KNOWLEDGE

Building Trust Through Trade Show Exhibits

Category: Ideas

Everyone knows that trade shows exhibits were designed to sell. But they can also work to build trust between your company and your audience.

Consider this familiar scenario: You receive a proposal request from a prospective client who is seeking a new solution to a perplexing problem. You know you can deliver, so you mull it over, brainstorm with colleagues, and work long hours in order to come up with an innovative solution that is sure to WOW them. When the big day arrives, you kill it. The potential client loves all of your ideas, recognizes your creativity, and responds with excitement and gratitude.

And then two days later they call and crush your hopes.

It seems that after talking it over internally, the company has decided to keep doing things the old way. All that hard work and effort was met with enthusiasm and then …eek… rejection. Why? As Brian Tracy notes in his book The Psychology of Selling, “The glue that holds all relationships together is trust.” And you didn’t have any.

Unfortunately, in this scenario, the potential client was risk-averse. When influencers are able to convince your prospect that the risk outweighs gain, you don’t stand a chance. That’s why you need to build trust from the very beginning through quality face-to-face interactions.

 

How Trade Show Exhibits, Trade Show Events, and Conferences Help You Build Trust

Trade shows are often left out of the trust-building equation. Typically, in the business-to-business marketing environment, we try to build trust by showing our experience, listing our satisfied customers, and displaying our industry knowledge. Many marketers like to call this content marketing. Although content is incredibly important, it may not be enough to sway a risk-averse prospect. At the end of the day, a personal interaction means a lot more.

Live events provide a unique opportunity to connect with large numbers of people on a personal level. It’s an easy way to get prospective clients, decision makers, and influencers all in one location at the same time. And when everybody is there to hear your great ideas, and meet you in person, you can start to build trusting relationships that lead to sales.

Aside from the normal content management techniques (i.e. email nurturing, blogs, social media, podcasts, webinars, etc.) you can work live events into your trust-building strategy.

 

Here are a five ideas:

Trade Show Exhibits
As previously mentioned, trade shows are an excellent way to communicate your integrity, and provide evidence of the promises you make. But you can go further. Try personally inviting prospective targets to one-on-one conversations with company experts at your trade show exhibits. Speaking with non-sales experts builds trust in the company’s products or services and as well as its support structure.

 

Panels
Have company leaders and technical experts speak at a seminar, attend gatherings and be available for one-on-one conversations. While you’re at it, invite satisfied clients to speak on your behalf in front of prospects. Live testimonials are always more powerful than ones published on your website.

 

Make Live Events into Online Content
Nothing is better than an in-person interaction. But for those who can’t be there, try video content. Record your best presentations and make them available online and to sales staff. Seeing what someone is like on video may encourage a prospect to come meet them in person.

 

Parties (especially following trade show events)
Host a party or luncheon where existing clients can mingle with prospects and influencers. These informal encounters reinforce the value that your company provides while demonstrating your expertise.

 

Charitable Events
Social marketing events show that you value the community and have corporate compassion. Invite prospects, influencers and clients to share your community efforts.

 

As technology continues to take over our personal and business life, human, face-to-face interactions are becoming even more powerful.These concepts could work equally as well for selling internal projects and programs in risk-averse cultures.

When it’s time to plan your next trade show exhibit or event program, contact MC². We’ll help you create a dynamic experience that gives you an opportunity to show off your best ideas and your best people too.

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Caroline Meyers
Director MC² Corporate Communications