Much like when you build a house, being a successful exhibitor at a trade show like the Western States Horse Expo or The Mane Event, takes planning, forethought, and vision. A solid foundation, the right tools, and a good set of plans are essential to the success of the house (it has to remain standing) and for being a successful exhibitor at the Western States Horse Expo too!
The cornerstones of success are simple:
- Have a great PRODUCT!
- Offer it at a great PRICE!
- Be sure of show off the product with a great PRESENTATION!
It is really that simple to be successful!
Now, let us dig a little deeper into the formula for success when exhibiting at the Western States Horse Expo. The first rule of success is to know what your customers want (not just what you want to sell them) which is really half the battle. Figure out how to fit it into your exposition plans, and give it to them!
- PRODUCT – Have enough inventory on hand, or be able to take on an increased level of orders so you can satisfy your customers quickly. If your product is large or cumbersome, recommend the Park Your Package booth (it helps charity) and be ready with samples or coupons to encourage action!
- IMPULSE – Attendees are in a “buy it now” state of mind. Many of them plan and budget to get what they want from you at the Western States Horse Expo. Be prepared and be ready to have those “add-on” product options on hand as well, to help increase profits and provide great customer care!
- ENGAGE – Get off your dang cell phone! Smile, say “good morning” and interact on a personal level with the Attendees in a positive, enthusiastic manner! The attendees want to build a relationship with your brand. Engage with them and make it happen! Avoid the “used car salesman” vibe. Instead, be sincere, funny, open and welcoming. It goes a long way to establishing rapport.
- KNOW YOUR STUFF – Be able to speak about your product to every level of attendee and be able to sculpt your “message” to a diverse demographic. Keep the message simple and the sincere belief in the product clear. This helps to build trust and the profitable relationships every business needs.
- KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW, ADMIT WHAT YOU DON’T – Seriously, this may sound like a no-brainer but attendees know when you know and they know when you don’t know. If you try to fool them, you will lose them. It is best to admit if you do not know something, gather their contact information and then get back to them quickly once you have obtained the information. This shows you “care” about them and the rapport you are trying to build, which leads to loyalty and sales.
- LISTEN – Actively and genuinely listen to what the attendee is asking or telling you so you can adequately and accurately sculpt your response. Folks can tell when you aren't really listening or seem to not care about their individual situation. Additionally, you will be offered feedback that will help to improve your product and customer care so listen to it and utilize it as you can. This helps to build that brand loyalty and repeat business.
- SAMPLES – Attendees LOVE free samples. You know this, so give them what they want! Engage them before you give them a sample. Ask those fact-finding questions and give them the right sample for their needs! Samples are like long-term investments that pay off big time.
- COUPONS – Attendees LOVE coupons too! The love feeling like they are getting a “special deal” so give them what they want! Craft up some coupons and pass them out to those folks who chat with you at your booth!
- SHOW SPECIAL – Have product that did not move well in your shop? Have items that are discontinued but still awesome that are sitting in your warehouse not generating revenue? Give it a healthy discounted price and sell it at the event. Attendees LOVE “show specials” and by giving them what they want you can create a connection and a long-term relationship that will pay off for years to come!
- MAKE IT FUN – Make your exhibition space fun to be in! Great signage, good displays, lots of inventory and friendly staff all help to generate a positive energy around your products, which leads to higher sales and referrals that lead to more sales!
Much like learning the art of horsemanship, which is simple but NOT easy, becoming successful as an exhibitor is simple but not easy. Have a plan, have the product, have the presentation and have an approach that is fun, warm and sincere. Your loyal customers will remain loyal and your potential customers are more inclined to spend money with people they like!
So if you are bringing your Product, Services, Training Barn, Horsemanship Club or other equestrian based endeavor to a trade show or exposition, like the Western States Horse Expo, follow the tips above and reach out the event organizers! They know what works and what doesn't. Expositions are the ONLY TRUE TOUCH-POINT your target audience gets to experience your offerings. Make the most of the opportunity and reap the rewards!