Marketing Follow-Up After a Show

Lots of work goes into setting up and running a retail or wholesale show booth.  All the products need to be produced ahead of time; flyers, newsletter, business cards that need to be printed and distributed; and getting your booth displays set up and ready to go.  Seems like a lot of work, but actually, you have just begun the process!

A few weeks ago, I talked about  6 Tips for a Successful Show Booth.  Today, I want to give you a loose plan for marketing follow-up after your show.

During retail shows, most sales are made on the spotMarketing Follow-Up After a Show

You engage consumers, they like your product and buy.  But what about those who don’t buy on the spot?

  1. Start a sign-up sheet or guest book to compile emails and phone numbers.  Offer them a bonus for giving you their information.
  2. Give away plenty of brochures, flyers and business cards to anyone who looks interested in your products.
  3. Email them about new products, upcoming shows and other interesting information about yourself, your products and your business.  Make sure to include images of your products or line of products.
  4. If you produce a higher priced item like fine jewelry, unique art or other fine arts, you can offer to set up a private appointment at your studio or their home to ‘try’ a particular piece they were interested in at the show.

Marketing after a wholesale show is a bit more involved

Here are some of the tactics I use:

  • Download and post all the photos of customers and contacts you took at the show, to various social media and blogs. As you roll out the follow-up sequences below, be sure to include links to your show photos, and invite people to look them over.
  • Mail to all who requested specific information first. Note that after a buyer visits numerous booths at a show, they can be confused about the information they collected, so it’s a good idea to clarify (remind them about your booth, products, etc).
  • A thank you and reminder mailer, with sales materials, should go out to everyone whose information you were able to obtain. Much of the materials picked up are already in the round file… or in a disorganized stack, the buyer may never get back to.
  • For those who purchased at the show, customized the note to thank them for any orders, or offer to extend the show special, and solicit feedback for getting testimonials about your service and/or products.
  • For prospects, you might try a “thanks for coming by” offer, with either a scaled-down version of the show offer or a different offer entirely.
  • Give EVERYONE a week or (at most) two weeks after the initial mailing and dial them up with a “courtesy call”, to make sure they got their information, or the follow-up materials and offer. Ask if there is anything else you could send them or questions you can answer. Offer to take care of any deficiencies that pop up, IMMEDIATELY. If they did not order at the show, ask them if they would like to place an order now, and take advantage of the post-show offer.
  • Check back again every 30 to 60 days with a “courtesy call”, until you get them as a customer, or you are convinced they will never be a customer.

Note that the great majority of exhibitors NEVER FOLLOW UP – instead of waiting for the prospects who came by the booth, to do all the work.

Do your follow-ups and thank yous, and set yourself ABOVE THE CROWD! You have a HUGE investment in the show, and with very little effort (relatively speaking) you can multiply your financial results!

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Trade Show Follow-Up

Trade Shows are fun, but they are also a lot of work!  But, believe it or not, the real work starts after the show is over and you are back in your office. And this is the place most exhibitors fall down!

The first order of business, once the show is over and you are back home, is to go through all the leads and orders you got at the show. Orders and requests for information should go out ASAP!  Don’t sleep until these are done. You are on trial to see how you operate your business… make an impression!

Of course, some buyers will ask for delayed shipping, by or after a certain date, to coincide with their next busy season. Make sure you develop a “tickler” system for sending out scheduled orders. Nothing hurts your credibility more than FORGETTING to send out an order, in the exact time frame when your customer wanted it.

Here is a suggested post-show follow-up sequence.

  • The ORDERS tagged for immediate delivery should go out first.
  • Download and post all the photos of customers and contacts you took at the show, to various social media and blogs. As you roll out the follow-up sequences below, be sure to include links to your show photos, and invite people to look them over.
  • Requests for specific information get mailed next, with a thank you.  On the outside of the mailer, it’s a VERY good idea to include something like: “The Information You Requested is Just Inside! Open NOW for Our Time Limited Offer!” Of course, you do need to have an offer in this case…
  • A thank you and reminder mailer, with sales materials, should go out to everyone whose information you were able to obtain. Much of the materials picked up are already in the round file… or part of a disorganized stack or mess the buyer may never get back to.
  • For customers, the note should be customized to thank them for any orders, or offer to extend the show special, and solicit feedback for getting testimonials about your service and/or products.
  • For prospects, you might try a “thanks for coming by” offer, with either a scaled-down version of the show offer or a different offer entirely.
  • Give EVERYONE a week or (at most) two weeks after the initial mailing or order shipment, and dial them up with a “courtesy call”, to make sure they got their order, or their information, or the follow-up materials and offer. Ask if there is anything else you could send them or questions you can answer. If they did not order at the show, ask them if they would like to place an order now, and take advantage of the post-show offer.
  • Check back again every 30 to 60 days with a “courtesy call”, until you get them as a customer, or you are convinced they will never be a customer.

