Property exhibitions can be an excellent opportunity for developers and agents to get in front of prospective investors and lifestyle purchasers. An exhibition affords an investor an opportunity to collect information about a number of opportunities all in one place. You also benefit from promotion undertaken by the exhibition organiser designed to drive relevant traffic to the exhibition.
So, once you’ve decided that you will take part in an exhibition, what should you do to get the most out of the opportunity?
1. Set your Targets
Any marketing or sales activity that you undertake should have clear, pre-determined targets. By setting clear targets about what you want to achieve you can better measure your success. Do you want to get sign ups to your database, do you want bookings for an inspection tour, do you want follow up meetings, do you want people to reserve a property? Whatever your target, make sure it is clearly communicated to all participants and stakeholders.
2. Use Advance Promotion to Generate Leads & Press
When participating in a property exhibition, you have an exciting opportunity to promote your presence in advance to try and secure appointments with prospects. You should contact those in your database who are located in the vicinity of the exhibition and encourage them to come and meet you during the exhibition.
You should also announce your attendance on social media and on your website with a view to securing advance appointments. Offer prospects something in return for visiting your stand, for example a free property consultation, a portfolio analysis, a mortgage assessment.
Let journalists know that you will be exhibiting and invite them to learn about your projects or to interview you relating to your offering or expertise. Make sure you also tell the exhibition press office that you are open for interviews.
Attempt to book a speaking slot at the exhibition on a topic in which you are an expert. You can then announce your topic and generate some advance interest.
3. Select the Best Stand
Selecting your stand is one of the most critical choices in your exhibition strategy. You should choose a place that will have the highest possible traffic while being away from any loud areas. You also need to decide whether to have a corner plot or a plot in the middle of other stands.
You should get input from someone who has attended the show or venue in question relating to best location. For example, at the A Place in the Sun Exhibition there is an area called The Hub, which features presentations throughout the day. Being in the area surrounding The Hub enables you to have good visibility and footfall, but you want to be behind the speakers in order that you can continue your sales efforts even during presentations.
4. Make your Stand Visually Appealing
Your exhibition stand is the first thing a prospective customer will see. How you choose to dress your stand will impact customer assumptions about your real estate offering.
The stand should have a strong call to action with a focus on giving people a reason to speak to your sales team. Pick just a few headline points and keep the rest of the stand free from text. Focus instead on images that represent the prospect at hand and use strong bold colours.
To put together an effective and visually stunning stand (as opposed to a last minute ill-conceived concept) you should aim to start work on the stand at least 12 weeks prior to the exhibition. This gives sufficient time to streamline messages and the customer journey as well as ensuring a good quality print. Depending on shipping needs, it could take up to 4 weeks to ship a stand and have it clear customs.
Having a video playing on the stand creates movement and interest and helps to capture the attention of customers. If you have a video, play it on the stand, but keep the volume off to avoid driving your sales personnel crazy!
Furniture is also an essential part of the stand and impacts its appeal to customers. Create areas for serious discussion and areas for informal chats which are more inviting. Keep any furniture stylish, modern and functional. You should also be sure to have storage units or space to hide away boxes of brochures and other unsightly items.
5. Create a Reason to Interact
Having a pre-defined approach to prospects to get them to interact with your exhibition staff is critical. Determine your primary interaction mechanism (competition, game, free fact sheet, free investment guide etc.) and shout it as loudly as possible using your stand design, flyers, your staff etc.
Make sure that you have refreshments on your stand and an area for people to relax. People are much more likely to approach a busy stand and so creating a busy area will help you appear in demand.
6. Staff Appearance & Behaviour
The success of an exhibition is almost entirely down to your staff. You should make sure they are well trained to capitalise on the opportunity, keeping discussions short and succinct and asking for follow up details, appointments and bookings.
Staff should be dressed in a professional manner reflective of the type of real estate you are selling. For example, if you are selling student property, it may be appropriate to wear jeans a shirt and a jacket, if selling tropical island real estate a light suit could work, or perhaps you might all have branded polo shirts. Having something unique about your appearance can also be beneficial in order to be memorable. So, while looking professional include some sort of statement feature, be that a bright head band, funky tie, statement brooch or flamboyant glasses.
You should also be sure to have senior staff on the stand. If you put your junior people to man exhibitions you are telling exhibition customers that they are not a priority to you. Senior staff also have the authority to make decisions which can make the difference in closing a sale.
Especially towards the end of an exhibition when the team are tired and if traffic is slower, staff can start to look less enthusiastic to talk with prospects. Make sure that the team know not to slouch over tables when things are quiet, not to play on their phones, not to eat on the stand and to stay on their feet and engaged.
7. Be Social
Marketing isn’t just for the run-up to the show. During the show itself you should be interacting on social media, following the feeds of information and understand what people are saying about the show. You can use this to speak directly to attendees of the show and place yourself as experts in your field.
If you were able to secure a talking slot, then use this to drive traffic to your stand or undertake on-stand presentations to attract customers and make sure they are announced and can be found in the show guide.
8. Define a Sign-Up Mechanism
Once you have attracted customers to your stand, you want to secure customer details and to the extent possible get them to commit to a level 2 product which requires a small payment or commitment to a defined appointment. The Level 2 commitment or product could be an inspection tour, it could be a property consultation, it could be a property sourcing service (for agents), it could be a mortgage consultation.
For those who do not want to move to level 2 commitments, you need a mechanism to secure their details without any further commitment on their part. It could be a game (i.e. guess the price of the property), a raffle, a competition or just a giveaway.
Unless sales are genuinely moving so quickly that properties may not be available after the exhibition, you should not attempt to take a deposit or reservation on a property. Instead encourage a visit to the property or project or a follow up meeting.
Involve technology in your sign-up process. Having a range of ipads on the stand can allow people to complete their own sign up. Of course, make sure you have a backup pen and paper option in case of tech failure.
9. Video and Photography
If you get a speaking slot, be sure to film your presentation. You can then utilise it as part of your follow up. If you don’t get a speaking slot, why not host a presentation on your stand at fixed times during the exhibition. Also be sure to get plenty of photographs of the stand and video of the team taking part.
Video and photography can be excellent tools for follow up promotion of your attendance at the exhibition. For example, you can send your presentation around to everyone who registered as well as using it to promote to your database.
10. Plan your Follow Up
You’d be surprised just how many exhibitors fall down when it comes to following up. Generally speaking, you will need to contact prospects 5 – 10 times in order to get further interaction. Grade your customers based on their level of interest and make sure you have a follow up plan for your different grades.
Make sure your follow up is personalised (even if its sent from mass email software) Allocate responsibility for the follow up so that it doesn’t get missed and use automation to the greatest extent possible.
Kenetic can manage your event or exhibition and make sure you get the most out of your experience. This saves you the headaches of worrying about all of the logistics of making sure the event goes to plan.