Finding ways to generate interest in your brands at a trade show goes beyond just stating that you will be present and are open for business.
Here is a guide to what you should be focusing on as you prepare, attend and wind-down from a trade event.
Pre-Event In order to fully take advantage of the time you spend at trade shows, it is important to promote the fact that you will be attending the event. Create excitement and start prospecting. Show the trade you are investing in their market and that you are ready to do what it takes to generate a successful sales network. Request visitor lists from the event organizer and starts networking way in advance. If you can’t get a list from the organizers, actively seek out information on who is attending through social networks, like LinkedIn and Twitter, as you communicate your intent to be there as well. Ask for meetings from key accounts before, during or after the show. The moment you arrive in the city, you should have your calendar filled with meetings. The more meetings you have, the easier it will be for you to land the distribution agreement you are looking for.
At the event
When you are at your booth, you should always try and understand your visitor and talk about them, not you. It is important to connect on a personal level. Craft a few 30-second pitches that you can deliver after you understand their profile. Your pitch should accurately describe how your brand is positioned to succeed in their market and your focus should be on getting a sit-down meeting with them in the near feature. A good way to approach your event participation is to prepare your pitches around a door opener SKU for which you can really tell your story.
It should be at a very good price point for their market, highly awarded and should always highlight your unique selling proposition. Don’t try and sell all of your brands at once. Talk to visitors about how you are there to invest in the market and help them support the brand with market work and store tastings to grow sales. Offer to buy them lunch and ask for a sit-down meeting. Have a trade packet that includes point of sale examples, pictures of case-displays, and testimonials of proven history from other importers and distributors. It’s also good practice to stay active on social media throughout the event to try and drive traffic to your booth as well as to connect with recent contacts you've made. Remember – for an importer and a distributor, you are just another case of wine. The bottom line is that dollar per case multiplied by how fast that case moves is the ONLY thing distributors are worried about. That’s their business.
Don’t forget to follow up with all of your new contacts. Send thank you emails within 48 hours in which you confirm or set up a meeting. Try and create a funnel where you end up doing 20 meetings at each stage of the event. Whether it is pre, at or post show, this should result in you sending 10-20 proposals, which will hopefully translate into 5 solid prospects and ultimately one to two sales. Trade shows are all about networking. Buyers aren’t going to simply taste your product and sign a distribution agreement on the spot. If you don’t try and set meetings you won’t get anything out of attending! This information should help you understand how to successfully approach trade shows.
Looking to grow your distribution in the USA?
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