Preparation is key, if you intend to sell a virtual expo experience.
By Alex Yewdell
So you’ve figured out how to transition your in-person meeting into a virtual event—now selling the sponsorship and exhibit packages should be the easy part, right? Not so much. Though you may have no problem communicating the importance of participating in these virtual conferences, introducing and familiarizing your exhibitors to the new platform will require a lot of your time and attention. And I mean a LOT. Before you get started, be prepared to encounter the full spectrum of technological know-how—from a tech-savvy 20-something to the mostly analog marketer.
Preparation is key, if you intend to sell a virtual expo experience. Now is not the time to try to wing it! Here are our tips on how to do it best:
Do Your Research
The list of virtual conference and expo providers is growing exponentially. Take your time, sit in on as many demos as possible and be confident with your selection. With the increase in providers, there is naturally a corresponding growth in the options and add-ons that are available. As you dive in and learn about the available technology, we highly recommend building a wish list: the must-haves for your conference and expo. Not only will this help you ensure that your needs are met, but you can use this list when selling to highlight the platform’s capabilities!
Become An Expert
They don’t tell you this during the demos, but you are going to essentially become a sales rep for the platform provider you select. You will need to learn the ins and outs, master the elevator pitch and perfect the demo. You already know how to sell your meeting—now you need to be able to sell the platform.
Keep It Simple
In my opinion, one of the coolest things about technology is that as we become more and more advanced, it gets easier and easier to use. If you have two platforms that check all of your boxes but one is significantly simpler and easier to use, the decision is made. Go with that one, even if it is more expensive—you will thank me in the long term! And much like the technology, keep your sales pitch simple as well. Highlight the key components, and draw connections between the technology and the staples of the in-person events to seamlessly bridge the gap.
Educate En Masse
One-on-one demos are great and are a must for a successful sales campaign, but it will be impossible to do them for every single one of your exhibitors. It would be a major time suck, not to mention both mentally draining and highly inefficient. Our recommendation: start with one-on-one demos in order to truly master this new pitch. Once you’ve honed in on your key talking and selling points, then schedule group demos. When you get comfortable with selling to large audiences together, record it. Having a quick, shareable recording of a demo is a game changer.
Remember the feeling from the first couple of demos you sat in on as you learned and explored the new virtual platforms? It’s all new and a bit overwhelming. Many of your exhibitors will experience this same sensation. Even if your event is not their visit foray into the virtual conference and expo world, there is a good chance it will be their first time on the platform you are utilizing. Be patient and understanding, but most importantly make yourself available.
While this is a tremendously important tip, it’s also an incredibly simple one. This experience will be new for nearly everyone involved, and that means there are going to be a lot of questions. Take the initiative and attempt to proactively provide your exhibitors with the answers. This is one of those scenarios where the upfront work of laying out your anticipated questions will save you more time in the long run.
Take a deep breath, you’ve got this! And if you are feeling overwhelmed gives us a call because we definitely get it. I will leave you with one last insider tip – over deliver. With your first virtual meeting and expo, providing more value and bang for exhibitors’ buck will go a long way toward relationship-building. And ultimately, virtual conference offerings are substantial and will be something that remains a vital part of all future conferences.