Appointment setting is an effective strategy for getting the right visitors to your trade show booth. When you know who is coming to your booth and when, you can be prepared to have the right person deliver a targeted message.
While the focus of appointment setting is often on prospects and media, trade show exhibitors should emphasize setting appointments with existing clients to maintain and enhance relationships.
How Should I Contact the Client?
While it’s perfectly acceptable for the account rep to contact the client, it’s even better for a senior level executive to reach out to invite clients personally. This will go a log way towards showing that the account is important at every level of your organization.
Which Clients Should I Invite?
Extend an invitation to all of your clients! And don’t forget procurement managers. If your clients are larger enterprises, ask them to bring along a peer or superior. Cocktail hours on the show floor before the big dinners start are usually well attended.
Who Should Meet with the Clients?
At a minimum, the account rep should meet with the client at the show. You should also schedule executives to be in the booth while clients are there to show that your organization cares at the highest levels.
What Should We Talk About? Should We Pitch to Our Clients?
While it’s tempting to show off your latest product feature or mobile app, don’t fall into the trap. Every client conversation should start with a pulse check and an open-ended satisfaction question. Ask what new business challenges they are facing and THEN offer to show new products or services. You’ll be able to have a more tailored, customized conversation.
How Long Should Each Appointment Last?
HIMSS is non-stop crazy for everyone, so keep meetings under 30 minutes, unless you want to vastly expand your engagement with the client or are meeting with a senior level executive. Even then, try to keep meetings under 60 minutes. Schedule longer meetings towards the beginning of the week when everyone is still fresh. A full week of HIMSS can leave attendees looking like automatons.
I’m Not Exhibiting. Can I Still Schedule Appointments at HIMSS?
If you don’t have a HIMSS booth, try getting a hotel concierge suite. You can apply all the same tactics listed above, but in a more compact schedule. But be forewarned: space can be limited at hotels within walking distance of the venue, depending on location.