Four Ways To Flip Your Tradeshow Buying And Selling Model

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“People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy!” Jeff Gitomer.

That’s one of my favorite truth quotes, from Gitomer, a speaker, sales trainer and author of The Sales Bible, Little Red Book of Selling and many others.

This truth is playing out in the way buyers are changing how they attack and derive benefits from their trade show participation. Buyers don’t want to receive a stack of preshow mailers and get spammed by every exhibitor before the show. Buyers don’t relate well to aggressive or interruptive on-floor sales tactics that stop them dead in their tracks. They’ve flipped, but have you?

Today, buyers have a plan. They know what products and services interest them. Buyers research exhibitors online before the show and decide who they want to visit. They have their grocery list and know which aisles are worth their valuable time.

Sure exhibitors can try to lure passerby’s with super-models, drawings, refreshments, tchotchkes and massages. But let’s be honest. Do you think those tactics really attract the best prospects or just the tire kickers?

Four Ways to Flip Your Tradeshow Buying/Selling Model

1. Provide attendees with a list of booths visited.

Many major shows offer a lead retrieval solution, but it’s marketed as an exhibitor benefit. Some lead retrieval providers have flipped the model and offer lead retrieval as an attendee benefit. Attendees receive a list of booths visited via email a week or two after the show. Open and click through rates on these are very high … indicating that attendees value this follow-up and being in control of the process.

2. Virtual Tote Bags

There are a number of solutions that have been developed for trade shows that allow attendees to virtually collect exhibitor’s collateral or videos on their products and services. One fast evolving, ubiquitous solution involves the scanning of QR Codes using the attendee’s smartphone. Other solutions include texting SMS codes to a personalized web portal. Solutions like these put the buyer in control and allow them to get great value out of their floor time.

3. Thought Leadership Sessions

Many exhibitors are realizing the benefits of extending their brand and awareness by demonstrating their thought leadership. Shows are leveraging this by creating featured areas in the hall for things like new product shootouts or throwdowns. Exhibitors that can demonstrate their thought leadership (without selling) and help drive interested booth traffic.

4. Online booths

I’ve written quite a bit about the importance of building out an online booth and the benefits that it will lead to during the show. Attendees want to make an advance plan of who they want to see and will potentially schedule appointments or reach out to you before the show.

How are you adjusting to the evolving preferences of today’s buyers? What other strategies are you implementing that are buyer friendly?

Originally posted in and written by Dave Lutz.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff Hurt, Zerista Pro. Zerista Pro said: RT: Four Ways To Flip Your Tradeshow Buying And Selling Model: Image by Today is a good day. “P… #eventprofs […]

  2. Traci says:

    Hi David,
    Have you any documentation that these suggestions will lead to growth and increase of exchanges by implementing these suggestions?

  3. Dave Lutz says:

    Traci, thanks for drilling down for more info. Here’s a link to some stats that I’ve pulled from several major shows regarding the online booths –

    My primary source for point #1 – List of booths visited – is research I did about a year ago for an IAEE education session on attendee engagement. I headed up a panel that included show organizers from Hanley Wood, Cygnus and ConExpo. These organizers communicated that open and click through rates on the attendee post show e-blast were consistently high.

    For QR codes/virtual tote bags it’s more a prediction based on posts like this one –

    I can’t guarantee that these suggestions will improve quantity, but I do know that they will improve quality. Especially, when an exhibitor is able to hit the mark on the thought leadership bullet.

    What are you seeing out there? Do these recommendations make sense for your customers?

  4. […] Corrections – Jeff Hurt talks about 4 ways to flip your tradeshow buying and selling model (number 1 is […]

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