Extend an Invitation to Your Customers

In a consultation meeting with a client the other day, I was asked why I so strongly recommend she invite her existing customers to the show if she was already doing business with them. She corresponded with her customers on a regular basis and they knew how to get in touch with her if they needed anything. When business managers are trying to spend less money, do less printing, use less energy and maximize return on trade show investment, does it really make sense to add customers you've already won over to the list of prospects you want to attract to the show?

In my answer I asked if she had ever had an extremely satisfied customer stop by her booth to say hello and talk about the virtues of her product. She said yes, and then remembered that a prospect overheard the conversation and became very interested. This kind of on-the-spot word of mouth is some of the best advertising you can get. We then discussed some other great reasons existing customers should always be invited to any show where you plan to have a presence:

- To show them other items they might be interested in that they haven’t already purchased.

- To enlist their help in showing the benefits of your product to any friends or associates they might bring with them.

- To keep your booth active so that others passing by will want to come in and find out what’s going on.

- To keep you and your products at the tops of your customers' minds. They might even tweet about you from your booth.

- To entertain and build a relationship with customers after the show.

When you've built a relationship with the customer, you will find it is much easier to recommend additional products to existing customers than to begin the sales process with a new prospect. Customers are more apt to open up and tell you about their needs when they feel comfortable and have met/spoken with you a few times. A trade show is a great place to continue building rapport with your customers. Remember to add them to your pre-show marketing data base.

According to CEIR 2007 /data: On average, 34% of visitors at exhibitions qualify as “Net Promoters.”  This means that they are likely to recommend a product or a particular brand showcased at an exhibition. (CEIR- Center For Exhibition Industry Research)

Sounds like another great reason to invite your existing customers to the show- they just might recommend your products and services to others!

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