Trade Show Budgeting, Part 1

Written by Rick Hendershot, M.A.

Setting up a display at a trade show is expensive business. You have to rentrepparttar space, create a display, promote it, stock it, and "man" (or better, "woman") it. Before you decide to get involved, take a serious look atrepparttar 124445 costs of all of these components to determine ifrepparttar 124446 ROI (return on investment) is sufficient.

Start planning well ahead. You already know this, right? Keep yourself as organized as possible right fromrepparttar 124447 beginning even before you book your space. You know how carefully today's brides plan their weddings. Months, even years ahead, they start thinking aboutrepparttar 124448 church,repparttar 124449 reception,repparttar 124450 dresses,repparttar 124451 flowers,repparttar 124452 cake. And of course,repparttar 124453 cost. Well, you'rerepparttar 124454 bride. Grab your planning book and start writing down everything you must do to get yourself ready for a successful trade show season next year's.

Even before you decide to go into a show or two you should have a hard look atrepparttar 124455 costs and expected returns. This is why you create a trade show budget. Whether you admit it or not, everything has a cost, and trade shows are not an exception. Remember that your objective is to make sales, or at least generate opportunities to make sales. So you have to view your costs in that light. Everything should be done with an eye on its potential return.

The Trade Show Budget Preamble

As I've said,repparttar 124456 normal starting point for your campaignrepparttar 124457 trade show BUDGET. If you work from a budget you have an outside chance of keeping your costs under control. Of course there is a certain amount of hocus pocus involved in budgeting for things like trade show marketing especially if you've never serioulsy done it before and have no track record to go on. Still, you should give it your best shot. This is not rocket science, and any research or analysis you do will be better than just "winging it" Try using a "brainstorming" process like what follows.

First, ask yourself some BIG questions:

Q1. If I honestly summarize allrepparttar 124458 costs involved in going to just one show, do I really believe I can recover these costs within a short enough period of time to make it "profitable" (make me more than it costs me)?

A1. Like most promotion and advertising, until you've done it , you have no idea how successful it will be. First you will have to summarize allrepparttar 124459 costs, and then try to figure out how many sales you're likely to get from this sort of exposure. We'll take a stab at running some numbers inrepparttar 124460 next section, after we've asked a few more questions.

Q2. Do I have any idea which trade shows are more likely to be "profitable".

A2. There are trade show directories and reports that can tell you about industry-specific shows. Usually they will tell yourepparttar 124461 number of attendees, and hopefully something about their buying habits. Findrepparttar 124462 relevant directories, and figure out some method of choosing between shows. (see below)

Q3. Are there obvious ways to enhance my "Conversion Rate" repparttar 124463 number of attendees who buy from me?

A3. Yes, of course. Having an attractive, eye-catching display is a good start. Getting a good location onrepparttar 124464 floor will help. Setting up your booth properly will help you "process"repparttar 124465 attendees more efficiently. Having a lead-gathering system will help you do more profitable follow up. Giving out memorable hand-outs will enhance your chances of being recognized later on. Training your booth staff could make an important difference.

Ask yourself a few more questions like this to get yourself inrepparttar 124466 right frame of mind. Then you'll be ready to start preparing your trade show budget.

Charting your costs repparttar 124467 first side ofrepparttar 124468 Trade Show Budget

Begin by assemblingrepparttar 124469 following information (and anything else that seems relevant as you go along):

Find a trade show directory for your industry (online isrepparttar 124470 best source), or check outrepparttar 124471 major trade show venues or exhibition companies. They will put you onrepparttar 124472 right track very quickly. Selectrepparttar 124473 10 most promising looking shows based on your "gut feeling" about their potential for your campaign. Make a chart and listrepparttar 124474 five or six most relevant bits of information for each of your most promising venues:

Location, Date Booth space cost Number of attendees Geographic area served Other space-related costs Add some columns to your chart where you can list other costs that are location-dependent:

Travel costs to and fromrepparttar 124475 show Additional things to rent or buy atrepparttar 124476 show (tables, power, etc.) Accommodation costs for booth staff Shipping costs for booth display(s) and materials Vehicle rentals required etc. Think aboutrepparttar 124477 actual "sales process" and what you will need to have a successful one. Think of these as"one-time" costs, with your objective being to nail things down (or at least projectrepparttar 124478 costs) for your entire show campaign.

Display booth design and production Product literature Hand outs Staff training Show promotion (free passes to clients, etc.) Estimating Your Sales repparttar 124479 other side ofrepparttar 124480 Trade Show Budget

Now take your best stab at guessing what your Conversion Rate might be. By this I meanrepparttar 124481 number of buyers per 1000 attendees. If you're a wedding photographer, take a guess at how many bookings you might get. If you're selling widgets ask yourself how many you're likely to sell as a direct result ofrepparttar 124482 campaign.

I know it is next to impossible to get this number right. But you might surprise yourself. And in any event, you need a "target" to justify entering intorepparttar 124483 campaign inrepparttar 124484 first place. Don't let yourself fall intorepparttar 124485 "I'm doing this for long term exposure" trap. This is a very expensive, and quite inefficient way to get long term exposure. Go for short term exposure, immediate sales, or at leastrepparttar 124486 opportunity to make immediate follow ups. Focus on what you have to do to get sales NOW. And if you don't think you can pull that off, then don't start a trade show campaign!

Working your Trade Show Booth

Written by Rick Hendershot, M.A.

When you're at a trade show, you're competing with everybody else for competition. You have to make your booth attractive, noticeable, and worth coming to. It has to create a great first impression. And so do you, asrepparttar guy working it.

Just think of what goes on at a typical trade show. There are literally thousands of people strolling around and hundreds of booths to visit. Is yours going to "getrepparttar 124444 visit". Or will people walk right by not even taking a notice. How do you attractrepparttar 124445 attention of potential visitors? How do you get them to come to your booth rather than your competitor's.

Most experts in trade show marketing agree: "You have to be aggressive and proactive. You can't just wait for people to come to you. Just being there isn't enough. You have to reach out and grab people's attention.

Considering allrepparttar 124446 money you spend on these shows for transportation, hotel, fees andrepparttar 124447 trade show booth itself it's important to getrepparttar 124448 most for your buck. Here are some key tips:

Don't put a chair in your booth. Chairs take up valuable space and make you appear lazy. "[Attendees] did not come to that trade show to sit down," says Ed Leslie, a Certified Association Executive and trade-show veteran "They came to that trade show to get information and makerepparttar 124449 best deal they can." So design your trade show booth space in a business-like manner.

Ask open-ended questions. The biggest fault of trade-show participants is asking closed questions, according to Leslie. "Any question that can be answered in a yes or a no is detrimental to you establishing your product or service," he says. The reason is pretty simple. Prospects see closed questions as easy to avoid. They give you a "yes" or "no", and they keep on walking. That's not what you want. You want them to pause and think about your product. Make them stop and answer your question. Get them talking. Think of some good "openers" before you even get going.

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