Running your own end user show can open up direct dialogue with customers, but it takes a lot of preparation, says Loren Nardini, commercial director, Pro Ad
Running an end user show can be very intensive financially and time wise for the whole company, with sales executives needing to contact their customers and prospects to promote the show, get people registered and marketing focusing their activities in promoting the show rather than the company.
There is a risk of this taking over the company in the build-up, and having a knock on effect on sales if not done correctly. However, the potential rewards are high with opportunity to sell away from the standard, create a demand for a product, increase margin, identify new sales leads for product ranges previously not established with a client, or even converting a prospect into a customer.
A successful show does not end at the end of the day of the show. In order for the show to be successful, the after-show work also needs to be intense with quotes (estimate in the region of five or six enquiries per attendee), samples, and follow ups. All of this has to done alongside the week’s normal workload for the team. Having this process planned and organised and getting through it all in timely fashion is a necessary ingredient.
We run our own end user show bi-annually where customers and prospects from around the country visit us to learn more about our latest products and services.
One of the key ingredients is the investment of time which has to be put in in the form of marketing campaigns to get attendees through the door. We have found that being very proactive at the stage of attracting visitors to the show by using a variety of communication channels directly and indirectly is crucial for attracting the type of visitors that we want to target.
Some other very important ingredients for a successful show are the variety of products featured on our stands, the quality of the presentation, as well as how helpful and communicative the suppliers that represent us on the day are with our clients. Our supply chain plays a vastly important role in the show’s success. It is very important that they understand our business and our customers as the nature of the business relationship is very different to the one between distributors to suppliers.
Another important factor is the choice of speakers for the show. Seminars on current subjects relevant to our visitors’ work interests always attract more customers to our show. Additionally, our post-show satisfaction surveys have shown that the performance of our speakers is very important for the positive evaluation of the show. Our visitors appreciate helpful advice that they can take with them and apply to their work to add value to it. Finally, including innovative and interactive aspects in the show keeps our visitors even more engaged and keeps them entertained throughout the day.
We also exhibit at other shows, usually locally. The return on investment we are getting out of them varies. They are a good opportunity to talk to people, get feedback on trends and preferences and put our company and what we can do in front of people that might not have heard about us before. Usually every show gives us the opportunity to engage with a few valuable leads and put our foot through the door of customers with good spending potential.