Participating in a science vendor show can be a rewarding experience for laboratory suppliers looking to connect with research audiences. It gives you the chance to network with top-level decision makers, and it puts you in front of prospects who could wind up doing business with your company for many years in the future. Having said that, how do you make the most of your investment of time and money? How do you maximize this sales opportunity? How do you assure attendees make that important connection with you and not your competitor across the way?
Personal and Booth Appearance
The first thing potential customers notice as they enter a vendor show is the array of booths and tables. This means that the appearance of your display is critical to your vendor show success. In particular pay attention to:
- Displays- These draw the customer’s attention to your table and make it easy for them to identify the product they are looking for. Be sure to prominently identify your company's name and highlight the products and services you are currently promoting. Recognition of your name and logo will generally trigger a response of familiarity that makes you more approachable, so capitalize on the presence you already have in the lab.
- Corporate Tablecloth- Shows your company as credible, professional and organized.
- Free Giveaways- To increase traffic and enthusiasm, free T-shirts, product samples, or small gifts make it easy for the researchers to stop by and make it easy for you to engage with them. (Note: giveaways generally must abide by on-site or on-campus policies--check with show management if you have questions).
- Your appearance – Though you should always be well-groomed, your attire (as well as hair and makeup) can be tailored to the venue and its level of formality. What passes for normal in Santa Barbara will differ from the standard in Manhattan. Be accessible.
Once you have attracted the researcher to your booth with free giveaways and engaging displays, it is crucial that you have a knowledgeable professional available to educate researchers about your products, answer questions and provide solutions to their current research challenges. The following behaviors from that knowledgeable professional can improve the quality and quantity of positive and productive interactions you have with the researchers present at the event.
- Give Your Full Attention – Make eye contact, smile, and say hello. If you are on the phone, computer, or other wireless device, get off. The value of face-to-face contact rests on your availability and should always take precedence over an electronic communication you may be carrying on. (It’s also polite.)
- Keep it about their needs - The customer has a lot of products to see and people to meet in a relatively short time, and likely has specific research challenges. Be positive, professional, and go into listening and problem-solving mode quickly if they indicate they are looking for answers. If they are stopping by for general information, be sure to keep the take home message clear.
- Don't Push It- Remember you are there to promote your brand, educate your audience and build long term relationships with your customers. Make a favorable impression so that, even if they don't buy it at this vendor show then they keep you in mind for the future. Scientists and lab managers may not operate in the business mindset you do, and the hard sell may be perceived as offensive and put them off.
Now that the customer is at your booth and has learned about your company, your products and the solutions you have to offer, it's important to follow up quickly, and follow up on a regular basis. Trade show industry statistics show time and time again that the majority of trade show leads are not followed up on at all.
- Vendor Show Special Offers - If you create a special offer that is available only at the Vendor Show you create an incentive for them to buy it immediately. However, we recommend extending the offer at least 2-4 weeks beyond the event to include time for in-lab demos, analyzing data, and completing necessary paperwork. Use this time for proactive follow-up by phone and email.
We want you to have the very best science vendor show experience possible. Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. offers Vendor Shows for laboratory supply companies and invites participation to qualified suppliers at each of over 70 local vendor shows in top research communities nationwide. See our 2012 Show Schedule, explore our website, and call our knowledgeable sales staff for more information.