True or false: Trade shows can be awesome revenue generators. 

Hopefully, you answered “True!” All too often even smart teams fail to view them this way. They see trade shows as lead generators, rather than revenue generators. They can be both. If you follow the right trade show success strategies and work on your team’s trade show selling skills, you should be closing sales at trade shows in no time.


Who Is Your Ideal Buyer? 


Before you can close a sale, you have to make sure you’re talking to the right person. You can chat up Charlie from the Chocolate Factory as much as you want, but if you sell nutrition products, you’re wasting your time. Or maybe you’re talking to a company that you’re dying to have as a customer, but you’re barking up the wrong tree when it comes to roles. Amy in Accounting isn’t going to do you any favors when it’s a CMO who makes buying decisions. Talking to Amy may get you paid faster, but she won’t sign the contract.

This, of course, is a bit of a farce; you’re probably closer to the right audience than these examples are. But, the point remains the same: you need to narrow your focus even more. Just because there’s a high volume of people at the show doesn’t mean you want a high volume of leads. In fact, you don’t want that, because they won’t be a good fit for your business. So get focused. 

This means making sure you have clearly defined buyer personas, and know exactly who you want to talk to. Who actually purchases your product or services? And is there anyone else who helps influence that person? You might have a few types of people you want to target.  Whether it’s CEOs of midsize companies in the midwest or marketing managers of enterprise brands nationwide, make sure you’ve vetted the attendee list before you go and narrowed it down to this targeted group.  


Closing Sales at Trade Shows

You know who your ideal buyer is, and you know who among a trade show’s attendee list fit those criteria. You have your eye on the prize. Now, it’s time to do the following: 


Align with Marketing

We know. Sales and marketing have historically not always seen eye to eye. You have your budget and they have theirs. You have your idea of what a qualified lead is and they have theirs. This can create dysfunction worse than what you’d find at a family reunion. But in order to close sales at the trade show, you’ve got to work through your issues with marketing ahead of time. 

Marketing is responsible for producing the collateral you’ll give prospects at the show, and for sending pre-show emails and mailers. You’ve got to be in sync with them on who your ideal buyer is and what messages matter to them, or else you’ll be confusing your audience. Maybe it’ll take a simple conversation to get your teams on the same page; maybe it’ll take years of couples counseling. Whatever it takes, just make sure it happens. 


Reduce Friction

People are lazy! Yes, we said it. And it’s true. No matter how much you crush it with your trade show sales pitch or how awe-inspiring your booth design is, a complicated sales process will kill any deals before they begin. People want things to be easy, straightforward, and fast. Don’t make them fill out endless forms like they’re at a doctor’s office, or ask them to make too many choices. The easier it is for them to become a customer, the more likely you’ll close the sale. 

Depending on your products or services, this can take many forms. Maybe your product requires customization before use. Offer them help to customize it during the trade show, so they can get home and start using it right away. Or perhaps you sell expensive business workshops and it’s challenging to convince people to give you a try. Reduce the barrier to entry, and offer a free, 30-minute sneak preview of a course onsite during the trade show. 


Offer Social Proof

People are social animals, and we need to know that others are bought into something before we feel totally comfortable trying it ourselves. Think of lemmings. We’re kind of like them. But it’s ok – because most of your customers are going to be entrusting you with their money and time. They need to know it’ll be worth it! One of the best ways to show that it will is by having nicely designed case studies on hand that are relevant to your ideal buyers’ pain points (and of course paint you as the hero you are).  


Try these tips at your next trade show to help you start closing deals onsite. Interested in more trade show help? We’d love to talk