Americas Food and Beverage Show & Conference
Oct 27 – Oct 28, 2014
Miami Beach, FL
The show is sponsored by the National Association of State Department of Agriculture (NASDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) worksto promote the export of U.S. agricultural products and reports on agricultural production and market development in all areas of the world.
Evaluation of Market Opportunities: Familiarize yourself with available trade show opportunities by compiling a list of scheduled international, national, regional, and local expos. Prioritize these expos to fall in line with your current marketing plans.
The number of expos which a company should consider participating in should be directly related to the staff’s ability to follow-up on leads attained from a show. If sales representatives or existing franchises are located in the selected markets, they should be made aware of the expo from the
planning stages. Franchisees should be prepared for an increase of prospective investor visits to their locations.
Pre-Show Promotions: Generally, show management is responsible for the attendance portion of the expo. However, once at the expo you can maximize your time and effort by taking some additional measures of your own that will draw attention to your booth. Remember you are competing with other franchisors that want to make an impact on the same prospect you are talking to.
Most franchisors already have existing prospects that qualify for their franchise prior to each expo. These prospects are already aware of your company’s participation. Knowing that someone has come to a franchise show is a good qualifier in itself but, knowing that someone has come to a
franchise show to see you specifically is a better one. The following are some types of pre-show promotions which have been successful.
Bigger Booths DO Get Bigger Response: The larger the booth space, the better the response only holds true when it has an adequate number of sales people to staff it. Also, the impression accredited to a larger professional booth projects a stronger company image with a commitment to separating yourself from the rest. When done correctly, a 200 sq.ft. space will average 280% more responses than a 100 sq.ft. space, and a 300 sq.ft. space will average 360% more responses than a 100 sq.ft. space. On the same level, a 400 sq.ft. space will average 832% more responses than a 100 sq.ft. space.
Hotel & Travel: Obtain the list of official hotels for each expo from show management. Assemble the list of authorized personnel assigned to the expo and arrange all hotel & travel reservations in advance. Often times, exhibitors don’t schedule their hotel & travel reservations until the last minute and they find themselves with out a room because all available “official hotels” are booked. Since show management has negotiated a rate for exhibitors involved in the expo, it is to your advantage to use the “official hotel” for all exhibit related functions.
Hotel Meeting Rooms: If the decision has been made to utilize a hotel meeting room, place a reservation with the “show” hotel early on. Include specific instructions in writing for tasks that need to be fulfilled by the hotel. Consider this your office for two to three days following an expo. Upon arrival, check assigned rooms for accessibility, and condition according to your specifications. Weigh the option of securing beverage and food supplies from an economical outside source.
Exhibit Accessories and Shipping Arrangements: Show management supplies each exhibitor with an official “decorators kit”. This contains information, prices and necessary forms for ordering ancillary products and services for the exhibit. Order electrical service, floor coverings, badges, extra tables and chairs, furniture, photographers, telephones, etc. in advance to take advantage of discounted prices. Set a date to confirm all orders.
Note and follow show instructions implicitly – they are for your benefit. By completing all necessary forms in advance, you will avoid extra handling charges. Arrange for adequate insurance coverage for your products and displays as well as general public liability.
Don’t overlook necessary tools such as: hammers, pliers, screw drivers, tape, velcro tabs, hooks, extension cords with adapter plugs, touch up paints and brushes in the exhibit shipment. Be sure to follow-up with the appropriate contractor for post-show shipment of your display.
Helpful Tips – Do’s & Don’ts
Exhibitors should always wear business dress standard for the industry. Wear older, comfortable shoes that your feet are used to.
Use the first few minutes to qualify prospects before starting a presentation or in-depth discussion. Then make a decision whether to continue or back off. Often, you will find yourself talking to an enthusiastic listener who could never be a buyer. Ask about buying interest within two to three
minutes. Complete your qualification process quickly while remaining polite and friendly.
Speak clearly and slowly – show floors are noisy. Maintain good eye contact with your prospect. They will feel uncomfortable and insulted if you allow yourself to transfer eye contact to attendees passing your booth. If you are speaking to more than one person, be sure to address each one of them equally. Stand with hands at sides or cupped below the waist. Folding arms across the chest puts attendees off. Hands in pockets imply “I don’t care.” Stand at all times. Expos are not for shy people, but a “huckster’s” approach won’t work either.
Take full details of every visitor whom you have identified as a prospect. Many exhibitors leave the expo without names, addresses and phone numbers, assuming their prospects will contact them later, only to be disappointed. Contacting your prospects after the expo will show your company’s professionalism. Use a properly designed “lead sheet” to record your discussions and information.
Posture, appearance and body language are vital. Don’t address a prospect sitting down unless you already led them to a sitting area. Never smoke, drink, eat or read in a booth. Never overcrowd the booth with too many sales people – all these things will cost you business.
Never say “Can I help you?” They may say “No.” Use lines that prompt answers that allow you to begin the qualifying process. Never start with “How are you today?” either, they know you’re not concerned for their health. Professionalism and sincerity are critical to your success at an expo.
Don’t chat with other booth staff, even during the quiet periods. Visitors will not wish to interrupt. Stay on the alert, close to the aisle, showing a willingness to help.
Restrict the handing out of valuable literature. By all means make a one-page handout available to every passer-by, but only provide your full prospectus to those whom have met your qualifying criteria. If you have a one page flyer, don’t lay them out in a design, because the visitors will not wish to disturb it.
Don’t forget to get written details from each prospect. Each of them will have many other discussions during the expo, so your ability to follow-up professionally and quickly will play an active role in their decision to do business with you.
Don’t wear yourself out in the evenings. Manning a booth is more exhausting than the inexperienced may realize, so restrict the nocturnal social activities.
Never “badmouth” your competitors, it will cost you dearly. Always highlight the features of what you are selling instead. If your prospect raises the subject of your competitors, acknowledge the comment then lead the conversation back to your advantage.
Follow-Up: The number one reason for failure at trade shows is exhibitors do not follow-up quickly and effectively.
It is essential that your first day back be considered another show day. Personally contact all prospects within a few days after the show, even if only to let them know that the information they requested is being sent. Don’t forget that prospects are speaking to other franchisors.
Many times exhibitors delay following-up on leads they worked hard to collect at a show and prospects that were once hot turn cold. Remember that you are competing with all other exhibiting systems, not just those in your specific industry.
Prospects attending the show you once felt were hot or warm but do not do anything should not be forgotten. Often exhibitors will close leads or bring them back to life several months after a show when they are ready. After all, investing in your own business is not an overnight decision.
Learn more about the 18th Annual Americas Food and Beverage Show & Conference