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Trade Show Booth: Internet versus Consultative Sales

Consultative trade show display buyingAs a small business owner specializing in trade show booths and events I have had to answer the question that has become quite common over the last few years. “Why is there significant price difference between your pop-up display and the one I just found on the Internet?  The standard answer which most in this industry used was “Quality.”  And it is the one of the correct answers, but does the consumer believe it?  Many do, but just as many believe it’s a ploy on our end to close the sale.

Yet, there’s more than quality involved.  Let’s explore what I believe to be the 4 significant differences between these types of sales, and how the Internet has benefited the consumer by us lowering our prices to compete while assuring a higher level of quality, design, and service.

1.  Quality

There is no question that low-priced trade show displays pale in comparison in the quality department. Unfortunately, many exhibitors don’t find this out until after they buy.  Mostly it’s the materials being used.  For example most low-end pop-up displays use low-grade aluminum frames.  At Skyline for example we have aluminum, composite fiberglass, and carbon fiber composite frames.  This gives us the ability to sell against our own product.  See this video on aluminum vs. composite frames.

Visualize it this way: bikes were once made of steel, and then they progressed to aluminum, and eventually to carbon fiber composite.  Bottom line it’s a stronger, lighter material that takes the pounding of the trade show world more efficiently.  So the quality of the frame itself is different.  But where the consumer sees another significant difference is in the quality of graphics.  Many times Internet sellers’ graphics are made for “one-time” use, so when you transport these exhibits, the graphics have a tendency to suffer.

Jeff Anderson of Christoff Mitchell Petroleum said it best:  “I had already purchased a less expensive aluminum pop-up display via the Internet when I discovered Skyline’s Mirage.  I wanted a high-quality pop-up that will last for years, so I bought the Mirage as well.  Not only is the frame the most durable on the market, but Skyline’s graphics are incomparable.  Now someone else owns the Internet unit!”

2.  Service

Basically, if you buy on the Internet you are now responsible for the design, logistics, and install and dismantle of your exhibit.  You become the fulfillment house.  There is no consultant on the other end of the line.  They are order takers.  They will quote and ship and that’s about it.  In a consultant sale you get the same level of service as if you were buying a large exhibit.  The representative realizes on our end that this is the entrance into a relationship with a client that they can help grow over the years. Also with our products you get lifetime guarantees.  Internet offers no guarantee or very limited in their time and scope.

3.  Design

Most consultant-based distributors have a full complement of designers and production artist for you use.  These designers are constantly retrained on new designs and concepts that are using the best of the new products available to the exhibitor.  Most importantly, they specialize in trade show exhibit design, so they know how to best attract the eye of the trade show attendee.  The Internet-based sale will have you do all the lay out and the conceptual design while providing you only grids.

4.  Relationship

Trade show consultants understand your industry.  Current trends, new products, shipping, storage, installation and dismantle, and most importantly, we are experts in design and spatial concepts to help assure your success at the shows and events that you attend.  And even if you don’t need these types of services on the lower end of the product spectrum it’s critically important to establish relationships with consultants that can help you across the wide spectrum of activities that you company attends over time. The best consultants realize that the first sale is the gateway into a long term relationship and they are the business extension of your organization.  Our job is to make you look good.  That includes far more than just the product.

Our shared goal: Your long term success

There is still a perception that there is a significant premium to go with a consultant product sale versus an Internet sale.  As business owners, we have met your demand for a lower-priced product, while keeping a high level of service and quality.  Our goal is your goal of long-term success.

What's Working In Exhibiting White PaperThe ultimate goal of the consultative approach is to help your client achieve their greatest success.  That’s why we provide items like the What’s Working In Trade Show Marketing White Paper, to give you insights into proven methods for boosting your results and stretching your budget.   Click here to get your free copy.

About the Author

Chuck is the CEO of Skyline Displays Northern California. His company has helped over a thousand high-tech exhibitors build their brand and generate leads with their Northern California trade show displays. He focuses on providing flexible, creative exhibit solutions that boost results and maximize trade show budgets.

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