The 29th edition of the Biennial Machine Tool 2016 is already finished, an exhibition that according to the General Director of BEC has been a recovery exhibition- Basañez: “We have not reached record numbers but BIEMH has been the biennial of recovery”
And after a long hard working week, contacts, conversations, interest shown, expectations and hopefully possibility of closing business operations, it is time to make a balance.
Lately, due to reduced business resources and new technologies, many wonder about the importance of exhibitions and their commercial investment-return ratio.
According to studies of a US firm,
“86% of managers agree that exhibitions are the second most effective mean of generating sales opportunities”
after a good positioning (SEO) of the website of the company.
This finding may be surprising considering the wide variety of other alternative channels available to businesses today. Why do exhibitions keep being such an important mean?
One reason why all companies, regardless of size, have in common is the fact that it is one of the few ways in which you can contact directly with the target audience.
Most visitors who make the effort and investment in time and resources to attend to an exhibition are not there to see shop’s windows, but the commercial purpose of an exhibition is the purpose of the purchase.
The fact that you can access to that relevant and filtered public is the key of exhibitions and is therefore the reason why companies exhibit.
Another profit is the brand affinity with its customers. In a world where everything is increasingly connected online, brand differentiation and transmission of corporate values are golden rules to achieve that profit.
By giving your target audience the opportunity to physically engage with the brand and the company, in an environment that is carefully controlled and presented, it can be a great advantage over their competitors.
Although it may seem an expensive option in the long term and effective exhibition stand can be a much cheaper investment than other ways of trying to reach their audience and can be translated into real results. But do not forget been patient. Once the euphoria of interest is passed and contacts behind those mountains of business cards after the return to the office melt, various studies conclude and demonstrate that emerging business operations or strategic agreements will be created in long-term.
Xabier Basañez, general director of Bilbao Exhibition Centre answered this way to this question related with the previous statement. I.A, Deia: “Is the Biennial Machine Tool the perfect breast to carry out large commercial operations?, “XB”: Any exhibition is based on the relationship that occurs between buyer and seller, because machine tools are not purchased in four days, but trading operations of machine tools occur in two ways: one is the closing of the agreement that may have been negotiated for months, giving prestige, and above all, what it is looking for is to open new negotiations which will start working few months later.
It’s definitely worth the time and effort considered to expose your business in front of your target audience.
However, after the conclusion of the importance of the exhibitions, the question is what can we do to maximize our participation in these events? Here is a brief list of “Dos and Don’ts”, meaning what to do and what not to do both before, during and after the event. They are not the previous steps, neither during nor after the organization of the exhibition but general recommendations.
|What to do
- Look carefully if competitors have already booked their stand at the exhibition before committing to take a stand. It’s an obvious suggestion, I know, but this is one of the biggest indicators of success, especially when the exhibition is in a international market. Are our competitors showing in the exhibition? Do the products of the other exhibitors and target customers complement our offer? Let us try to find out if any of the big companies has withdrawn or oppositely, they have made the registration recent years. This gives us an indication of whether the program is growing or declining in popularity.
- Talking to other exhibitors. One of the most important issues of an exhibition is networking. It never stops amazing me how some of the best strategic advice and some potential sales come from the most unexpected sources: exhibitors from competition but even the industry, trade associations, media are there to do business and if you are in the right place at the right time you can open a dialogue about the industry that can work in our favor.
- Making sure to stand out from the crowd. Think creatively about how to attract the attention of visitors who walk past their position and the best way to qualify sales opportunities.
- Motivate and train your stand’s staff. Most marketing experts know the golden rules of display including: do not look too anxious, ask open-ended questions, get as much information as possible to determine whether the person speaking is a potential customer… But how many companies actually adhere to them?
- Speculate to accumulate. Closing sales is usually one of the main objectives of the exhibition, however, not forget that it is time to sow, to take advantage of the opportunity to make a direct marketing on prospects that they unlikely result in a return to short but can lead to significant long-term orders.
|What NOT to do
- Do not be afraid to negotiate hard with the sales staff stands. exhibition organizers, like everyone else, have had to work harder than ever in recent years to retain its market share. This has led most good organizers to offer a range of additional marketing opportunities designed to enhance the presence at the exhibition and expand marketing opportunities for your company before, during and after exposure. Some of these benefits are offered free but others are available at an additional cost. We should give importance not only to the negotiation of a discount on the exhibition area, but above all to the location of the stand, not to mention the profit marketing tools can give you. It is vital to negotiate all these points as they can have a clear impact on the business results.
- Assume. What Americans call the three Ps: Plan, Plan, Plan. The attention to detail at every stage pays dividends, the lack of them possibly make mistakes and a sense of panic at the last minute that can demotivate staff.
- Wasting time with “walkers”. we must not take into consideration visitor numbers and we should focus on the quality of the talks. The focus is on quality public. Not wasting time with an audience of “non-buyers” is vital. For that we must make aware the “first row salespeople’s stand” do ask the visitor and to minimize the amount of time they spend with visitors who have no influence on the purchase to select those who are interested and decision-making.
- Close trade agendas: and to optimize the point above, it is appealing to create a schedule of meetings pre-organized following a study of potential customers, distributors, agents may visit the exhibition or directly invite them to have a personal conversation.
- And we cannot forget to reward our team for the well done work. The exhibitions are an ideal way to create and motivate team chance. Recognize and acknowledge personal or family sacrifices an employee has done in order to attend an exhibition.