A Funny Thing Happened at the Trade Show: When Will the Vendors Get It?
Once upon a time a meeting planner was feeling low and had this strong need to be nurtured. The doctor prescribed Springtime in the Park. There were over 500 exhibitors looking for her business, and 95% of them asked the same opening question, "How are you!" Like they really care! If she said she needed a kidney, would someone have offered her one of his? I don't think so. If she said she were running a fever, would someone make her some homemade chicken soup? I doubt it.
The point is, Where did these people get their sales training? More specifically, have any been groomed in trade show training? Some did ask, "Have you ever been to...…?" naming their destination or property. Others handed out brochures to anyone who would accept them. Like it's actually going to get read back at the office! One exhibitor handed out travel clocks - a rather nice ad specialty - to people walking by without obtaining any information or interest whatsoever.
Think about your own association's expo or trade show. You probably don't offer trade show training to your exhibitors the day before. Yet who knows the profile of your members and attendees better than you? And, would exhibitors even attend? Exhibitors, who believe they know it all, are often quick to complain when they don't generate enough leads or business at a trade show.
Let me share two Springtime case studies.
Moral 1: Association executives, now hear this! Exhibit sales account for a large part of your revenues. Offer added value to your exhibitors by providing them a dynamic, hands-on educational program on trade show training. The people in your association who know your members best partners the seminar with a trade show trainer. Exhibitors who generate leads and subsequent sales often increase their square footage the following year which amounts to more money in your cash register.
Moral 2: Attention suppliers, vendors, and exhibitors! Trade show training is significantly different from the traditional sales or cold call. If you're not going to provide trade show training to your people, then you may as well as flush your check for exhibit space down the toilet.