If you’re wondering how to reach the top as a manufacturer, you’ll want to read this.
We talked to five successful manufacturers whose firsthand experience taught them how to capitalize on the Archery Trade Association’s Trade Show, the archery and bowhunting industry’s largest and most inclusive show. They agreed to share some sales, marketing and business best practices to help new manufacturers get off to a fast start at the 2018 ATA Trade Show, which is Jan. 11-13 in Indianapolis.
Let’s Meet the Pros:
- Chris James, vice president of sales, national accounts, for FeraDyne Outdoors
- Tim Galliher, vice president and national sales manager for MoJack Distributors, including the Scent Crusher division
- Tanja Washburn, vice president of Rinehart Targets
- Derek Nelson, content manager, Mathews Archery Inc.
- Natalie Gatien, marketing director, SpyPoint
1. How do you draw attendees to your booth?
Tim Galliher is the vice president and national sales manager for MoJack Distributors, including the Scent Crusher division. "The Show can be stressful for retail buyers," he said. "Make your booth fun so retailers are always smiling and having fun, and they’ll keep coming back." Photo Credit: Scent Crusher via Facebook
TG/Scent Crusher: We use multiple approaches with one of the best marketing groups in the outdoors industry, RubLine Marketing. They help us coordinate invitations and awareness starting the summer before the Show. Direct mail, social campaigns, personal invitations, and digital and magazine marketing techniques are all part of the multilevel approach. The Show can be stressful for retail buyers. Make your booth fun so retailers are always smiling and having fun, and they’ll keep coming back.
TW/Rinehart Targets: Rinehart has a reputation for fun, innovative 3-D targets, as well as high-quality retail products. That’s always a great draw for clubs and dealers who assist them. We have been successful in running our “key promotion” the past several years. We attach a key to a note card that gets placed in each goodie bag. This key offers everyone the chance to win a Rinehart 3-D Target. The lines get so long that we dedicate a pro-staff member to manage the promotion.
DN/Mathews Archery Inc.: We give attendees incentives to visit our booth by giving them something worthwhile. If you’re going to give away swag, make it unique, exciting and valuable. Use that as your springboard to business.
NG/SpyPoint: We used the ATA hotel-card sponsorship last year, which was a success. We’ve used a mix of different marketing strategies in past years, but sending “save the dates” and appointments cards are still a great success with most of our accounts.
2. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the greatest, how much does your booth’s appearance matter? How about its size?
Tanja Washburn, vice president of Rinehart Targets, says exhbitors should ensure their booth has relevant products and displays, and that staff and attendees can easily navigate the booth. "If a vendor tries to incorporate too many items or displays in a small space, it appears cluttered and messy, which makes it difficult for dealers to review," she said. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo
CJ/FeraDyne Outdoors: Bigger booths are easier to see and less likely to be missed. However, the key is effectively using what you can afford. Ensure your space has good graphics, knowledgeable staff, and something to draw the customers’ attention.
TG/Scent Crusher: Size is important, but not more important than space. Those two things are different. How you use that size is so important. Make your booth attractive but informative. The space must be functional. When a retailer comes in, your products, pricing, offers and packages all must be easy to see and understand, and be executable.
TW/Rinehart Targets: I’d say a 7 or 8, because if you don’t have a solid product that’s in demand, the best booth in the world won’t help. Ensure your booth has relevant products and displays, and that your staff and attendees can easily navigate it. We have mirror-image displays on the newest products, and can run multiple meetings without interfering with each other. If a vendor tries to incorporate too many items or displays in a small space, it appears cluttered and messy, which makes it difficult for dealers to review.
NG/SpyPoint: I’d say it’s an 11. I like to make sure the presentation’s quality at the ATA Trade Show is as great as our products. To sound a little cliché, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Retailers get solicited left and right with all kinds of great visuals, so try to stand out and look your best.
