The demo in your trade show exhibit draws a crowd. Customers and prospects are mesmerized by what they see. They’re doing exactly what you want them to do: thinking about what your innovation could do for their business. Now what?
Too many trade show demos stop short. “You have to use the demo to segue to the next step or you’ve wasted your money ” says Emil Mellow visual merchandising and trade show director at Armstrong World Industries. Use these five tips to help your demo close the deal:
Qualify first. By qualifying visitors before giving them your demo you can ensure that you don’t spend time with a tire kicker. Philips Consumer Lifestyle used this technique—qualifying visitors as they arrived in its Sonicare exhibit at the American Dental Association—to identify exactly who were dentists and who were members of the dental staff. This enabled the exhibit team to invite the dentists into a private gallery experience while other qualified visitors attended a group theater presentation. The gallery experience placed the dentists in small groups and made sure they got lots of attention as they visited a handful of demonstrations. “We delivered a more intimate experience for the most highly qualified people—which is exactly what we’d planned ” says Leigh Reeves manager of trade shows at Philips.
Thoroughly prep your staff. When Armstrong introduced a new commercial floor tile at Green Build its pièce de résistance was a demo where the new bio-based tile survived impact by a pinball-sized marble dropped from a height of two feet. While the demo proved the product’s strength and flexibility versus standard floor tile what really made the demo a success was the exhibit staff.
The Armstrong team expertly engaged the audience in conversation—no uncertainty no hesitation and no confusion over who was supposed to do what. “Our pre-show training paid off because the staff was thoroughly prepared ” says Mellow.
Keep it quick. “If your demo takes more than a few seconds you’re in trouble ” says Mellow. People on the trade show floor don’t have time to stand around and wait. If they don’t see action right away you’re liable to loose them.
Integrate data capture and measurement into the activity. Pharma company Daiichi Sankyo follows up its in-booth video demonstration with an interactive challenge that engages visitors to learn in a fun way. “Attendees’ knowledge is tested messages are reinforced and information is collected for the development of future promotional programs ” says Ann Marie Bermudez senior manager-marketing operations. Through daily downloads the company can track who visited the exhibit and which key points were being absorbed—and which were being missed.
Automatically launch the next step. Armstrong used its impressive demonstration of the strength of its new tile to segue into a pointed business conversation. Its savvy staff immediately steered prospects through a conversation of how the tile could potentially be used and into a discussion of two specific applications. “We asked everyone ‘Do you have an actual project?’” says Mellow. The result—leads with real project dates and sizes for the sales force to follow up on.
In the Sonicare booth the demo led directly to a sales and peer interaction area where dentists could place orders for the new Sonicare power toothbrush. “By striking while the iron was hot we increased our sales in the exhibit by 27 percent over the previous year ” says Reeves.