Was your trade show season a winner? Or did you miss the playoffs?

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This year’s trade show season is coming to an end. So, how’d it go? 

Was it a winner? Or did you strike out or fumble the ball?

Check out five reasons you may not have had a championship season. We also offer coaching on how to up your trade show game next year.

1. You’re playing in the wrong trade shows.

If you’re not finding enough qualified prospects at your events, you could be at the wrong trade shows.

It’s an easy issue to solve. 

Start by clearly defining your target market. Work with your sales and marketing teams — and company leadership — to identify your ideal sales prospects. Develop detailed profiles of them including things like job title, age, education, pain points, communication style, media preferences, income and more.

Once you understand who you want to sell to, it’s easier to find the trade shows they attend. Before signing up for any event, ask to see the demographic profiles of visitors to previous shows. Also request data about the number of people in each profile who attended. If the profiles align with your target audiences — and are supported by strong numbers of attendees — it’s a good sign that a trade show is right for your business. If not, keep looking for better options.

Tip: Another way to find out if a trade show is right for you is to checklists of exhibitors at previous events. If you see a lot of your competitors on them, it’s a good sign you should be there as well.

2. You spend too much time with the wrong people.

Even when you participate in trade shows with a lot of the rights attendees, there will be people who stop by your booth that are wrong for you. Every moment your salespeople spend with them is time away from prospects who are more likely to make a purchase.

The solution: Find a quick way to identify non-buyers and politely move them on. Many businesses arm their reps with qualifying questions and talking points to help figure out the likelihood to convert. 

A better solution is to use smart business card scanning software. Reps simply snap pictures of attendee business cards. The software automatically uploads information from the cards to a database. At the same time, it scans the internet for additional data about the people in real-time. This added info can be used to qualify prospects on the spot. 

Tip: A small investment in Mobile Locker’s business card scanning software could have a BIG return on your investment in trade show marketing. Learn more.

3. Your booth is b-o-r-i-n-g.

If you’re not attracting enough people to your booth, it could be because it’s a yawn. 

Trade show marketing is a contact sport and depending on the event, you could be competing against hundreds — or even thousands — of other booths for attention.

In order to win the game, start by securing a prime location. Spending more on better real estate could really pay off in added traffic because most people at busy shows don’t visit dead-end aisles, corners or secondary exhibit halls.

Next, design a booth with big, bold messages and imagery to catch the eye of people walking by. Make it clear why they should stop by for a visit by explaining what you can do to help them. One of the biggest mistakes exhibitors make is packing too much information on their signage. People should be able to look at your booth from a distance and understand in an instant what you do and why they must meet with you.

Not sure how to develop a booth that makes a BIG impact? Consult with an expert at your booth company to come up with fresh ideas on how to use the latest trends to stand out.

Tip: It’s not enough to have an eye-catching booth. You also need to offer interesting and meaningful experiences people won’t want to miss. Mobile Locker’s software makes it easy to develop digital experiences that will make you stand out at trade shows AND generate positive buzz that will get more people to stop by.

4. Your trinkets are trash.

Do people really love free things? Not if it makes them haul a lot of junk around a convention center or hotel ballroom. 

Instead of useless trinkets, offer refreshing snacks or drinks. Or consider giving away larger prizes, such as iPads, in exchange for contact information. People are likely to stop by for a free treat when they’re hungry or thirsty — or for the opportunity to win a big prize.

Tip: Imagine people in your target audiences as they wander through trade shows. Put yourself in their place to figure out what kinds of refreshments they’d like or prizes they’d value.

5. You delay following-up.

What’s the use of investing in trade show marketing if you don’t have a process for reps to follow-up with prospects on a timely basis? If prospects don’t hear from your reps quickly, your competitors will beat you in the selling game.

One of the biggest reasons for late trade show follow-up is the need to transfer contact information to a CRM. It can take a lot of time to input business card information or format, sort, and transfer badge scanner data to sales systems.

The solution: Mobile Locker’s software makes it easy to capture trade show attendee data. It automatically uploads it to your CRM that sales reps can use immediately. This allows them to contact prospects while still at the show or on the way home. 

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