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Monday, August 8, 2016

Do You Buy Trade Show Exhibits On Line?

If you have read any of my posts, you know I tend to just, put it out there as they say.  So here you go:

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR CHEAP DISPLAY PRODUCTS ON LINE I CAN'T HELP YOU!

Yes I really said that.  I am cleaning up from a sales rep that is no longer here.  Multiple opportunities that she had listed said they could find things cheaper on line.  Yes I am sure you can.  If price is your primary motivation then we are not the right company for you.

You may find this arrogant.  There is a difference between arrogant and confident.  I have confidence in our products and in our service.  I am confident that if you buy from us you will get a good quality product that is designed to last.

I can't tell you how many times people think our products are too expensive and buy something cheap ultimately come back to buy from us.


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW OR ASK

Here are some questions you should consider if you are buying online:
  • Are you comparing apples to apples?
There are so many different substrates and print methods out there.  This is your BRAND.  If it is cheap online, there is a reason for it.   
Image result for aSK QUESTIONS
  • How is the graphic finished? 
Velcro?  Silicone Edge?   The look of your finished product can vary greatly.  So can the sewing and finishing.  Sloppy seams, loose or frayed edges?  Is that how you want to represent your company and your brand?
  • What kind of warranty is there on the product?
So many products now that you buy online are almost a consumable.  I can't tell you how many times people didn't want to pay our price and bought cheap on line and then came back to buy a quality product.  This is legit people.  The cheaper the product, the lower the quality.  Are there companies out there that inflate prices on cheap products?  Of course.  Those people give sales people a bad reputation.  We are not all like that.  Total Displays is not like that.  Find a provider you trust.
  • Will the supplier give you feedback on your graphics? 
Let me tell you, if you are buying cheap product these companies make money on volume.  They most likely will not provide you with phenomenal customer service.  You upload your art and they print it.  They don't care if the resolution of your picture is grainy or your colors don't match.  On the cheap products they can't afford to take the time to really service you.
  • Will your supplier give you tips and tricks on how to care for your product?
Total Displays is committed to being a partner.  I don't want to just ship you a display.  I want to be sure you got exactly what you want and that it is working for you.  We can give you recommendations on graphics or even do the design for you.  An online order?  Here is your link to upload the graphics, we'll print it and ship it to you.  You get what you get.
  • What does the office space/location/showroom look like for the company selling you product?  Can you visit their office (regardless of where they are in the country)?
Why does this matter?  If they are a home office or a company without a showroom, there is a possibility that they may not be here in a week or in a year. If their office looks like crap, why would they care what your display looks like?

Please consider carefully before trusting your brand and your messaging to a company with low price points and very little customer service.

Image result for PRICE VS QUALITY

If you decide to go cheap and go online?  Call us when you need to replace it with quality.

If you like what you read, please share it!

====================================================
Lori Hanken has been in sales and marketing for over 30 years. She is passionate about service and providing value to her vendors, prospects and clients. Lori is currently co-owner of Total Displays with her husband David. They help people look great at events, trade shows, in retail, museums and develop long partnerships with customers and suppliers. If you would like to learn more, email her at lori@totaldisplays.com. She is an open networker, connect with her on LinkedIn here.

Read other Total Displays Blog posts at http://totaldisplays.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Oh Crap! Our First Trade Show is When?

It is August.  Marketing and event managers all over the country are saying,

"Oh crap, I have so much to do for our first show!  I am NOT  ready for our fall shows!"

Or are you different?  Do you use the summer months to prepare yourself for the busy fall show season?  Are you completely prepared?  Are your plans all done?    

It is not too late to make sure you are prepared and avoiding any last minute emergencies when it gets crazy busy.

Here are a couple of tips for you.


1.  Check your schedule.  Do you have enough booth properties for all your shows?

2.  If you are exhibiting in an island, do you have a floor plan and configuration that fits the booth materials you have?

3.  Have you checked all your graphics?  Are they in good shape, do they need cleaning, are the logos and messages current and up to date?

