Cutting trade show budgets can be a mistake: as trade show season continues, use these expert tips from trade show coach Susan Friedmann for making the most of your time and pulling in sales – Trade Show 101 – management techniques and

Cutting trade show budgets can be a mistake: as trade show season continues, use these expert tips from trade show coach Susan Friedmann for making the most of your time and pulling in sales – Trade Show 101 – management techniques and theory – Brief Article

Susan Friedmann

Whenever a recession threatens the economy, companies immediately look at where they can cut budgets, especially in training and marketing.

This is a myopic way of thinking, especially for companies who want to remain globally competitive. Instead, when resources are under severe scrutiny, look at this as a golden opportunity to analyze your strategies. Put your activities under a microscope and closely examine what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. What can you do to maintain a steady balance? Marketing and training are definitely keys to your success. Here are five benefits to trade show participation.

1. Analyze your weakest links

When you take time to examine your operation in more detail, you often discover that many of your actions are done out of habit rather than being productive and profitable. Think about some of the shows that you attend. How do they really fit into your marketing strategy? Put all your energy into more profitable events that attract larger quantities of your target market.

Another weak budgetary link is associated with excessive employee spending at shows, such as dining at the finest restaurants and ordering the highest-priced items just because the boss is paying. Consider setting up a per diem allowance and make employees accountable for expenses. You might even reward them with the difference if they underspend their stipend.

2. Exhibit a mindset of global competitiveness

To be a contender in the global marketplace and establish positioning, you have to be out there come rain or shine. And trade shows signify an essential marketing strategy when it comes to visibility. Exhibiting demonstrates that you’re a serious player in the industry. However tough, it’s important to keep trade shows as one of your major promotional strategies. Consider reducing space rather than totally pulling out of a show. Unfortunately, if you stop exhibiting completely, the “buzz” on the show floor says publicly that you must be in financial trouble. This may be completely false, but it’s people’s perceptions that count. As the old adage states, “out of sight, out of mind.” If you’re not seen, how can you possibly be remembered?

3. Focus on long-term results

Investing in both marketing and training means that you’re interested and willing to focus on long-term results. Neither is designed to give a “quick fix,” rather using them continuously in an organized and planned manner will produce results. They’re like a dripping faucet: as long as the drops constantly fall into the tub, it will fill up. However, if you maintain a “turn on, turn off” approach, that is train and market in times of plenty and discontinue when there’s a shortage, your results are likely to mirror your actions. Look at how you can keep an operational equilibrium to avoid highs and lows. Develop a consistent marketing and training strategy.

4. Inspire loyal workers

Often companies are reluctant to invest too much in training staff for fear that once trained, they’ll leave for “greener pastures.”

That’s always going to be a risk, but does that mean you shouldn’t develop your people to be the best they can be? Absolutely not. The reasons employees leave may be many. Employees may leave because of frustration or stress. They might feel unappreciated or undervalued. They might believe your company is heading for an iceberg and want to “jump ship” before it sinks. Maybe they feel their salaries are not in line with their performance. Or they could feel that they don’t have enough authority, growth opportunities or direction in their careers. Training is often the key to help inspire loyalty.

5. Improve performance

Employees are the backbone of your company. The relationship between employees and employers has to be a partnership; if they feel their needs are being ignored, they will leave you. But when both sides work on the same wavelength and share the same goals and ideas, the company will be on the right track for success. What better place than the trade show floor to exhibit this mentality?

Your exhibit staff represents your internal customer-service team and your company ambassadors. They stand for your entire organization. These people have the awesome responsibility of making or breaking future relationships with attendees, prospects and customers. Their attitude, body language, appearance and knowledge help to create positive or negative perceptions in the minds of visitors. Make sure that they’re well trained and can do what you expect of them. Training shows that you recognize your team’s importance in the company and look to develop their skills to improve performance.

Exhibiting is a powerful extension of your company’s marketing strategy and your people are the backbone of your company. Eliminating your marketing and training budgets during times of recession is tantamount to profitability suicide. So consider looking at other places to make those cuts.

5 benefits

to trade show participation

(1) Analyze your weakest links

(2) Exhibit a global competitiveness

mindset

(3) Focus on long-term results

(4) Inspire loyal workers

(5) Improve performance

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