Every trade show is a chance to engage with potential customers you may never have the opportunity to win over again. With just under half of trade show attendees (45%) visiting only one exhibition annually—and just over half (56%) traveling over 400 miles to attend—these events present a buying-ready audience like no other. The right meeting scheduling tool can be your key to success in these situations.
You need an effective engagement strategy to stay ahead of competitors and effortlessly cover costs. Excel sheets, manual data collection and one-dimensional meeting schedulers are obsolete in today’s efficient tech-driven environment. You need—and can get—better.
Let’s unpack some winning strategies to maximize trade show potential for your business.
The Profile of Winnable Walk-Ins
Trade shows are extremely valuable for meeting high-quality prospects, building the right connections, and nurturing promising leads.
Trying to manage multiple interactions in a limited time and realizing which attendees to prioritize can be challenging. But by knowing what to look for, you can ensure you make strategic connections with the right people.
To determine winnable walk-ins, identify the following characteristics about attendees through surveys, observing their behavior and engagement during the booth tour.
- Hold buying power within a company
- Are actively looking for solutions to a problem to negotiate a deal
- Have a specific goal in mind when attending a show
- Match your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile)
- Seek specific information from an expert in the given field
In addition to focusing your efforts on attendees who match this profile, you need to offer a strategically aligned—and memorable—experience that stands out from the crowd. The right meeting scheduling tool will help you optimize prospect information.
Strategies to Turn Walk-Ins Into Business Wins
To maximize tradeshow ROI, start with a clear strategy and actionable steps from the beginning.
1. Attract and Engage the Right Walk-Ins to Your Booth
Clearly define your target audience and tailor your booth tour to their needs and interests. This ensures you attract the right walk-ins and improve the attendee experience.
You never want to harass people to visit your booth; you want to attract them—let your display do the talking. To pull in the right people, ensure your display exudes what you are all about.
Sleek, eye-catching displays and high-quality visuals are particularly impactful in capturing customer attention. Furthermore, allowing 3D visual imagery to take center stage also makes a strong first impression and draws visitor attention and engagement.
Other design strategies to create a booth unlike anyone else’s include:
- Video walls to provide greater context
- Selfie walls
- Transforming the booth into a tiny house, garden, or mini 3D theatre—keeping consistent with your brand
- Interactive displays and augmented reality experiences
Create a welcoming space, let your booth breathe, and engage proactively to gauge every attendee’s goal.
2. Use a Meeting Scheduling Tool for Seamless Booking
Besides being error-prone, sometimes illegible, and easy to misplace, archaic pen and paper recording methods have another major pitfall—sloppy first impressions.
The way you conduct engagements at your booth reflects how you conduct business. With a digitally savvy, high-tech meeting scheduling tool, you immediately create the impression that you are all about efficient processes and a streamlined experience.
Consider an attendee that wants to book a meeting. Once entering and submitting their details at a booth kiosk, they instantly receive an SMS to confirm their appointment. Or—on the other hand, you could take down their information on a piece of paper (after they’ve waited in line) and call them next Monday to schedule an appointment.
The paper method has a clear disadvantage. By the time you call your prospect, they’ve likely already had a meeting with your digitally-savvy booth neighbor on the day of the show.
Some more effective ways to take the lead and reach quality attendees first are to:
- Designate specific team members in your booth to help identify winnable walk-ins—and help those individuals to book meetings.
- Set up a self-service or attended kiosk in close proximity to foot traffic for easy use.
- Send out a tablet-wielding team member who can spot highly-qualified connections and book them elsewhere on the trade show floor.
A meeting scheduling tool centralizes all bookings in one place, regardless of whether requests are captured on a tablet with a sales rep or at a kiosk. Team members receive automated meeting reminders and can find all the relevant information in a single hub to prepare adequately with the best strategy for each scenario.
3. Make Sure to Capture the Right Information
Not having sufficient information about your prospect before a meeting can result in a poor experience. To maximize every opportunity, you must ensure each prospect meets with the right topic expert or executive. In addition, you want someone with the negotiating power to finalize a deal if necessary.
Forget back-and-forth emails to find out the prospect’s goals, interests, and to confirm a meeting location, time, and date. An efficient meeting scheduling tool will capture and automate all this info in a single interaction. This is crucial to minimize no-shows.
The prospect is invited to fill out a customized form with the relevant information to book a meeting. The form additionally allows them to choose an available time slot.
On submission, their details are automatically matched with the relevant salesperson, and they receive an automated meeting confirmation. The time slot is instantly booked on the meeting scheduling tool central hub to prevent double bookings.
4. Establish a Post-event Engagement Plan
Although the trade show is critical to making the first connection, the real work of customer conversion starts after the event.
A meeting scheduling tool can simplify and streamline this process immensely. This means faster sales closures and a better customer experience, ensuring you engage your prospects before the competition.
A meeting scheduling tool ensures your entire team has all the relevant information ready post-event to hit the ground running, automatically capturing, sorting, and categorizing client data in real time.
Easy integration with your current CRM, email platforms, and marketing automation software will also save your team hours of manual work. You can share relevant meeting and customer data across sales and marketing teams, enabling them to personalize every customer touchpoint.
Turn Walk-Ins Into Wins With the Right Meeting Scheduling Tool
While trade shows are valuable for building strategic connections, they are also chaotic and exhausting. Staying on your game to impress and nurture relationships with winnable walk-ins requires the right tools.
Cutting-edge meeting scheduling software can streamline and automate the entire process: from identifying the right prospects and booking meetings to managing meeting venue availability.