THREE…TWO…ONE… SHOWTIME! As an exhibitor, there’s no greater rush than counting down and watching the sales floor come alive. A4M, CosmpoProf, InterCharm, CosmoBeauty; I live for both the madness of exhibiting and the excitement of walking through the front door as an attendee.
The feelings of exhibiting range from nervousness to excitement, to uncertainty. And it all boils down to the biggest fear and risk: not earning enough to recover your investment.
But have no fear! I’ve had the privilege of exhibiting and attending, and I’m here to help you avoid costly mistakes to ensure maximum profitability.
Here are 10 costly mistakes to avoid before your first B2B beauty tradeshow:
- Not training your booth employees. At every show, there’s always one thing that screams out at me: the lack of product education from employees in each booth; common excuses are lack of time and money.
But here’s one story of how costly this mistake can be: At the last A4M Las Vegas, I saw a new device at a booth and I asked the employee about the specs. The employee did not know a thing about the device or how it worked! Even worse, when I asked the price, his response was, “let me find out for you.” From that moment on, the company lost all credibility, brand reputation, and a potential sale.
I later found out the cost of the device was $10,000. Can you imagine the amount of profit this company lost because of an untrained employee? They lost a sale and also the investment of an employee who added zero value to tradeshow profits. With 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority, the ROI on product training far outweighs the cost of training, and most importantly, your brand reputation.
- Not renting/buying a lead retrieval system. Surprisingly, many companies opt to use other traditional methods of collecting data (i.e. collecting business cards, writing information, entering contacts in their smartphone, etc). Unlike traditional methods, an LRS gives you the ability to measure results, justifying the investment in time, energy and budget to exhibit at the event. It also allows all your lead and sale information to be stored in one place. Read more here about the detriments of not using a proper lead system.
- Not doing a new product launch. 92% of trade show attendees say their main reason for attending trade shows is to see new products being featured. It has been the number one reason to attend for 25 years! We all know skin care is a saturated market, so a new product launch is your chance to stand out!
- Not doing product demos. Customers want to feel and watch your products in action. They want to see your new mask in action or that LED device you have on display. Anytime I see a booth jam-packed with people, I immediately know it’s because they are doing a live demo. Visual marketing can make a significant difference in attracting more buyers to your booth, resulting in more sales opportunities. Expert tip: If booth space is an issue, rent a TV and have a demo video loop.
- Not purchasing an ad for the tradeshow prospectus. Yes, ads can be pricey, but the same goes for not using them. I have worked with companies who decided not to use ads in their marketing strategy, and I’ve witnessed the difference it makes (especially when first entering the market). You can have the best product, but if no one knows you’re there, then what you’re selling doesn’t matter. With tradeshow ads, it boils down to two things: more exposure and sales.
- Not previewing a show or doing enough tradeshow research. This could cost you your investment. Not every esthetic show is going to be the best for your brand. For instance, Premiere Beauty is an international show marketed mainly towards beauty salons. If your skincare brand is medical, then Premiere would be a waste of time and money. Your ideal tradeshow would then be the AAD (American Academy of Dermatology Conference). Aside from research, the best way to find out if a conference is suited for your brand is to attend first. The benefits of attending before deciding are endless; you can get a good look at the floor layout, market, competitors and ideas to help your brand stand out.
- Location, location, location. Choosing a location can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never attended the conference. An unspoken truth is that the best spots are usually corner booths, and also those closest to the concession stands or restrooms. Generally, the more foot traffic, the better traction for your booth. Depending on the conference, if you pre-register (or pay extra), you can almost always ensure that you get a good spot. Once you decide upon exhibiting, don’t make the mistake of waiting to choose your location.
- Not checking rules and regulations of the state or country. I was recently talking with a company in California that sells needling devices. They registered for a popular NYC conference (marketed towards estheticians). On the day they arrived to set up, they were told by their booth neighbor that the NYC Board of Regulation banned estheticians from doing skin needling. Ouch! Talk about an expensive mistake. This detail can easily be overlooked when you assume all states work the same. Most tradeshows will not assume liability or issue a refund, so always check with the state board of regulations.
- Not offering free shipping on orders. All companies offer discounts, but what they fail to acknowledge is this: 78% of trade show attendees travel more than 400 miles. Discounts are great, but offering free shipping is a great incentive to let loose and purchase freely.
- Not doing a post-show review with employees. Companies are quick to check their ROI post-show, but they miss something that’s just as important: sitting down and doing a post-show review. Find out what were the positives and negatives, and how you can improve for your next conference. Getting different perspectives from the employees who worked for the show can be really beneficial. Click here to download my post tradeshow review checklist.
I’ve seen it all and I know firsthand that tradeshows can be incredibly stressful. That’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about helping companies maximize their profit at each exhibition. Need a tradeshow consultation? Let’s schedule a call to make sure you’re doing all the right things!