Squeezing The Most Value Out Of Every Trade Show Lead
Wouldn’t it be great if every person you sent to work your trade show booth was a seasoned, expert seller on the show floor? If each one knew how to engage a prospect, present your product or service convincingly and answer any objections?
And most of all, if they knew how to go for the close—whatever the close is at that particular trade show? At some shows, you write orders right there on the show floor, which is easy. Once you’ve made your pitch, you ask the prospect if he or she wants it. There are subtleties to that approach, but that’s the basic process.
Some shows don’t allow sales on the show floor, so you have to close on something else: setting up an on-site demo, having the prospect visit your showroom, take a tour of your plant, et cetera.
It would be great to have those kinds of top-notch “closers” at every show. You’d know you were getting the most productive people out there on the front line, representing your company well and getting the greatest benefit from every interaction with every prospect.
But that doesn’t always happen.
Sometimes, you have to send newbies to the show—people with limited (or next to no) experience with the unique selling environment of the trade show floor. This post is designed to help you determine how you should prepare those people, to get them up to speed for the next show.
So between now and then, here’s what you have to do to prep your “farm team” staffers:
Teach Them Well:
If your staffers don’t know everything there is to know about your product or service, how will they be able to share this information with show attendees in a way that excites and interests them? Give these staffers homework: make sure they read the sales literature on your products or services.
Then, throw a pop quiz at them—often. Ask them the types of questions prospects are likely to ask. If they don’t have the answers, work with them to develop the answers you’d like them to be able to deliver when those questions are asked.
Cop An Attitude:
Natural born sales people are innately gregarious, warm, thoughtful and persuasive. They’ve developed superior presentation skills and naturally communicate clearly and engagingly. They do their homework in advance and know their product information inside and out. Beyond that, they work on their own packaging, presenting themselves well in the way they’re dressed and groomed.
They understand that anything about their personal appearance that might be off-putting to others is a barrier to their success in sales. They probably “dress for success”. And they practice the truth in the saying (incorrectly attributed to Abraham Lincoln, by the way) that “folks are usually about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Because they make up their minds to be happy, prospects are drawn to these types much more than they would be to someone who’s skeptical of his or her own abilities.
Strike While The Iron Is Hot
Numerous surveys have shown that as many as 80% of the companies that exhibit at trade shows don’t have a process in place for following up on leads. As a result,who gets followed up on (or if someone gets followed up on) is largely left to the individual sales staffer.
While a seasoned pro might know what to do in this situation, a newbie will flounder, doing one of two things: (1) wasting time on poor quality leads, or (2) ruining a “hot” lead by following up poorly.
This is where many companies fail collectively in their trade show marketing efforts. Without a plan, the best salespeople will cherry pick the hottest leads, while those prospects who may need a little nurturing before they’re ready to buy will get ignored, simply because there’s no perceived value in them.
A good sales trainer will tell you that all trade show leads should be followed up on within three days of the show. This requires just as much planning and preparation as readying your staff does. You have to have a process prepared for evaluating leads:
– “hot” means they’re ready to make a purchase,
– “warm” means they’re in the decision making process, and
– “cold” means they need more information before they can be convinced to buy.
Before the show, you need your follow-up tools in place: stationery to write notes to the hottest leads, thanking them for stopping by the booth and suggesting a time for the next step in the closing process (product demo, plant tour, et cetera). Emails can go out to the warm and cold leads, thanking them, as well, and offering a next step (product literature, a call to answer questions, et cetera).
The follow-up process doesn’t stop with just one contact. You need a system in place that helps you remember to follow up again and again with these contacts at the appropriate time, until you’ve squeezed the last drop of value out of every lead.
With well-trained booth staffers and a strong system in place for following up on leads, you’ll be in a great position to make the most out of every interaction at your next show.
And while you’re rethinking your approach to trade show selling, maybe it’s time to rethink your trade show booth design. Does it represent your company the way you want prospects to see you? If you’re thinking of something new, give us a call. You can reach us at (425) 556-9511, or email me at [email protected]. We’d be happy to show you how one of the many product lines we represent can be a perfect fit for your trade show exhibiting program.