Your Big Trade Show Was Just Cancelled. 3 Ways to Pivot! | ODEA

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Your Big Trade Show Was Just Cancelled. 3 Ways to Pivot!

You’ve been prepping for months getting ready for the biggest trade show of the year. Travel plans are set, meetings with potential customers are on the calendar, now all that’s left is to go and wow ‘em. Then you get the dreaded email: TRADE SHOW CANCELLED. Uh-oh.

Whether it is a lack of toilet paper at the local Costco or a cancelled event, efforts to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus are starting to affect us all. So, what to do with all that time you won’t be spending at the trade show? Open a bottle of wine and wipe your tears with the beautifully designed one-pagers you planned on passing out to all those hot prospects? We’ve got a better idea. Make that three.

Blast into the CRM past

Remember all those amazing leads you met at last year’s show that have since gone quiet? Time to reconnect. Fire up that CRM or dig out that box underneath your desk (Yes, we see you old-school sales guys!) and find those contacts. Just because you can’t give a friendly, “Ready to talk more?” in person doesn’t mean you can’t do it via email.

BONUS: If you can’t be face-to-face, what about screen-to-screen? Embrace the opportunity to reconnect with key prospects via Skype or another video call platform. The quicker you reach out, the better! Secure your spot on would-have-been attendees’ calendars before they too have reallocated the time they would have spent at the show.

Welcome to my Ted Talk

You’ve spent the last six weeks practicing your session presentation in the bathroom mirror and in front of your dog. You are so ready to wow a captive audience but now there’s no event to gather that room full of eager listeners. That doesn’t mean your pooch needs to be the only one to soak in your brilliance. Go digital and turn that presentation into a webinar. Now you’ve got a great piece of content to slice-and-dice for wherever you may need it, and the world isn’t missing out on the amazing content you prepared.

If you weren’t planning a formal presentation but have a great message that you were planning on delivering to folks who stopped by your booth, consider a podcast or an audio blog. Look at partnering with a complimentary business/service that also had the rug pulled out from under them from the abrupt cancellation to share your audiences.

Pivot, pivot, pivot those dollars

Trade shows are a big expense. Your team already has the budget planned out to the cent but now you no longer have an exhibit to ship, or a sales team to fly in and lodge. So, what to do with those dollars? Take that money and put it towards a prospecting direct mail piece. Create something dimensional that will grab attention and help your business stand out from all the others trying to capture new leads in alternative ways.

BONUS: Already have items you planned on giving away at the trade show? Don’t let them go to waste! Turn them into 3D mailers. These can be a great additional touch after reaching out over the phone or through a video call.

We know, there’s nothing like connecting IRL (in real life). And we understand that a last-minute show cancellation isn’t ideal, but there’s no reason to shelve all your hard work and brilliance. Use this as an opportunity to re-allocate those efforts in a BOLD new way!

Have you experienced a trade show cancellation? Tell us how your team handled the situation. Drop us a line at [email protected].