4.  Have you checked all your hardware?  Is it in good working order, any repairs needed?


5.  Have you tested any electronics?  Computers?  Monitors?  iPads?

Image result for tips6.  Do you know what furniture you will need for what show?  Have you priced rental from show services vs. owning?

7.  Do you have a full logistics plan mapped out?  Do your booth materials go from one show to the next?

8.  Are your staff trained on set-up, tear-down and/or supervision of the installation of your booth?

9.  Have you trained your staff on appropriate booth etiquette and/or product knowledge?

10.  Literature, promotional items, give away items?  Are they all ordered?

11.  Have you ordered all your booth services and/or accessories?  Flooring, electrical, lead retrieval etc.?


I talk a lot about partnerships in our blog.  We value our customers and don't just provide them product.   We offer booth staff training services and much more.  Total Displays is always willing to sit down and help you plan for your upcoming show season.  Our goal is to help your exhibit schedule be as painless and stress free as possible.

If you like what you read, please share it!

====================================================
Lori Hanken has been in sales and marketing for over 30 years. She is passionate about service and providing value to her vendors, prospects and clients. Lori is currently co-owner of Total Displays with her husband David. They help people look great at events, trade shows, in retail, museums and develop long partnerships with customers and suppliers. If you would like to learn more, email her at lori@totaldisplays.com. She is an open networker, connect with her on LinkedIn here.

Read other Total Displays Blog posts at http://totaldisplays.blogspot.com/

Friday, July 22, 2016

I Call 'BS' - Epic Telemarketing Fail

I received an interesting telemarketing call today.  The young man on the phone (I assume he was young and inexperienced, you'll learn why later) proceeded to tell me that a client of ours suggested that he call me.  Here was the conversation;

Young Man:  "Could I speak to someone in marketing?"

Me:  "I guess that would be me."

Young Man:  "A mutual client suggested that I call you.  They purchased an outdoor flag from you and said the flag was great but that your website was a little 'rough'."


Me:  "Hmm, I guess I need to know which client said our website was 'rough'."

Young Man:  "I am not here to share any names."

Me:  "Oh, I see."

Young Man:  "We do website work, would you be interested in exploring an update to your website?  I did take a look at your website and honestly, no offense intended, it is a little dated. Do you do any selling of product online?"

Me:  "Well, thank you for your opinion.  We do not sell online, that is not our business model.  We are not interested in making any changes.  We have a partner that provides the content, keeps prices and product information updated and it works quite well for us thank you."

Young Man:  "What is the name of the company that does your website?"

Me: What I should have said, "I am not here to share any names."   I simply said, "It is not a local company".


The long and the short of it?  I call B.S.  There was no customer that gave him our name.   If they had, he would have known someone's name here.  We are on LinkedIn.  I have an open profile.  It would have taken him all of 10 seconds to look up a contact name.  My title on LinkedIn is VP of Sales & Marketing.    We don't sell very many outdoor flags.  Yes we have them, it is just not a market we have seriously pursued.
Image result for lie to prospects


Also not a great idea to lie to a prospect, or to totally trash some portion of their business.

I hope he finds a new cold calling tactic, because I don't think this one will work well for him.   Remember people buy from people they like and people they TRUST.


P.S.  Do you want to buy any outdoor flags?  We have great flags and I promise I will do a great job selling it to you.



If you like what you read, please share it!

=========================================================
Lori Hanken has been in sales and marketing for over 30 years. She is passionate about service and providing value to her vendors, prospects and clients. Lori is currently co-owner of Total Displays with her husband David. They help people look great at events, trade shows, in retail, museums and develop long partnerships with customers and suppliers. If you would like to learn more, email her at lori@totaldisplays.com. She is an open networker, connect with her on LinkedIn here.

Read other Total Displays Blog posts at http://totaldisplays.blogspot.com/

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Ho Hum, Am I Boring You?



If you have read any of my posts about customer service you know that I am fairly conservative and some would say old fashioned.  I don't know how that is since I am still only 35.  I spend a lot of time on the phone.  This advice will be very short and sweet.

SMILE BEFORE YOU ANSWER THE PHONE!

Image result for Smile
You absolutely can hear a smile and more importantly you can hear a frown!  It is very depressing to hear the ho, hum, answer of a receptionist answering the phone.  You may have read my rant about auto-attendants.  You can read it here I Yell At Phones.  If the person answering your phone is going to sound like their dog just died, (I hope that is not the case) don't have anyone answer your phone.  Please get someone with a pleasant voice to record a simple auto-attendant message.  Yup, I said it.  Use an auto-attendant.

The person answering your phone is a first impression of your company. It may seem trivial, but it sets the tone for the interaction.  People buy from people they like.  Read more about that here:  People Buy From People They Like

In case you think I am just a curmudgeon, here is another article on this very subject.  


Short rant for today.  Aren't you lucky?


If you like what you see, please share it!

============================================================
Lori Hanken has been in sales and marketing for over 30 years. She is passionate about service and providing value to her vendors, prospects and clients. Lori is currently co-owner of Total Displays with her husband David. They help people look great at events, trade shows, in retail, museums and develop long partnerships with customers and suppliers. If you would like to learn more, email her at lori@totaldisplays.com. She is an open networker, connect with her on LinkedIn here.

Read other Total Displays Blog posts at http://totaldisplays.blogspot.com/



Friday, June 24, 2016

Money Back Guarantee or Buyer's Remorse? You Choose.

Have you ever bought a trade show exhibit and were disappointed after you purchased it?  Maybe it was difficult to set up.  Maybe it didn't fit in your space.   Maybe you purchased it online and it didn't look like the picture when you got it?  Maybe you went for CHEAP, used it once and it was damaged?

Buyers remorse can be quite common in trade show exhibits.  Here is the reality people.

QUALITY MATTERS!

Honestly I have never seen an industry with so much variation in quality.  You can walk into your local print shop and buy a cheap pull up banner stand or pop-up display.  It is really a consumable item, it is not built to last.  Remember the old economic term, planned obsolescence?  It is cheap because you will need to replace it multiple times!

Here are some questions to ask:
  1. What kind of warranty is there on the product?
  2. Is it manufactured in the United States?
  3. Will the company train you on set-up?
  4. Do they charge for that set-up?
  5. How long has the manufacturer/distributor been in business?
  6. Do they have a physical location and actual showroom you can visit?
Here is the reality in this industry.  There are a lot of people trying to sell exhibit products to customers. You need to pick your partner and your product wisely.  Partnerships matter.

Total Displays is proud to represent Classic Exhibits products.  Through Classic Exhibits we are able to offer you A MONEY BACK GUARANTEE!  

Yup.  There it is.  For real.  Believe it.  

100's of configurations with a 100-Day "Love It" Guarantee - How can you go wrong?

Contact:  lori@totaldisplays.com or call 952-941-4511 to find out how to get your "Love It" trade show exhibit.



Contact sales@totaldisplays.com to schedule your appointment to take a look at these great products!

If you like what you see, please share it!

============================================================
Lori Hanken has been in sales and marketing for over 30 years. She is passionate about service and providing value to her vendors, prospects and clients. Lori is currently co-owner of Total Displays with her husband David. They help people look great at events, trade shows, in retail, museums and develop long partnerships with customers and suppliers. If you would like to learn more, email her at lori@totaldisplays.com. She is an open networker, connect with her on LinkedIn here.

Read other Total Displays Blog posts at http://totaldisplays.blogspot.com/


Friday, June 10, 2016

Trade Show Tips & Tricks - Today's Top Ten (Inlines)



I think if you were to ask me for a top 10 trade show tips, they would vary almost every day.  Every day we see so many companies making so many mistakes.   I had someone point out to me the other day, that I don't actually write about Total Displays and our business that much.  Our posts tend to focus on excellence in business.

Image result for tipsOf course being a trade show exhibit, accessories, training and services provider, that is what we eat, live, sleep and breathe every day.

So here are a few unsolicited tips for the day.


