Just back from one of the large equine expos that has everything under the sun from crab cakes to mounted archery demos, including a fair amount of trailer dealers. One of the great things about this kind of event is the opportunity to just talk with people about what they are doing, learn about how the industry is doing and dig a bit deeper.
After seeing a large range of different approaches, I noticed some trends that are worth sharing here with all of you. The majority of these places felt like I was talking with used car salespeople, instead of a large investment type sale. Most were completely forgettable, and one was just cranky and rude. I don’t care what kind of day you are having. Deal with it elsewhere and put a smile on your face. You’ve paid a good amount to be at this event, don’t blow it because you are acting miserable.
Out of the nine dealerships, six were using similar red and black branding. Why try to look like everyone else? Answer – Nobody looked around at the competition before putting something together.
Jamming all of your brands on one banner is fine, but be sure that you can tell which one is the Dealer logo. Solution – get a decent designer involved. If you can’t find one in your area, call me.
Most everyone relies on the manufacturer to provide professional looking brochures, unless they are the manufacturer. Then there were plenty of bad layouts and faded inkjet printing for something that costs $45,000 – $95,000.
Trailers are a BIG investment for most horse owners, custom interior or not. If you go to a car dealership to get a car in this range, you’d better believe everything you see, feel and touch in there is going to reflect quality and performance for every penny. Send your layout to Staples and have it printed and mounted next time for $30. Park it on a $10 packable easel instead of scotch-taping six sheets together to one of your pricy trailers. Would you do that to a $50K BMW? Mindset change – Think class, not crap.
Trade Show Space
Only a few teams bothered to be easy to find in a sea of metal. Bring some elements that are welcoming, such as extra chairs for customers to sit in and get off their feet if they have questions or hopefully during the invoice write up.
Inexpensive brochure holders elevate the importance of your information on offer. Bring or rent floor plants or waft some cinnamon buns around to create a welcoming feel (Nice job to the guys that thought of this). Have an iPad on a stand to get names and addresses fast and download your leads list after the show to share with your sales team.
Look at some of the horse show aisles for inspiration if you are at a loss of where to start. Flowers, furniture, carpets, framed photos. And don’t tell me there’s no way to transport things to the show.
Don’t call me “Hun”
Just going to leave that one there. It’s 2017 already.
Believe me, I know who I will call first when I’m ready to get another trailer. The owners that took the time to answer my questions when they learned that I was not shopping and build a relationship and some trust for a sale down the road. The ones that shared how their business was doing this year, knew exactly who their customer groups are and could explain how they fit into the market.
Trailer sales is a tough market and there are so many easy improvements to make your potential customers want to call you after the event. You’ve invested in the space, hauled all of your inventory to the event, closed shop, and paid time and travel for your staff to be here. Make the most of the opportunity. The list above is really Trade Show 101. It’s not difficult to be memorable and begin to create that relationship. It’s really easy to leave a bad taste or worse – no taste – in a potential shoppers memory.
If you are ready to make some changes to your approach before your next large show or event, let’s talk and be sure that you are ready to make the most of this opportunity.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As a life-long equestrian, I understand the importance of keeping our horses healthy, happy and well-appointed. I’m also a marketing consultant who helps equine and pet businesses refine their marketing strategy to attract more pre-qualified customers. Unlike non-equine agencies, I understand your business and your ideal customer before creating your strategy.
And with over 15 years of experience in marketing, I can help you to translate that shared goal into a brand that drives sales. I’ve mastered marketing strategy, branding, website production and digital media marketing, and led successful teams to bring it all together. So it’s a pleasure to offer my services and knowledge to those who make my life more enjoyable, and to bring new products and services to others to keep our horses happy and healthy. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn!