How to Easily Remember Your Prospect’s Story & Solve Their Problems

When you finish up at a trade show, what do you have to show for it? A fishbowl full of business cards? A stack of lead forms? A computer file from the badge scanner?

These all give you some information that will be helpful in the follow-up process. But, there’s a bit more to successful trade show marketing, and it’s important to realize that this isn’t all that you could be finding out about your prospects.detective vector art

Each visitor to your exhibit has a story: a tale of their wants and needs. This story may well include needing your product or service to meet those needs.

To help your sales force create that potential, you need to document the outline of that visitor’s story in your lead records.

Yes, save the bare-bone details of the conversations your booth staffers had with these leads. Then your salespeople can recreate the mindset those prospects were in when they visited your booth. This makes a huge difference!

To get that information, your staffers must understand the importance of these details.

Once you have those trade show conversations records, there also has to be a system for earmarking:

1) which leads are in need of immediate follow-up
2) which need to stay warm
3) and which need long-term gestation to become real prospects.

Don’t make this process complicated. It can be as simple as A, B and C for hot, warm and cool, or red, yellow and green adhesive dots that staffers affix on each lead card.

But both steps are important – give your sales team the details of the conversation the lead had with your booth staff, and prioritize the follow up queue.

This way, the sales person can recreate the excitement the lead had about the product when he or she was in the booth.

This puts your sales team way ahead of your competitors, who are likely working with just the lead’s name and contact information.

Think about it: who would you like to interact with? Do you want to talk with someone who just knows your name, that is asking lots of questions? Of course not!

Your trade show marketing process will be a lot more efficient if the salesperson can remind you (the prospect) about who you spoke with, and what was said. They already know what you said your specific problems were, and how they might be able to help solve that problem.

This means you don’t have to start over, instead you’re continuing the original conversation. That little extra effort sets you apart from your competition and means that knowing your prospects’ stories will give you a big edge.

To finish up on the follow-up process, send your sales force the hottest leads right after the show. This way, your sales people are interacting with the most likely-to-buy prospects as soon as the show is over.

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Let your sales team addresses the most promising “hot” or “A” leads first. Then have them follow up with the B group soon after, and delegate a staffer to add the C group to your ongoing marketing list.

The C group may not need or want immediate follow up. But you should reach out to them from time to time with product news and company information. This will keep you uppermost in their minds when the time comes to make a buying decision.

Most companies make a mistake and begin the sales process by focusing on telling their story. They want to tell you how long they’ve been in business. Then they talk about how many products they sold last year, which of their products have won awards, and so on.

Customers don’t want that information at the beginning of the interaction. They’re looking to solve a problem, and the discussion should be all about them, not you.

Learning your customer’s story is important. It touches the customer at the point of their interests, and keeps the focus on what’s important to them.

We’ve all heard the tale of the only radio station customers listen to: WIIFM. It stands for “What’s In It For Me?”

And it’s true: that is the beginning and ending of a prospect’s interest. You can’t talk them into seeing your product’s superiority by telling them about your product.

You have to show how your product can solve their existing problem (what’s in it for them). But how do you find out what those needs are?

You ask questions. Simple, direct, easy-to-answer questions that get at the core of the prospect’s story.

Here are a few examples, where “widgets” stand in for your company’s product:

1) How do you picture your company using to solve your problem?

2) What is it about the problem that solve that keeps you up at night?

3) What are your concerns about investing in ?

Over 1000 Island Trade Show Displays

Over 1000 Island Trade Show Displays

When you ask questions like these, you’re doing two things the prospect immediately likes; (1) you’re showing you’re interested in his or her situation, and (2) you’re letting the prospect talk about him or herself.

These are big positive signals to a prospect that you care. And showing that you care will also separate you from the average booth staffer who just wants to fill out a lead form and get on to the next one.

Capturing that little bit of added information is key to successful trade show marketing. It’s simple to make a short note about each prospect that visits your exhibit.

Doing so will help you create a positive experience about your company in the prospect’s mind. You’ll also make it easier and more effective for your sales staff to follow up after the show. And that’s a happy ending!

You do still want to tell your story at the trade show, just in a more subtle way. Use your trade show booth design and related graphics to do the talking, while your staffers are listening to your clients. [Read Trade Show Marketing 101: What Do Your Leads “Want”? for more ideas.]

How’s your booth doing when it comes to communicating what’s in it for the prospects who visit your trade show display?

For more, read how to pre-qualify your leads or tips on how to improve your follow up.

If you need help making your story simpler, stronger or more persuasive, let us show you what American Image Displays can do. Call us at (800) 676-3976 or email [email protected].
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