Next week we'll be attending the Footwear and Leather Expo at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre to sell our luxury, vegetable tanned, leather bags. It got me thinking about tradeshows some more and about other tips that one may find useful when embarking on this exciting endeavour.
If you haven't read my original post on pro tips for surviving a tradeshow, I highly recommend starting there and then returning to this post.
Not going to lie, the cost of a tradeshow can be exorbitant. Depending on the day I'd even argue it's extortion, but for this post we won't worry about that. Some fashion tradeshows may be too expensive for a new business to attend, but that doesn't mean you can't get there with a little hustle and luck.
What you should make a point of doing is contacting the management two weeks before the event. The reason is that if a spot at the tradeshow hasn't been sold, or if there's been a last minute cancellation, then they'll be scrambling to sell that spot at a lower rate. We've secured a 50% discount on a booth right by the front entrance of a tradeshow using this approach.
Now it can be a little unrealistic to plan for late space, but it certainly should be something you consider when hankering to get on board a tradeshow that's out of your budget.
Sounds sinister right?
It kind of is, but it also kind of isn't. In the end, buyers that attend tradeshows are human and they like things. They might even like a bag you sell quite a bit, but can't necessarily afford to purchase it themselves. Well, perhaps, I don't know, but like, maybe, they might enjoy a free bag in exchange for a wholesale order of bags to a particular company...
The choice is yours.
Some would argue it's the same as giving a celebrity freebies so they'll flaunt them for the media and get you free publicity. Others would say it's a bit pathetic and the product should stand on its own. We don't personally use the technique but we know it exists.
Follow Up Fast
You're at the event, everything is going great, you've secured several interested parties who you need to get in contact with shortly. Whatever you do, don't delay and don't adhere to their timeframe. If someone says call next Friday, call Wednesday. Always get in sooner than expected or requested because 90% of the time when someone tells you a day/time they're embellishing how busy they really are.
So follow up fast and get in touch as quickly as you possibly can. It's an essential element in turning an interest, into an appointment and then into a sale. The longer you leave somebody between meetings the colder and colder that lead is going to become. Don't waste good leads!
At most tradeshows, before the final hour draws near people are already dismantling booths and packing up stock. The numbers of attendees has dwindled and the energy is pretty much gone from the venue. But not from your booth.
The reason this time is the best time is that less people and less active booths means you can get more intimate and personal with those still around. What may have only been a five minute chat earlier in the day, can be a twenty minute conversation now that there's less distractions. The more time you can spend with someone, the better the connection and the more likely you'll get somewhere with them.
This is also a crucial time for a smaller brand as you're no longer going up against the same competition. When everyone else isn't trying as hard it becomes easier to push your head above the crowd.
There's really nothing better than attending a tradeshow. The excitement, the adrenaline, the thrill of a life lived fully. Hopefully, these tips and those mentioned in my previous pro tips blog for tradeshows can assist you in dominating your next event.
If you've got a great tradeshow story I'd love to hear it in the comments below.