Are You Using These Trade Shows Secrets?

Are You Using These Trade Shows Secrets?Did the trade show season sneak up on you and your team again this year? 

The show date seems distant, especially before the holidays, and we always think there’s plenty of time for planning.  Then the shipping date for the booth and products hits us like a bucket of cold water and the mad rush is on.

The resulting scramble usually means one thing: you’re wasting your trade show dollars.

When you and the team rush to pull off this year’s booth, you miss an opportunity to raise the bar.  Here are some trade show thought starters for you to consider to get the most out of your time and money:

5 keys to trade show success

1. Have a plan and work the plan.  Build a calendar with show milestones and stick to it.  Don’t blow off the planning meeting because the show is 6 months off.

  • Why are you going to the show (and don’t say because we always have)
  • What do you want to accomplish (that you can measure)
  • How you will leverage social media and PR (to drive buyers to your booth or create excitement around your new products or programs)

2. Show and sell.  Bring your product and brand to life in your booth.

  • Load it with new news (products, programs, demonstrations)
  • Have a unified image that leverages your brand identity
  • Have videos and signage that communicate and get attention from the aisle (plus they are great guides for the sales team to use)

3. Answer the question “what’s new” before it’s asked.  It’s the most common question and immediately gives you a chance to launch into your elevator speech on how you are innovating the category and driving their business.

4. Don’t sweat the compromises.  Murphy’s Law says something won’t make it to the show.  Or you need to shift around the booth design on the fly.  No one sees these compromises but you.

5. Follow up.  Have a plan in place on how to handle leads before you get them.

What happens in Vegas could be a team building event

What happens in Vegas could be a team building eventWhile trade shows are a business event, they are also a fantastic team building event.  Leverage that aspect without turning the show into a vacation for the team (and try to avoid the “what happens in Vegas” mindset).

For more great insights on how to maximize your trade show experience and dollars, we recommend reading Heinz Marketing’s Secrets To Successful Trade Show Marketing white paper and Whizard Strategy’s blog post Stop Wasting Money on Building Material Trade Shows.

Good Selling!


What’s Wrong with Lowe’s and Home Depot?

What’s Wrong with Lowe’s and Home DepotOur friend, Mark Mitchell, is a whizard at helping building materials companies solve their tough sales & marketing problems.  Like us, he shares his views on how to win in the marketplace with his Whizard Strategy Blog.

Not too long ago he wrote a post on What’s Wrong with Big Boxes?  He points out that big box retailers like Lowe’s and Home Depot are playing not to lose – instead of playing to win – and that is creating opportunity for you to shine in your sales and marketing efforts.

He starts his blog off by saying: “If the goal is to maximize sales, margins and customer satisfaction, there’s a lot wrong.  There’s a lot of missed opportunity for both big boxes and building product manufacturers.  Anytime someone is as successful as big boxes are, they start to avoid risk and blind spots develop.  This results in big boxes settling for growth that is lower than what’s possible in category after category – including yours.”

Gaps that seem as obvious as the nose on your face

as obvious as the nose on your faceHe shares eight glaring gaps that seem as obvious as the nose on your face.  Of course, these blind spots are all opportunities for you to capitalize on and help grow their sales while growing yours as well.

He wraps up with: “If you change your mentality from “those big box stores are killing me” to “how can I change the game by growing their business”, you will be rewarded with more sales, new product placement and, ultimately, higher margins.”


Be sure to also check out the Channel Instincts post 5 Tips to Succeed with Big Boxes for more tips on how to win with Lowe’s and Home Depot.

Are You Stuck In a Rut?

Doing the same thing over and over again

Since many good things (and some not so good) traditionally come in threes, we thought we’d follow the lead set in our last two blog posts where we spoke of service and value and talk about a third old fashion thing. 

Let’s talk about tradition, which can be a blessing or a curse.

Traditions stand for continuity and stability

Socially and in business, some traditions are extremely positive.  They stand for continuity and stability, the often needed and comfortable status quo.

Blessing, Curse Green Road Sign Over Dramatic Blue Sky and Clouds.But sometimes, they’re negatives that translate into, “That’s how we’ve always done it and, right or wrong, that’s how we’ll go on doing it.”

For example, I’ll bet your company has always been based on quality, service, and value.  And that it’s a tradition you’re proud of.  On the other hand, your mind must always be open to new ideas as well as new needs and demands from the markets you serve.

As America emerges from the Great Recession that has hurt so many builders and remodelers, burdensome traditions will fall like trees in a logging camp.

It’s time to challenge the status quo

Meanwhile, until that much discussed but painfully slow emergence occurs, some tradition-bashing may well be called for.  For you, that should involve asking yourselves and your customers how you can do an even better job than you think you’re doing right now.

That's the way we've always done it

How about your traditions?  When was the last time you reminded your customers that part of your job is to help them sell their customers?  Are your sales teams making full use of all the sales, marketing and training tools you have invested in?  Or are they relying on the same old tricks that worked in the past?  It’s the basis for the often quoted saying “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

If your answer to any of these questions—or others you come up with yourself – is, “We don’t work that way,” or “We never have in the past,” or “We never had to before,” or something more colorful, it may be time to join in a quick sing-along of TRADITION, then immediately switch to a chorus of an oldie called THERE’LL BE SOME CHANGES MADE.

The best tradition is being profitable

Time For ChangeA very wise old business philosopher once said, in business, the best tradition is being profitable.  With that in mind, it may be the perfect time to sort out the positive traditions, get rid of those that hinder more than they help, and start creating some new ones.