Trade Shows: The Main Event
After your trade show plan is in place, it’s time to show up, suit up, and follow up.
By Bill Neal, CDT
With some of the most prominent national and international dental meetings quickly approaching, trade show season is officially upon us. This month and next will have attendees flocking to the Chicago Dental Society’s Midwinter Meeting, the 34th International Dental Show, and the Thomas P. Hinman Dental Meeting, among others.
All of these shows provide excellent venues to promote your laboratory and its services, to improve your rapport with current clients, and to develop new business relationships. Make an impression by acting professionally and promptly at the booth and after the show.
Promote Your Brand
You have probably spent a considerable sum of money promoting your business in the past. Do not forget to adhere to the look and feel of your brand. The appropriate colors, benefit statements, imagery, proper samples, professionally designed handouts, and a well-designed booth with attractive graphics will all help to get attention. Just make sure you do not modify the brand you have already established.
It is easy to try to cut back on expenses by limiting the number of employees manning the booth, but your company could ultimately lose out if understaffed at a show. Convention attendees do not like to wait around to talk with someone from your organization, so make sure your booth is adequately staffed. Staff should be properly trained, and if the booth gets busy, make sure someone is available to request that lead cards be filled out. Your staff should also dress appropriately for the trade show. Logo attire or coat and tie are most common and present a good image for your company.
Nothing is more frustrating than going to a trade show and never receiving the information promised at a booth. Yet, this happens all the time. Failing to deliver promised materials is the best way not to get a new customer—prompt follow-up is critical in the sales process.
At the end of the day, review lead cards, business cards, and your notes. Call the laboratory and have someone send the requested materials the same day or the next morning. The timely arrival of requested information or materials shows the potential customer you are very interested in doing business, and that you follow through with your promises.
There are many resources available online and through various companies that can help you prepare for a successful trade show. These are just a few suggestions that can help you make trade show attendance pay off for your company.
About the Author
Bill Neal, CDT, is president of AMG Creative, Inc. in Fort Collins, Colorado. For tips on budgeting and preparing before the show, read his article “Trade Show Planning” on www.dentalaegis.com/idt.