MPI Perspective - Winter 2015 - (Page 15)

[ JOEL COSTA, CMP DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING THE RITZ-CARLTON, HALF MOON BAY POV ] DANIELLE RESTAINO, CMP SENIOR MEETING PARTNER GENENTECH Dear Joel and Danielle, What are your recommendations before, during and after a trade show in order to have a great event experience? JOEL: It's a "Freaky Friday" role reversal this issue of Perspective. I am going to answer this question for what I think, as a supplier, a planner should do to prepare for a trade show. First off, I think a planner should prepare to spend an appropriate amount of time at the show to visit at least a majority of the suppliers who are showcasing their locations, venues and products. The suppliers who are present have incurred large expenses of both time and money to be in front of potential customers. The monetary support alone helps the event take place. The amount of planners and foot traffic helps them evaluate if the show is a success for them and the impressions they are making on their potential market. Certainly if a planner is stretched for time, they wouldn't be expected to drop by booths for destinations or hotels that they would absolutely not do business with, but a quick hello even to grab a giveaway is always appreciated. Next, and this is hypocritical of me because I never seem to bring enough of my own, I would ensure I have plenty of business cards on hand. Again, not that a planner needs to give out their cards like candy on Halloween, but if they are stopping by a business they would potentially use, it would be great to be able to get a card. Even though the show may have booth traffic tracking mechanisms, the booths are often shared by multiple entities within the brand, and sales people have immediate access to the potential client information with a card in hand. Finally, I would suggest that if a planner has any particular events or groups in mind they are looking at sourcing that they bring an RFP with them - or they can always write it out on the back of a business card!  ● DANIELLE: Here are my role reversal recommendations for a successful conference! Once you have selected that perfect booth location, the real work begins. As an exhibitor, you must put in the preparation time to ensure you are delivering on your company's objectives. Before the tradeshow, let people know you are going to be there. Stimulate interest in making it a priority to visit your booth. Use the attendee list to leverage pre-show communications and promotions, but also know many planners may register late or onsite. Reach out to existing customers who may be attending. Ask both existing customers and key potential customers to schedule an appointment. Maximize your chance of connecting with your key targets. For the big day, ensure your booth team brings its A game; everyone should be aligned with team objectives and pertinent messaging, and they must present the appropriate level of enthusiasm to welcome guests to the booth. They should be approachable and not grouped in personal conversations. Ensure you have your messaging prepared so you can deliver your "elevator pitch" - booth visitors can be fast moving, ready to jump to the next booth. Be able to differentiate yourself and provide specifics as to what your property or service can offer the potential customer. Ask good, open-ended questions that will lead to conversation. Ask and listen to your booth visitors - they will provide a wealth of information if you let them! Don't resort to the hard sell. Use lead retrieval systems so you are accurately recording who you met and documenting requested information and potential business opportunities. If your booth is busy, be sure you at least acknowledge new visitors to your booth so they know you are aware of their presence and that you will be right with them. Don't allow anyone to wait long enough that move on before they are able to meet with you. That is a missed opportunity. Once the conference is over, your work continues - successful follow-through is just as key. Follow up and follow through on leads and any information promises. Personalize followup notes, continue to demonstrate your value, and book that business!  ● P E R S P E C T I V E | winter 2015 | 15

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MPI Perspective - Winter 2015

Thinking Outside the Hotel – Alternate Venues and What They Offer
Transformative Meetings: Technology Trends for 2015
ACE – Invest in Yourself in 2015!
Best Apps for Planning a Meeting in San Francisco
Editor’s Note
Take 5
President’s Message
MPI Spotlight
Index to Advertisers /

MPI Perspective - Winter 2015