“Serious People, Serious Problems, Committed Budgets”

By Jeff Baker, posted on January 31, 2022

Jeff Baker chairs Future Branches

We’re talking Trade Shows again and why this could be the best Trade Show Season ever!

It might be hard to believe, but 2022 could be the year your face-to-face program delivers the best results ever. I know you’re skeptical, so bear with me.

Just 4 weeks ago, Image 4 attended our first in-person show since the pandemic began. We shipped our large exhibit and two staff from Manchester, NH to Austin, TX for a 3-day event. The organizers were quite up-front about the potential short-comings: sign-ups of exhibitors were down 30% from normal, attendee sign-ups were off 30% as well. And, Omicron was beginning to take hold in the Northeast, while Delta still hadn’t diminished in Texas. We fastened our seatbelts, projected disaster, and yet planned for success.

And what a success it was!

First, the absence of competitors allowed us to capture much more attention – no dilution of our message and positioning, because there were only two similar service providers on the show floor. You can’t buy that exclusivity in a “normal” market!

Second, because we are trade show professionals, we came with our “A” game – full “during the show” social media program, custom listing in the show app with direct links to our portfolio and a back-end notification of viewers, a fresh in-booth video, inexpensive and handy branded give-aways, and a completely fresh visual design and top-line positioning to our display. We had sent two email blasts to prospects, invited multiple customers and prospects to meet us there at the show, and practiced our introduction and “elevator pitch” until we owned it naturally and genuinely. Success favors the prepared, right?

Third, and this is the important note, attendees were immediately READY TO BUY. We garnered 23 “hot” leads, which is double our historic count. Of those, 6 were “call me tomorrow I have a project” connections – 26% of conversations were with attendees who were in immediate buying mode. That is well over 100% more than we usually garner. Best of all, all 6 took our subsequent call, and we have closed business with 3 entities within 4 weeks of the show – an ASTOUNDING 50% of “hot” leads. The long tail continues, as we’ve engaged with another 10 prospects and are tracking development now.

OK, so this might just be one show, in one industry, in one town. But wait…

Last week, we exhibited at a small, regional trade show in the same industry. The setup was almost identical. We brought our “A” game and experienced fewer suppliers (only 1 competitor), fewer attendees (about 35% off historical), and yet of 33 prospect organizations, 7 talked with us at length, shared pains, and 3 asked for immediate meetings. 10% of the entire attendance turned into HOT leads – again an astounding ratio.

We are also hearing similar stories from our clients who are thoughtfully venturing out to shows again. In manufacturing particularly, as well as in fancy food, medical technology, a bit of retail, and medical data, we are hearing the same thing – only serious people with serious problems and committed budgets are attending.

If your industry has shows or events through the summer and fall season, Image 4 is here, ready to support you in ramping up to meet these opportunities and close business. This is a perfect time to refresh your look, re-think your value proposition, show your prospects and clients that you’re thriving in the face of challenge. We encourage you to take advantage of the moment – our strategy and design teams are working daily, and are ready to help you present the best experience to your prospects, pre-show, at the show, and post-show.

Because today and into the future, “It’s About the Experience®”.