Perfecting Your Pitch in Your Expo Displays
The most important 30 seconds in your trade show are going to happen over and over throughout the show. What are you doing to prepare for them? Do you have an elevator pitch prepared?
If there is a heart to your expo displays, it’s your one-on-one interactions with people as they come by. All the other elements of the booth are there to bring those visitors toward ou and funnel them into a handshake and a quick discussion of your proposition for them. Hopefully, of course, you qualify them and that conversation becomes longer, or at least business cards are exchanged.
And also like a heart, it’s beating all the time. The flow of traffic into your expo booths brings a nonstop parade of new leads. The more you impress, the better your sales report is going to look. And you’ve only got about 30 seconds – or less – to get your foot in the door.
Making The Most Of Face Time At Your Trade Show Display
I. Customize Your Pitch
It’s not rocket science – even all-stars like Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson adjusted their pitching to match the batter. Before your conversation even starts, try to briefly size up each person as they move towards your trade show booth. It’s usually easy to pick up a few clues about how to best approach them with a bit of observation: even tiny details like how expensive their clothing brands are, or how they carry themselves when they walk, can give you clues to their personality.
This is important because your pitch shouldn’t be canned and presented verbatim to each person as they walk by your expo display.
We’re living in an age of growing personalization, where consumers are beginning to genuinely demand to be treated like individuals again. Obviously-canned pitches will tend to sour people today unless you’ve got a great gimmick going.
So there’s no harm at all in doing a bit of “cold reading.” It’s just helping you target your pitch a bit.
Lead With A Question or A Value
There are advantages to either strategy. Leading with a targeted question is often a smoother and more polite way to begin a conversation than the more typical “Hi, lemme tell ya about ME!” sort of pitch.
On the other hand, most people at trade shows are sufficiently dazzled and\or tired after ten minutes that the direct approach, if done properly, grabs their attention and holds it anyway.
If you’re going to go straight for the pitch, lead off with a one-liner that identifies yourself and your company, and then presents your primary value to the customer as your goal. Be specific. It’s not just “I’m here to save you money,” but rather a quick summary of how your propositionwill boost their bottom line. Cut to the chase and make it matter to them.
Otherwise, if you lead with a question, try to keep the conversation steered towards your product and its values to the customer. Try giving choice questions, like asking whether they prefer option A, B, or C. That gets people immediately thinking about themselves in relation to your product or service.
Vary Up The Conversation
At some point, if they’re the right prospect, you’re almost certainly going to be trying to launch into a real pitch, unless you’re having a highly productive conversation. (If it’s working, keep it going.) While speaking, keep in mind that the person in front of you is going to be constantly bombarded with noises that you’re probably tuning out.
They’re going to be very easily distracted, in other words. So, distract them first.
This is where tablets can be great. If you have tablets with demos easily on-hand, it’s simple to segue into a visually-aided pitch with a simple, “Here, let me show you!” Just have a few tablet kiosks scattered around that you, your staff, or customers can all use to explore your offerings.
In the meantime, switching up gears will keep the person interested, and you’re more likely to pull them into part two of the pitch. Plus, adding visuals to a presentation is virtually always a good idea anyway, so it helps both ways.
Use Social Media To Exchange Contact Info
Traditional business cards are still an important accessory at your trade show display, but when possible, get a social media connection out of each lead. It immediately establishes a closer connection than telephone or email, and opens up new horizons in outreach and content marketing.
If you’re working iPad kiosks into your trade show booth design, this can be made part of it, with an offer to quickly exchange contacts on the spot.
Just like with traditional mailing lists, you’ll see more signups if you offer a freebie of some sort as an incentive. Most people are happy to trade their email or hit “Like” on Facebook for the sake of a coupon or other little bonus.
Since the quality of your leads will drop as the generosity of your freebie grows, it’s probably best to keep it small, more as a “thank you” gift than a major offer.
Pitch Another Aspect
Try not to end on the contact exchange. Use the social trade to move into a discussion of a different aspect of your offerings. Try to keep the conversation going, although you shouldn’t force it if they want to move on. Again, changing gears helps keep them interested in you and not in all the other booths around them.
Because, of course, another advantage of pitching at a trade show as opposed to an elevator is that far more people there are in a buying mindset. (Aside from the ones just there to mooch the merch.) So if they’re going to spend the next six hours listening to pitches anyway, you just need to give them reasons to listen to yours first.
If you have a demo or model for them to handle, it’s a great time to move on to that as well. Trying to engage different senses also holds people’s attention, and everyone likes hands-on time with demo products or models at your expo booth.
We hammer on this whenever any of us blogs about pitches, but you and your staff should keep practicing your techniques, or at least put in some solid cramming in the weeks leading up to your next trade show displays.
Do role-playing with each other, and keep in mind how you like to be treated when you’re on the receiving end. Work on your cold reading, so you can be better at guessing customer needs. Look for ways to move more information into interactive formats, or at least visual ones.
Nothing demonstrates the value of your trade show displays more than increased sales. Keep the human element in mind, and make sure your 30-second pitches are as targeted and involving as possible!