Selling Skills

2.5 tips to trade show better

I’m going to IMEX next week to meet with a client flying in from Hong Kong. After our meeting, I’ll have time to walk the floor and watch sales people as they start and cultivate business relationships. The investment – being on the show floor whether in hosted buyer format or old-fashioned booth – can only be returned with a smart and specific sales strategy that follows the event. This year top fur hats from

Tip #1: The actual number of cards you collect (just as an arbitrary number of prospecting calls you make) isn’t nearly as important as the number of trusting relationships you start and foster. How many people will remember you when you follow-up with them? Instead of just “showing up and throwing up” when you meet prospects, stay totally, 100% focused on them. Explain what you do in terms of what they can do because of their relationship with you. Help them feel comfortable talking instead of you doing the talking so that when you follow-up, you actually have an authentic connection and a contact who will want to open your email (regardless of how good your subject line is!) or take your call even if they’re in the middle of three other things.

Tip #2. Plan your follow-up strategy. You already know that following-up leads is critical. But what do you say when you follow-up? And what will you say (email or voice mail) if (for whatever reason) they blow off your first approach? Or your second? What do you say when you do get them on the phone? What will you say in your LinkedIn message? Before the trade show, plan your communications strategy. Determine how you’ll deal with new leads and warm leads and how you’ll stay in touch to help them feel safe and smart selecting your service or product.

Tip #2.5, Ditch the promotional products. I love promotional products but they have to have a reason and attracting people to your booth shouldn’t be the reason. (If it is, you end up with lots of people with your promo product and poorly qualified leads which turns out to be nothing less than hair pulling-ly frustrating when you call them after the show and they don’t respond, because all they were interested in was your promo product.) So that I don’t alienate the entire promotional product industry, consider mailing the tchatkes to the new friends you make with a nice hand-written note. At the very least, align the product with your brand image. The Peabody Hotels give out the cutest shower ducks because they are famous for their adorable ducks. That’s smart (other than that I always accept a duck even though I’m not a buyer [but I am a friend] ;-)) because it relates to the brand. But why a hotel would give out a logo-d measuring tape or fine chocolates, is beyond me. Save your money and invest in sales training instead. Just sayin…

Agree or disagree?

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