The last two years have shown the business world that there are new ways to work and as a result, things will never be quite the same again. Teams, Zoom and the myriad other collaboration apps have replaced a lot of face-to-face interaction. But as the new normal starts to feel a bit more like the old normal, one area of business that will welcome an offline approach is exhibitions and trade shows.
For most of us, it’s probably been a couple of years since we attended or exhibited at a business event, so the following tips might be helpful for easing you back into the saddle.
Visitor intent and the decline of the ‘jolly’
The rise of virtual meetings has markedly changed how we interact with one another. Meetings that might have been scheduled pre-pandemic at a time to serve a personal benefit, as well as a business one (e.g. visiting a supplier that happens to be your route home on a Friday afternoon …), have become harder to justify. After all, we have Teams and Zoom so can have a meeting anyplace, anytime so meetings are now more focused in nature.
The knock-on effect for physical, in-person events is that visitor intent is much higher. If an individual is attending an event, then the likelihood is they are doing so with a clear purpose, not just for a ‘browse’. As an exhibitor, that means it is more important than ever to have a strong, clear message that resonates with your target audience.
And following increased intent to its logical conclusion, event attendees are potentially more likely to be further along in the sales cycle than previously. So you need to be prepared to handle deeper, more involved conversations. That might mean having additional sales collateral to hand or a more detailed presentation you can quickly fire up on a laptop or iPad.
Scheduling pre-booked meetings
Taking the notion of increased visitor intent a step further and building on the changes that increased digital engagement has brought to the fore is pre-booking your meetings.
Arguably, this has always been a tactic to use at events, but as apps like Calendly have flourished over the past two years, we’ve become far more comfortable with the idea of scheduling meetings with relatively unknown contacts.
We recommend you take advantage of your prospect’s newfound openness and try our ‘Concierge Service’ to personally invite a hand-picked list of prospects to your stand for a pre-booked meeting.
The art of networking
Exhibitions are all about the face-to-face, but after a two-year hiatus, most of us are probably a bit rusty, so it’s important to remember that the clue to being an effective networker is in the title; Net…WORK…ing. To get something out, you have to be prepared to put some effort in.
A key part of this is being up to speed with what’s going on in your industry. The speed of change that we’ve seen during COVID makes it more important than ever to be absolutely up to date with what’s happening. Manufacturing, in particular, has been pushed and pulled in all sorts of directions and the instability is set to continue.
So, keeping abreast of what’s happening and the ramifications for your customers and prospects gives you an edge in conversations. Knowledge is power after all.
And when you’ve had a good conversation, the most critical, yet often missed part of the process is to follow up in a timely fashion.
We understand that’s easier said than done. After all, if you’ve been out of the office for several days, your inbox clogs up and you’ve got to get back to the day job. Finding the time in and amongst that to have 10, 20, or even 50 meaningful follow up conversations in a short period of time is a big ask.
This is why it’s the ideal task to outsource to a trusted sales partner. At Bollin Green, we can apply dedicated resources to make sure those conversations happen quickly, while they’re fresh in your prospect’s mind. Helping to qualify people in and out of your funnel can save internal sales teams days and unearth valuable hot opportunities.
Covid isn’t over for everyone
A final word of caution about exhibiting in a post-pandemic world: be aware of all opinions and mindsets in relation to COVID. While the majority of people seem comfortable to forego facemasks and even go so far as to shake hands, there will be plenty of people who feel less carefree.
Being mindful and considerate of good hygiene, personal space and the feelings of others’ attitudes and preferences to COVID is still very important and shouldn’t be overlooked. Your hottest prospect may be among the warier so it’s best not to alienate people.
Bollin Green Manufacturing Telemarketing Specialists
Our manufacturing industry knowledge means we’re perfectly placed to help you generate leads, set appointments and manage sales pipelines before and after events. We’d love to talk to you about how we can help your manufacturing business.