I recently interviewed the former president of Panther, Inc. about his experience working with me and using my services. During the conversation, some key learnings emerged, including:
- A demonstrated effective working style and process gets attention. Before he and I worked together, he was already familiar with the way I work from seeing how I handled the creation and management of a tradeshow sponsor community, of which he was a part, that helped get the sponsors working together on promoting the show. This familiarity made bringing me in later to work with his company on a tradeshow production the natural next step.
- The ability to keep the client’s team focused and performing at a high level to get the job done is a key differentiator. In his words, “One thing I knew about you is that you are not going to take it easy on my team. You’re going to come in, tell the truth, and hold them to the standard that we needed them to be held to, to be able to drive the program.”
- Consistency, attention to detail, and a long-term focus from the client’s side are important. To quote him again, “One of the things… that would have made it even better was if I had stayed on long enough to have two or three cycles under our belt together.” In the interview, he recounts how a former employer took a lot of what they learned working with me and attempted to implement it themselves at other shows – but they made the critical mistake of “cherry-picking” and overlooking a lot of the detailed planning and work that goes into staging a truly effective tradeshow production.
- Don’t skimp on the preparation and training phases. Even when you get resistance from internal players, especially those who are used to doing things a certain way (ironically, often a way that has failed to get results in the past), ensuring everybody understands and fulfills their roles is vital to having the show production run like a well-oiled machine and getting results.
- Be prepared for high-level networking. Have a dedicated person on the stand to deal with important introductions, or even better, have top role players in the business available to engage directly with high-level, valuable contacts. Extracting value from important connections doesn’t just happen– a plan needs to be in place.
- Knowing how to engage and disengage is a valuable skill (one that I can teach you and your team). Seven to ten minutes of engagement, with a follow-up plan in place, is better than an aimless 30-40-minute-long conversation, as often happens at tradeshows. In this time, a valuable contact may have walked past the stand, or even approached it, but moved on because you seemed too busy. It can easily take up to $500,000 in extra sales to recoup a $100,000 tradeshow production investment – what if a prospect worth $1 million or more moved on because you over-engaged with another person?
- An experienced, skilled consultant can plan and manage your tradeshow production more efficiently and effectively than you can do it yourself. This is no reflection on your capabilities or commitment, or your team members, but a consultant does this all year round and has worked on many more tradeshows than you or your team. This allows me to present and execute a well-thought-out, detailed plan that is based on experience and hands-on knowledge. Besides, you have a business to run – do what you do best, and I’ll do what I do best to get you great results.