Note that the great majority of exhibitors NEVER FOLLOW UP – instead, waiting for the prospects who came by the booth, to do all the work.

I understand that it’s easy to go back into your regular routine and leave the pressure of the show behind. THIS IS A MISTAKE! Do your follow-ups and thank yous, and set yourself ABOVE THE CROWD! You have a HUGE invesTrade Show Exhibiting Secretstment in the show, and with very little effort (relatively speaking) you can multiply your financial results!

Special Note:  The article above is an excerpt from my e-guide:  Trade Show Exhibiting Secrets!

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Tips for Increasing Sales at Trade Shows

Exhibiting in Trade Shows is not for the faint-at-heart.  Travel to and from the show, shipping products in, lodging and meals are expensive enough — and that is before you calculate the actual booth fees!

On the other hand, exhibiting in trade shows can be one of the best investments you make in your business.

So how can you be smart about using trade shows to sell your products?

Create & Thrive published an email article that I want to share here:

How to Sell More at Trade Shows

1. Set and know your terms and conditions inside and out

Your wholesale terms and conditions are the backbone of any wholesale transaction with a buyer.

Terms and conditions define certain obligations and outline key points of the selling agreement between the buyer and the seller (you!).

I recommend that terms and conditions include details of minimum order amounts, payment options, turn-around time, shipping details, and refund and cancellation policies…

 2. Be prepared for buyers to ask you about ‘exclusivity’.

…Buyers may ask you for exclusivity before placing an order.

Essentially this means that once an exclusivity agreement has been made between yourself and the retailer (and an order placed), you have committed to not selling your product to new buyers that operate stores within the neighbouring area, often within the same postcode.

This is one method that a buyer will use to ensure that their store does not stock the same products as competing neighbouring stores...

3. You need line-sheets and business card

…A good line sheet has a list of all your products currently available for wholesale purchase, each with a photo, an SKU or product code, wholesale price and a short description if necessary.

When asked for your line sheet don’t be afraid to ask for the buyer’s business card in return. This provides you with their contact details so you can follow up with them post trade show, should they fail to place an order.

My advice to you is to ensure you have enough line sheets printed and prepared well and truly before the tradeshow.

4. The days are LONG

…Trade shows generally run between 8-11 hours a day over a 3-4 day period.

During this time you will be standing (not sitting!) and speaking to various interested buyers. While it is a challenge to appear permanently happy standing for ten hours a day it is important to greet each customer as if they are your first customer for the day.

Smile, be polite and answer the questions regardless of whether you’re at the end of a ten hour day. Impressions last with buyers and you want to make the purchasing experience pleasant and as easy as possible.

5. Provide a time sensitive sale for the trade show

To secure a few extra sales, it may be beneficial to have a time limited promotion that is valid only for orders placed at the trade show.

This could include offering a percentage off your wholesale amount, free shipping or a free product.

This may be all that’s needed to bump a waning buyer into a committed buyer.

6. Send your invoices immediately after the trade show

Not next week, not even when you return to your home city, but after the trade show when you get back to your hotel.

It keeps your order fresh in the buyer’s mind and it allows them to prepare financially for your order. Buyers often attend multiple trade shows and buy from tens (or hundreds, depending on the size of the retailer!) of different exhibitors…

 7. You don’t have to do business with everyone

While it is tempting to accept orders from a diverse range of stores, I recommend that prior to accepting an order with a buyer you first learn about the type and style of store the buyer owns or is managing.

The best stores are the ones that attract customers who align with your ideal customer….

Read the full article

 

Want to learn about selling at Trade Shows?  Check out my practical Tips for Increasing Sales at Trade Showse-guide:

Make Trade Show Exhibiting Easy!

How to market by exhibiting at Trade Shows, and turn your wholesaling efforts into a turnkey, money-making, client-generating machine!

Trade Show Exhibiting Secrets

 

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Gift Marts and Showrooms

Gift marts and showrooms are very different from gift shows as they are accessible all year-long.  Showrooms, sometimes called “marts”, are large buildings with multiple floors of small to large cubicles where reps (and often a few distributors, importers, and producers) offer their lines for sale. Some industries do not include a showroom element. Some, like the furniture industry, offer a few.