3. What’s the ideal number of team members/salespeople to have around your exhibit space to talk to potential customers?
When considering how to staff your booth, Derek Nelson, content manager for Mathews Archery Inc., says to consider your traffic. "It’s intimidating for customers to walk by a 30-square-foot booth with eight salespeople staring them down," he said. "Spread out your staff, and make people feel comfortable and welcome." Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo
CJ/FeraDyne Outdoors: I typically like one-on-one meetings. For every 10 to 20 feet of space, two sales representatives are sufficient. Once you get larger items, it might be one to two people for every 30 to 40 feet of space.
TW/Rinehart Targets: It depends on the amount of space and product’s complexity. We run a 20-by-50-foot booth, and we have about 10 people, including pro-staff members and a few sales representatives cycling through. Balance is important. Have enough people to help, but not so many that it’s cramped or they’re standing around doing nothing.
DN/Mathews Archery Inc.: This is relative to the size of your booth and your company. Having too many people is better than not enough because you don’t want to keep valuable retailers waiting. However, you must have the traffic to support the number of staff at your booth. It’s intimidating for customers to walk by a 30-square-foot booth with eight salespeople staring them down. Spread out your staff, and make people feel comfortable and welcome.
4. What’s your best sales tactic for closing with retailers on the spot?
Chris James, vice president of sales and national accounts for FeraDyne Outdoors, urges exhbitors not to "oversell" their products. "Try to relate to the retailer and demonstrate through hands-on usage and video," he said. "Tell retailers how you’re going to sell product on their shelves, not just sell it to them." Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo
CJ/FeraDyne Outdoors: Don’t oversell it. Try to relate to the retailer and demonstrate through hands-on usage and video. Tell retailers how you’re going to sell product on their shelves, not just sell it to them.
TG/Scent Crusher: Know your products and early-order discounts. Give them confidence that your company is doing its part to drive consumers to their store and create brand awareness.
DN/Mathews Archery Inc.: We always have Show specials. Our sales representatives give retailers a Show-special sheet when they enter our booth. We offer deals if retailers buy certain amounts of products, and we sometimes throw in items for free. Giving them incentives to make a purchase works well. It’s hard to turn down good deals, and they often make a purchase on the spot.
5. What tips would you give new manufacturers exhibiting at the 2018 ATA Trade Show?
Natalie Gatien, marketing director for SpyPoint, says it's important to look your best in all aspects of the Show. "I like to make sure the presentation’s quality at the ATA Trade Show is as great as our products," she said. "Don’t understaff the booth, and have personnel who are great ambassadors for the company/brand." Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo
CJ/FeraDyne Outdoors: Don’t expect to write a ton of orders at the Show. Many retailers simply collect info on new companies at the ATA Show. They go back to review them, and write orders later. Following up on every lead is a key component of getting started.
TG/Scent Crusher: Plan. Put a good strategy in place. Make sure your marketing and point-of-purchase displays are flawless. Scale the booth size to your budget and work with that space to bring it to life. Have a well-laid-out plan to market to consumers before the Show. Attract them to you. Be sure your Show staff are fun, energetic and knowledgeable.
TW/Rinehart Targets: Set a manageable booth, be honest with dealers and your expectations, and make sure you can deliver on your promises. Above all else, have fun with it. You’re taking the first major step toward an idea you’re passionate about.
DN/Mathews Archery Inc.: Focus on your booth’s appearance and creating buzz around your company, rather than trying to offer everything you can. Publicity and having something to attract people to your booth is more important. Promote in as many places as possible, but make sure it’s meaningful and that you offer something valuable to customers. There’s a balance there.
NG/SpyPoint: Don’t understaff the booth, and have personnel who are great ambassadors for the company/brand. And look your best in all aspects of the Show.
Think about this:
“The ATA Show is the Super Bowl of the archery and bowhunting industry,” Galliher said. “If you were a professional athlete, you would train and practice all year for that event. Don’t start planning for your Super Bowl a month before.”
Read our article “7 Exhibitor Must-Do’s for the 2018 ATA Trade Show” to prepare for the Show.
Visit the ATA website to view sponsorships and booth promotion opportunities; and contact Becky Lux, ATA’s senior Trade Show manager, to discuss these tips and other ways to drive traffic to your booth at the 2018 ATA Trade Show.