Guest post by Tifany Scifo.
Trade shows are a great place to generate new B2B leads and reinforce existing relationships—and the bigger the show, the greater the opportunity.
However, even though the convention center is rife with opportunity, it’s equally overflowing with your direct competitors. With so many products and services on display, each more enticing than the last, how can you possibly hope to get a leg up?
First, understand what factors motivate buyers.
Unfortunately, in spite of the sales-conducive environment of a trade show, sales are by no means a guarantee (imagine if they were!). Since there’s no crystal ball capable of divining a buyer’s mind, the only thing left to do is to take a step back and try to understand that which drives the buying decision in the people you’re selling to.
Trade show buyers tend to come prepared.
Unlike the typical retail buyer, B2B customers typically spend a significant amount of time researching the products or services they’re most interested in even before they arrive at the trade show. This means that the person approaching your trade show display probably has a pretty good top-level understanding of how your product works and potentially how it could aid them in their business.
Armed with this awareness can help your team quickly sift through the known information and deliver value added insights that might have been difficult for the customer to glean from the the content on your website.
Customers seek a personalized solution.
This means that a generalized, “one size fits all” marketing strategy is arguably a bad approach to selling to the B2B customer. In fact, when asked why they chose one solution over another, companies overwhelmingly favored sellers who possessed the ability to demonstrate a keen understanding of the impact the solution will have on the buyer’s business.
They also favored sellers who demonstrated a better understanding of the needs of their business as a whole, as well as their ability to prove how purchasing their product will deliver a return on their investment for their specific business. In short, knowing who you’re selling to is just as important as knowing about what you’re trying to sell.
Like the B2B customer, it’s important to do some research prior to attending the trade show. Learn about some of the key buyers who will be in attendance and take some time to tailor your information to their industry and, perhaps more specifically, to their business (this approach works particularly well when used in conjunction with a targeted email marketing campaign, designed to draw specific companies to your trade show booth).
B2B customers don’t fly solo when making buying decisions.
Though there are undoubtedly exceptions to the rule, it’s safe to say the prospects visiting your trade show booth aren’t the only ones involved in the buying decision. Generally speaking, one can assume that there are at least five people involved in the decision to buy your product, so you can’t realistically expect to close the majority of your sales on the trade show floor.
Knowing this, you’ll want to keep the avenue of communication with the company rep you developed a relationship with in your trade show booth, but it’s also important not to forget those buyers that aren’t in attendance. This means finding a way to extend your marketing message beyond the trade show; this can be achieved by creating valuable content on your website, posting trade show video content, and staying connected on social media.
Discover the buyer’s hidden motivations.
While the strategies listed above can be applied pretty much universally to any buyer, it’s also important to note that many buyers possess hidden motivations that can be difficult to unearth. This doesn’t mean that you need to have a degree in psychology or an otherworldly understanding of human behavior, you simply need to listen.
As you build a relationship, you’ll eventually get a sense of what drives or motivates them. Are they risk averse? Are they financially motivated to stay under budget at all costs? Are they looking for a competitive edge to set them apart in the eyes of their own customers?
Unfortunately, the list of possible motivations is more or less infinite, so they can be difficult to tease out early on in the relationship. The good news is that even if you aren’t able to pinpoint the specific factor driving your buyer, your attempt to better understand them and more importantly, their business, will not go unnoticed.
Tifany Scifo is the Creative Marketing Manager at Reveal Marketing Group Inc. She specializes in Web Design & Development, Creative Design & Direction and Tradeshows. She enjoys sharing her thoughts through blogging and social media.