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How to Strengthen Your Sales Funnel Via Trade Shows

11/15/2013 02:25 am ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

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Participating in a trade show generally requires a significant commitment of your time, money and resources. However, if you plan well, you can supercharge your sales funnel through trade shows.

At Jifflenow, we have powered meeting management solutions for dozens of Fortune 500 companies for the last few years at some of the major trade shows and conferences. We have observed the best practices followed by these companies on winning the mindshare battle at trade shows. This article will share some ideas from what we have learned so far.

A Quick Refresher on AIDA Model

One of the common models to describe a sales funnel is the AIDA model. AIDA an acronym for:

  • Awareness: Get the person to know that you exist.

  • Interest: Raise the person's interest about your offering.
  • Desire: Convince the person that your offer is what they need.
  • Action: Move them towards taking action to make the purchase.
  • Working with the Model

    Trade Shows provide an amazing opportunity to move your prospects and customers through this sales funnel. Here are some ideas to consider:

    1. Raising Awareness:

    Participation in a trade show provides a perfect excuse to touch those people in your list (prospects) that you have not touched for a while. A simple email asking whether they plan to be attending the trade show can break the ice and lead to a few more conversations either via email or it might even get upgraded to a phone conversation.

    A small percentage of the outreach will result in positive replies and some of them even may be attending the trade show giving you an opportunity to invite them to a meeting that will move them from Awareness to Interest.

    2. From Awareness to Interest:

    This is where all your investments in building thought leadership will come into full use. Here you are targeting people who are familiar with what you do but have not taken keen interest to take a deeper look. The core strategy here has to be "Education."

    Invite these people to one or more of the following:

    • Breakout sessions about trends in the industry
    • To meet with industry experts on your staff
    • Demonstrations of cool new product offerings
    etc.

    Conversations at these educational sessions can determine which of the prospects might move into the next sales stage.

    3. From Interest to Desire:

    This is where you are engaging with "real" prospects that have shown interest but have not decided to proceed with one or more of your offerings.

    The goal of your salespeople should be to get these "hot" prospects to meet with your star solution architects, product managers and combine them with one or more members of the management team.

    The agenda of those meetings has to be to discuss specific projects and opportunities how your offerings can bring a significant value to their present situation.

    4. From Desire to Action:

    This is where you are engaging with prospects that are in the "last mile" of discussing specific deals with your organization. This is also the "power play section of the trade show activity. You need to bring key management team members to show the commitment to the relationship.

    The goal of salespeople is to get the right decision makers from both ends (prospects and your organization) to the table. Not just that, they need to brief the internal team and arm them with all the information

    What Next?

    Think about the above for the next trade show you are planning to attend. What you have to work with is a superset of all the prospects that you can reach related to the topic of the trade show. Categorize these prospects into various buckets (A.I.D.A) and create a plan of attack to for each category of prospects to move them to the next stage in the sales cycle.