Gift Marts and Showrooms

The Merchandise Mart in Chicago

Over 20 major cities across the country host a ‘gift mart’ containing hundreds of rooms with numerous gift products open only to retail buyers and industry personnel.  The gift industry offers a good selection, found almost exclusively in larger cities (e.g. Seattle, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Dallas, Denver, Atlanta, and New York). Showrooms are typically not open to the general public, but open to verifiably buyers in their industry.

Although gift marts are a convenient venue for producers, most rooms are operated by sales rep organization to showcase numerous companies and product lines in one or two locations for easy viewing.

Showrooms are open only to the gift trade, so some or all of the following information is required before a person is allowed to view the rooms:

  • Copy of state resale/retail license (i.e., seller’s permit)
  • Business card (imprinted with the name of buyer) or business check
  • Personal identification (e.g., valid driver’s license, other photo ID, etc.)

Depending on the gift mart, showrooms are opened daily or just a few days a week and often work in conjunction with a gift show in the same location or town.  Most showrooms logistics are accessible through their website which details specific times, dates and locations available for visitations.  Websites also showcase a listing of products lines exhibited at certain showrooms floors or sections.

The Seattle Mart  (formally the Pacific Market Center), for example, offers dozens of permanent showrooms located on the three floors of their gift center near historical Georgetown in Seattle.  The Center boasts of over 2,000 product lines with hundreds of thousands of product on display.

One of the biggest (and oldest) marts is the Merchandise Mart in Chicago.  When it first opened in 1930, it was the largest building in the world, with 4,000,000 square feet!  The building is a leading retailing and wholesale destination, hosting 20,000 visitors and tenants per day as of the late 2000s.

Gift marts are located in the following states: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Washington.

If you are working with a sales rep organization that hosts a showroom, you have the added benefit of having numerous potential buyers viewing your products.

NOTE:  Updating and reposting this previously published article due to illness during the last week.

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Exhibit in Trade Shows?

Deciding to exhibit in Wholesale Trade Shows may be one of the biggest decisions you make with in your product based business.  Doing a trade show involves serious commitment of time and resources, and is not to be considered lightly.

Personally, I have exhibited and visited several trade shows on the Exhibit in Trade Shows?northwestern coast, and I know how overwhelming they may seem.

In Boaz David, from the Human B, newsletter last month, he made some very good points:

If you do decide to do a trade show….

1.    Research & careful planning –  choosing the right show for your brand is half the battle. There are many … trade show, big ones, small ones, ones that are geared towards specific markets. … You should do your homework and research them. Look them up, see if you can ask store buyers or your exciting accounts what shows they visit and why. Check your competition … Look at the exhibitors list for the shows … Contact the show if you have any questions …Keep in mind that finding the right show starts with you being very clear about who is your target customer/stores. So make sure you have that down first.

2.    Define your expectations – a key point to evaluate if a show was good or bad has to do with what you expecting. … managing your expectations can make the experience a lot more positive for you….

3.    Get appointment – this point is a big key to the success of the show. It is assumed that being in a show that generates lots of traffic from buyers all you need is to have a booth and buyers will stop. …  what you want to do is contact your existing customers and to set appointments to meet them at the show…

4.    Line presentation – once you have a buyer at the booth you want them to feel that this is not your first time and that you are professional, you know how things work and what you are doing (yes, even if you fake it), therefore your presentation should support that. …

5.    A welcoming booth – your booth should be clean, approachable with easy access to the samples, and enough room to present the line and work with a buyer. Avoid having heavy furniture that blocks the buyer from reaching out to the samples or from interacting with you. … Making a buyer welcome and comfortable will set the tone for their impression of you and the line.

6.    Get noticed – In a crowded show you’ll need to find a way to have the design of your booth and your presentation stands out to get the attention of buyers who running from one booth to another. Off course this should be done in a way that is consistent with your brand identity and within your budget. …

7.    Know your stuff – …you have one chance to convert when a buyer walks into your booth. Make sure your presentation is polished! You …  Again, you want to make the buyer feel that you know what you are doing.

8.    Follow up – The show went well, you had some nice orders and some new leads, but your job is not done yet. Now you should follow up with those who visited your booth, thank them, confirm the orders with buyers and follow up on any new leads….

Find more resources on wholesale trade shows:

Exhibiting and Marketing at a Wholesale Trade Show

Planning a Successful Trade Show

Making Your Trade Show Outstanding

Preparing for a Wholesale Trade Show

Working a Trade Show

Selling Through Regional Trade Shows

Exhibiting at Wholesale Trade Shows

Should You Exhibit at Trade Shows

Or check out my eguide:  Trade Show Exhibiting Secrets

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