Avoiding and bridging simple disconnects with exhibitors is extremely beneficial to the health of your exhibitor sales.
There’s no better feeling in exhibitor sales than being on the exact same page as your clients. When you know and understand what an exhibitor needs and precisely what you can offer to meet them, everything seems to fall into place. But what does being “on the same page” really mean? Does it mean that at the beginning of every conversation you have to re-establish exactly what page that is? Or does it mean that both you and your client each move at your own respective speeds and then try to reconcile the difference later? Of course not! Yet it's not uncommon for exhibition organizers to allow these scenarios to happen over and over again.
So, how do you keep things from falling through the cracks? The root of most exhibitor sales problems are a series of simple disconnects throughout the relationship. Disconnects cause us to end one conversation heading the same direction, then start the next on opposite sides of the map. Here’s a look at some of the most common and inhibitive disconnects that exhibition managers struggle with and how to start bridging the gaps.
The “what was that again?” exhibitor sales disconnect
Nothing stalls momentum quicker than having to re-learn an exhibitor’s needs, wants, and expectations before every conversation. The moment that you need an exhibitor to explain for a second or third time what it is they want and where they are in the process, you look forgetful, uncaring and unreliable. If you want to avoid making exhibitors feel like just another number, you need to be armed with the tools to keep things moving forward at every point of contact. That’s why integrated event management software is so valuable. It’s the easiest way to instantly access all of the data and history associated with your clients so that you are always informed and aligned. Not only does this save you time, it makes your exhibitors trust in your capability and feel valued. That’s what leads to the kind of relationships that are perennially successful.
Having a single source of the truth enables you to position yourself as a resource to the customer. In exhibitor sales, we all know that when the client views you as an expert resource they're more likely to work with you now and again in the future.
The “connect” disconnect
It sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s something that regularly makes exhibitors hesitant. It’s that routine communication that’s simply meant to keep the connection with exhibitors alive, but it just doesn’t click. It’s happened to all of us — you see a targeted ad promoting something that you would never care about and you wonder “why are they advertising this to me? They must not know me very well.” That’s the same feeling that exhibitors get when you push irrelevant content out to them. Not only does it fail to generate sales for the exhibition you’re organizing, it might also prevent sales for future exhibitions as clients wonder whether or not you actually know who they are. Tailoring your communications and promotions to only those that are relevant saves everyone time and reinforces the mutual understanding that fosters a positive business relationship.
Exhibitor sales require communication. This — more than ever before — happens electronically. It's imperative that you understand who your client is and what messages they are most likely to respond to. This is another example of why having a single source of the truth can be so valuable.
The website disconnect
Exhibition management is all about sales, and sales is all about relationships. No matter how strong and communicative your relationship is with an exhibitor, they’re always going to utilize your website for information. Whether it’s the first impression or the hundredth, your website can make or break a sale. Incomplete show information, confusing layouts and rigid navigation are more likely to cause an exhibitor to just give up altogether rather than call and try to find the information they’re looking for. Not only can great, intuitive websites keep a successful opportunity on the right track, it can generate sales that would otherwise remain on the fence. When exhibitors can quickly and easily select spaces and preferences and view floorplans and data, they’re more likely to remain positive about their experience with your show.
Your website is the face of your organization online. If your organization fails to properly position itself in the digital realm, it's likely that your missing out on opportunities that you don't even know about. There are few things that can help more with lead generation than a well optimized website.
Here are some examples of well optimized websites.