by Lisa Michaels, guest columnist
If your company has recently missed an opportunity due to a trade show cancellation or the postponement of another event, it can have a significant effect on your bottom line.
This is especially true for manufacturers who market products and services to construction, industrial or similar markets.
Trade shows are a huge opportunity to promote your company, connect with potential clients, do demonstrations and network for referral opportunities. Therefore, if you miss one, you need a way to make up for the loss of revenue and business benefits.
In this article, we will discuss several ways to do damage control for these missed opportunities. With these strategies, you can turn a bad situation into something that helps your company grow instead.
Without further ado, let’s get started:
Deploy Your Sales Reps
When a business event gets cancelled, many potential clients that you were going to meet are now disengaged.
You should get your sales reps to reconnect with these companies and attempt to maintain the relationship and gain new sales deals. Here are some ways you can do that:
- Phone Campaigns – When you can’t get in front of prospects face to face in a conference or trade show, the next best thing is to get your sales team on the phone. You can re-engage conversations and build up the relationships to prime your prospects for new deals.
- Door Knocking – Where it is allowed, you can send your sales team to physically visit offices or manufacturing plants. This puts a face to the name and personalizes your company.
- LinkedIn Searching – LinkedIn is essential for finding out which influencers and decision makers to contact for your sales team.
- Perfecting the Sales Pitch – Make sure that your team is not just winging it. Write down a sales script that is proven to drive consistent results and continuously put your team to the task of practicing it.
A systematic approach will ensure that the relationships with those companies don’t fizzle out.
Create Alternative Product Launch Strategies
You may have had big plans to launch a new product line at the trade show. However, you are faced with a situation you cannot change, and the best you can do is adapt.
The best path forward is to leverage new and unique product launch strategies that cater to the digital realm:
- Live Virtual Events for Select Audiences – If you are unable to do a trade show in person, hold live events virtually This allows you to engage your audience, answer questions, and still collect information.
- High-Quality Product Videos – Create high-quality videos that demonstrate exactly what your products can do differently than the competition to differentiate yourself in the marketplace.
- Email Marketing Campaigns – Email marketing is a great way to speak directly to your client base without relying on another platform. Send promotions, ask for feedback, and stay top of mind with automated campaigns.
When done right, digital marketing strategies can be a great substitute for in-person events and provide novel ways for you to get to know your audience.
Create 1-on-1 Appointments
There are definite benefits to large in-person events. You can have a large audience to cater to, which increases exposure. However, many industrial sales cycles are long and arduous, so they are better suited for 1-on-1 conversations instead of large crowds.
You can structure and schedule these personal appointments and consultations as follows:
- Qualifying Questions – You need to start by finding out if your customers are qualified. Ask them if they have a need for your product, what their purchasing cycle is like and if they like what you have to offer.
- Ask for the Appointment – If the person proves qualified, it is time to go for the appointment. Set a specific time and attempt to bring all decision makers on the call at the same time to avoid delays.
- Redefine the Problem – When actually performing the appointment, be sure to restate the problem that is being solved to highlight the value of your product.
- Present Your Solution – Show the specific benefits and features of your product with live demonstrations to wow your customers.
- Overcome Objections – Every sales pitch will need to overcome objections. Be sure you are prepared for the most common ones with rebuttals, particularly when it comes to price, time and feature objections.
- Trial Close – It can be helpful to “check the temperature” of your prospect by reviewing how they feel about what they have seen so far and checking if they are on board.
- Close – At the end of the day, you need to ask for the sale directly. Be sure your team is equipped with multiple closing techniques depending on the situation.
- Follow-up – Most sales won’t happen in one appointment. Be prepared to email, call or visit prospects multiple times to make the sale happen.
Making the best of these techniques is particularly important when you’re trying to make up for the losses caused by cancelled trade shows, but they are useful in any situation.
Reinvest Your Budget in Other Channels
The opportunity for your live event or trade show may have passed, but look on the bright side: you can reinvest the money you were going to use for this into other channels and presentation options.
Here are some alternative channels to use:
- Facebook – Create passive branding to stay in front of your customers with paid Facebook ads. You can also hold virtual events — but be sure you’re using the right strategy. They can be immensely helpful in emulating a trade show without the overhead costs.
- Twitter – Constantly put your brand personality on the line, so your customers know who they’re dealing with.
- Professional Networks – Have a strong presence on networks like LinkedIn, Jobcase, or Lunchmeet by releasing product information and other helpful advice.
- Instagram – The visual medium of Instagram is great for showing just what your product can do. Your market may not use this platform very often, but it’s worth maintaining an official account, as it is one of the most popular social networks, with rising popularity.
Social media offers a world of possibilities when it comes to positioning yourself in the minds of your audiences.
In the following section, we’ll look at some ways to use social media to your advantage.
Leverage Social Media Well
If you use social media correctly, it can help you boost your company’s bottom line. However, many companies use these channels in all the wrong ways. Here is how to promote your company via social media without making key mistakes:
- Reach Out to Influencers – Getting your product into the hands of influencers is a great way to build trust. Your customers can see your product in action and build their desire to purchase it.
- Stay Consistent – Don’t just post every once in a while, as if on a whim. Develop a schedule so that those who follow your social channels know what to expect and don’t get disappointed.
- Give Before Asking – A good rule of thumb is to provide a lot of value in terms of features, demonstrations, and helpful tips for the majority of our online content. Then, once in a while, you can do an online sales promotion.
Providing value, being consistent, and connecting with the right people are the keys to a successful social media strategy.
Trade shows are huge money-making opportunities, especially for companies that cater to the industrial or manufacturing market. However, due to the post-COVID world that we are living in, fewer live events are possible.
You may have had to cancel an event or miss another opportunity recently. If so, your business revenues might have taken a dive. That does not mean you should give up.
Instead, there are key strategies mentioned above that can help you make up lost ground.
So, implement the methods in this article to promote your business, connect with your market, and keep your business KPIs on track for this quarter, this year and moving forward.
Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor, and a thriving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in business and tech. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.