1.  Be Different
This is a difficult one for many.  As you walk the trade show floor and look at inlines you see so many people that just don't stand out at all.  I understand that everyone has budgets to consider.  But if you don't stand out at a trade show then you are wasting your money paying for floor space.  I see so many people putting their brand and their messaging on banner stands or traditional pop-ups.  Don't get me wrong, banner stands have a place and purpose, but creating an inline booth with banner stands does not make you stand out.   We have often seen 10 x 30's done with all banner stands.  You want something to catch your eye, make someone pause.  That is, enough of a pause for you to start a conversation with someone.

2.  Updated Graphics
Be sure your graphics and messaging are clear.  Anyone that comes by your booth should be able to identify what you do very quickly.  Make sure your brand is followed and consistent.  For example don't have different logos or tags interspersed throughout your booth.   Stay true to your brand's colors.  We have seen graphics that are dirty, ripped, not correctly installed on the frame.  This, of course, all represents your brand and your company in a negative light.

3. Display Hardware In Working Order
We watched a large company at a large grocers show working to set up their booth.  No one had checked the booth before it went out to make sure it was in working order.  We could hear them on the phone with the booth supplier asking what their options were.  Guess what the answer was, NONE.  Booths held together with duct tape, zip ties, binder clips?  We have seen it all.  The show attendees see it and notice it too.

4.  Booth Staff Training
As you know, this could be an entire blog post about behavior, clothing etc.  Here is what I will say for today.   Train your staff.  There are a lot of companies, like ours, that offer booth staff training.  You are paying a lot of money to exhibit at a trade show.  If your booth staff is not representing your company well it can be a waste of money.

5.  Booth Staff Selection
Don't overcrowd an inline booth with staff.  You want people to be able to come into your booth and engage with you.  Be sure you select the best staff for the size of the show and the products being represented.  Don't just send the new sales rep either.  First time in a booth with limited product/company knowledge can be dangerous.

6.  Booth Interaction
This could be as simple as a give away.  You want a give away that people will wear or that they will carry around.  This will generate interest and people will be looking for your booth.    Give aways that light up are big right now.  Contact your local supplier.  We do not sell give away items but if you want some advice, we are happy to help.   Other simple ideas include touch screen technology (see #7), spin to win games, contests and more.

7.  Technology
Even in an inline booth you can incorporate technology.  Touch screen technology that mirrors to a monitor on your backwall is a great draw.  We have some great technology solutions, if you would like a demonstration.  Cell phone charging stations, iPad kiosks, and electronic games are also good choices.


8.  CRM Usage
If you are not using CRM, you should be.  You should be tracking leads from each show to see how many you are getting and what are the results from those leads.   This will tie into number 9.

9.  Follow Up
Don't wait for months to follow up.  If you give your leads out to distributors make sure they are distributed quickly.  Remember these leads may have seen other companies with similar products.  With technology solutions like our lead retrieval/touch screen/content management solution you can follow up with people during the show.  You can deliver the content they are interested in, just as they leave your booth.  Talk about immediate gratification.  I have seen too many companies take forever to distribute their leads to their reps.

10.   Track ROI
Image result for roiI see people exhibiting at shows with no return on investment.  I see people not exhibiting at shows that should be.  Research shows.  Talk to other exhibitors.  Track the number of attendees.  Be sure to accumulate all your costs to see what a show is really costing you.   There are a number of ROI calculators out there.  The key is how detailed do you really want to be.  There are also a number of subjective things that should be considered/measured.  We can help you get started on this if you have no idea where to start!

A good trade show exhibit company will partner with you and help you in more than just booth design/selection.  Choose a partner that is strategic in nature and help you with your entire trade show exhibit and marketing program!  Choose a partner with multiple product lines, training workshops and more.  They are a partner not just a vendor.


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Lori Hanken has been in sales and marketing for over 30 years. She is passionate about service and providing value to her vendors, prospects and clients. Lori is currently co-owner of Total Displays with her husband David. They help people look great at events, trade shows, in retail, museums and develop long partnerships with customers and suppliers. If you would like to learn more, email her at lori@totaldisplays.com. She is an open networker, connect with her on LinkedIn here.
Read other Total Displays Blog posts at http://totaldisplays.blogspot.com/