EXHIBITORS - Check Your URL
How many of you have a corporate web site? Everybody says "Yes".
How many of you know its proper URL? OK, most of you.
How many of you have read everything on the web site? Numbers are dropping like stones here. How many of you contributed information on the web site? Anybody there?
When was the last time you looked at the section related to your business segment? A year ago when it first went up? Has your business progressed since then? Does anybody know it?
Why am I asking so many questions? Because serious exhibit attendees can answer all of these questions about your business.
I'm seeing more sophisticated prospects and buyers at shows - and where did they get the information - those questions that stump you? From your very own web site.
How Do You Shop on the Web?
Think about how you get info off the web and what you do with it. Do you buy a car directly (a few) or do you "shop" for information, and then go kick the tires, dicker and deal.
Generally, you'll buy based on these three levels of comfort
1. You've done business with its brick-and-mortar or mail order operation (The Gap, Lands End).
2. You have faith in the legitimacy of the site based on reputation (i. e., Amazon. com).
3. The site is clear, the product meets your need and you feel it's a fair deal.
Same thing with attendees. Except thatat a trade show, they're not walking the aisles to just unexpectedly happen upon you. They have an agenda, and it's often because of the Internet.
They have the list of exhibitors and have evaluated your firm by its web site. Now, at the show, they have the opportunity to meet with you first hand, to review literature, see demonstrations, sample product, test your knowledge, and be steps closer to closing a deal with you.
First Appearances Count
What happens if you don't know what's on your web site and the attendee does?
1. You appear uninformed about your own firm. Attendees consider that you are not a serious player
2. Your company appears to take the trade show lightly because you are not properly trained by your firm. It's a waste of the attendee's time and effort.
In essence, if I - as the attendee - take the time to narrow down my list of potential partners, including your firm, and you - as the company's representative - don't know as much about your firm as I do - well, Bubba, I think I'll pass. You have to have very compelling reasons for me to do business with a firm that is less informed about itself than I am about it.
Why is this critical? As trade shows draw more international clients, I see foreign firms sending high-level decision-makers who have spent time to evaluate firms based on web information. They come with a preselected list of potential partners. And, I see US firms still sending Junior Execs who think "being cute" or "knowing the buzzwords" or having a "great booth" or "super prize" will win a deal.
Words to the Wise
So, when you select your staff for the next show, make sure one of the requirements is familiarity with your own web site. Often, it's the first and most critical step an attendee has to evaluate your firm before actually meeting you on the show floor.
Julia O'Connor - Speaker, Author, Consultant - writes about practical aspects of trade shows. As president of Trade Show Training, inc,, now celebrating its 10th year, she works with companies in a variety of industries to improve their bottom line and marketing opportunities at trade shows.
Julia is an expert in the psychology of the trade show environment and uses this expertise in sales training and management seminars.