone in on the core clients that regularly come to the specific show (s) you are targeting.

The key is to know your clients’ needs so well that pre-sell information confirms that you are the right fit for them.

Ok, Ok, so how do we specifically do that?

Relationship building takes time and is made by giving the client relevant and important information that they normally would not have access to and that is ACTIONABLE. Each email or contact they receive from you must contain that gold nugget that will endear themselves to the company. Otherwise why should they open the next email? The LAST thing in the world they want is to be sold to. Rather your job will be to be the most helpful, service providing company they have ever dealt with. Whether you sell widgets, tech or financial instruments, people want the “Business Hacks” that will set them up for success using your company’s products or services.

Our campaign starts with an invitation teaser letting them know well in advance that you are going to be attending a specific show(s), dates and booth numbers and that you are setting up appointments! So why should they sign up for an appointment? Because they get very cool exclusive swag the general attendees do not get – we call this the “Ethical Bribe”.

Here we are setting up “Reciprocity”.

I give you something (free USEFUL gift) and the expectation is you give me something (your valuable time one on one for a few minutes). This will be very quickly (3 days or so) be followed up with your first incredibly useful and actionable email, letter or newsletter that lets them know you are not playing around and that you want them to be empowered. This can be something as interesting as 15 things to do in the conference city no one knows about (including an invitation to a private hospitality suite) or as fun as essential packing tips for business people or conventioneers. Whatever it is you send, it must be EXCELLENT and a little fun.

This constant contact philosophy is the literal foundation of the relationship that will eventually have customers streaming to your booth and become customers for life – always our end game!

Several follow ups spaced out between first contact and the show will similarly provide the “Must Have” content your clients crave. A follow up call, closer to the event that actually books them into a meeting, invites them to the hospitality suite (with cool entertainment) or at least a visit to the booth is the call to action that helps seal the deal.

Social media has become the game changer

It is especially useful in the effort to attract attention and interest for your projects such as a Trade Show. Of all the many portals I have found unequivocally that LinkedIn and Youtube out pace everything else. Twitter is still rising but generally for Trade Show, if you have dedicated followers is a great adjunct to your media strategy. Especially during a show, status updates can swing people over to your booth so they can catch the “Buzz” that is being created or get a special prize. Most notably if you are engaging an entertainer or speaker and you want to let them know they are about to be “ON”.

Unfortunately, as popular as Facebook is, it is not the choice used in B2B. Still needed but efforts into other social media will have more effect.

Sign up to your top 20% client’s LinkedIn, Facebook, twitter, etc ., accounts and see what they want!
By specifically addressing their needs or wish list you can target your message completely customized for them. Why wouldn’t they want to come by the booth to discuss these pain points you can solve?

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A multi social media approach using software like “Hootsuite” will enable your people to post once and have a wide range of instant posts to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter as well as Instagram, Pinterest, Digg, Redditt, etc.
Setting up your social media well in advance of the event so you can have the largest possible list of targeted subscribers (those planning on attending the show) will give you the maximum effectiveness and another level of engagement.

At the show itself you will want to engage with people (sign up to follow potential contacts) who have checked in at the trade show or mentioned the show on their social media. Inviting them to your booth and offering a special incentive through their social channel . These days you can get or purchase the email list of attendees to post these kinds of messaging.

Traditional marketing still has a place in promoting your booth such as The events internal magazine and industry ad’s. But what about the NEW leads?

That is trickier and believe me as a Comedy Magician and Illusionist, I know tricks !

Attracting potential leads to a trade show booth, especially with thousands of attendees is both art and science. This starts with booth personnel being properly trained, an attractive booth design, height and color of signage and with actual placement in the convention hall.

However, the single most important factor is being NOTICED! Just having something novel is not going to attract nor separate out the “RELEVANT and QUALIFIED” potential clients. These leads must be targeted! Unless you want to just have regular passer-by’s come to your booth which for some shows is desirable for general marketing, it usually does not help if you are a niche market .

If you are trying to bring in a specific type of client i.e. the IT Security manager attending a general tech conference, not attracting those specific potential leads wastes your staffs time and is very expensive (give-aways and promotional literature must only get in the right hands).

Having a way to segregate the incoming traffic in a booth is not only essential but allows more time to speak with potential and past clients who NEED to know about your products and service.
An entertainer or speaker that can qualify your leads and point out to the sales staff who is hot and who is not is invaluable. Just having some scantily clad booth people handing out chocolate covered YOYO’s is not only ridiculous in this fast paced environment but an idiotic expense.

However, having those same people bringing people “ into” the booth area by having them fill in a 3 line questionnaire (qualifying questions)for a contest prize is a much better way to engage and keep them there for a few moments and is the first part to segregating the wheat from the chaff and holding them for a sales message about your products or services.

Using staff or hired help to entice attendees in, then entertaining them with a show that is fun, interactive and an integrated sales pitch will greatly increase your chances of serious engagement.

With psychologically enhanced questions to the audience the entertainer or speaker can easily further determine who may be in need of potential attention by your sales staff. These people can be targeted by your sales staff after the brief presentation exponentially increasing the chances of finding truly qualified leads.