Archive for July, 2011

Is your booth staff a help or a hindrance?

You spend a ton to exhibit in shows.  Your long list of costs  include the real estate expense for that great booth location, the display and graphics costs for a professional impression, the marketing materials, give-a-ways and shipping fees to get everything to the show.  And don’t forget the time the sales staff spends out of the office and all the travel, accommodations and meals you have to pay for.

What you may not realize is that no matter where your booth is located, how impressive your display is, how cool your freebees are or how much pre-show marketing you did to attract attendees, it will all be wasted unless the people representing your company in the booth make a good first impression.  You think I am kidding?  Well here is a startling statistic from CEIR, the center for exhibition industry research. “80% of attendees base their opinions of your company on the actions of your employees at the booth”.  This is a
great incentive to provide advanced exhibit marketing training to the people who will be representing your company at the show. Unfortunately most businesses never get that memo.  The common practice is to send the sales team to work the booth. The assumption is that they’ve been selling for years so they should know how to sell on the show floor. This is somewhat true, but there are many differences between selling in the field and selling at a show.   Time to engage and qualify is limited, there are multiple distractions and the environment is noisy. A different sales strategy is required.  Unless taught otherwise, the sales person will
use the same pitch at the booth they use on the road or in the office.  The result is multiple representatives giving three different sets of information to prospects with no ability to determine why one person is successful booking appointments or selling products and the
others are not.  Without a consistent marketing message and call to action from each person in the booth you will be at a loss
to determine what works and what doesn’t.  Sales people are ego driven and take pride in their personal
techniques.  It is a difficult task to change someone’s behavior if they have been doing the same thing for years.  One way to get everyone on the same page and provide an opportunity to quantify results is by brainstorming with your team
before the show.  Develop a simple sales script that emphasizes customer benefits, showcases product features, highlights
services, qualifies or disqualifies and asks for the sale or lead.  If you write it down and require them to use it consistently, you will be able to track results from day to day.  A random approach by every different salesperson could never be tracked in that way.
Give it a try and let me know how it works out.

Susan Ratliff. The Exhibit Expert, www.susanratliffpresents.com

Pakistan show is success

I am one of those Americans with little experience or exposure to the business world in other countries, so I was delighted to have the chance to get up close and personal with a dozen accomplished women entrepreneurs from Pakistan last March when they asked to consult with me about my Women Entrepreneur’ Small Business Boot Camp conference.  I blogged about the visit at: https://blingmybooth.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/women-entrepreneurs-from-pakistan-visit-arizona/ Today I was delighted to hear from one of those very successful ladies, Fozia Gulfam, who is the CEO of Danbys Skincare International.  She recently held an event for the company in conjunction with a Bridal show in Pakistan where she achieved fabulous success and received wonderful media coverage. Take a look at the video and you will see a vibrant, exciting, modern event with fabulously beautiful and talented people in a setting that could easily be New York or LA.  I would not have pictured it that way. I need to get out of my comfort zone and learn about the vast assortment of tradeshows, conventions, expos and consumer shows happening around the world.  It’s time to explose ourselves to a whole new world of possibilities for marketing and sales outside these United States.  Let’s go!  http://youtu.be/uNkduwZ0mpk

Stay focused on your goals

I got a call from a client the other day asking for my opinion on a booth promotion he wanted to execute at an upcoming tradeshow. His goal was to attract attendees to his booth and tie into the theme of the show.  Good goals, right? His plan included a preshow mailing to the attendee list with an incentive to come to the booth, then there would be a contest they would particpate in when they got there and a drawing for a prize.  He also wanted to have another drawing after the show was over to keep their attention. I didn’t want to curb his enthusiasm about show promotions, but like many exhibitors, he was losing sight of why he was exhibiting in the first place.  He wanted my advice so I explained that if he is already inviting them to the show with the invitation and incentive and there is an interactive game at the booth, then there is no need for another attraction.  I encouranged him to stay focused on why he was there.  The objective is to get leads and make sales not necessarily to play games and entertain. When attendees stop I recommended his team be prepared with a consistent presentation to explain the company benefits and features,qualify potenial prospects and get their contact information to expand the data base, stay in touch in the future, continue to solicit sales and provide information.  He did not need another game to reconnect because he already had their info. The reconnecting comes when you make the personal phone call to follow up. That is when you set an appointment, ask for a sale, get a referral or ask some survey questions.  I did suggest that if he wanted to give another prize, he could select a winner from the leads and use that to open the conversation during the follow up.  It is important to have fun at the show and interact with attendees, but remember why you spent the money to exhibit.  Make a connection, educate, inform, play games, have fun, but if you don’t collect that valuable name, phone number and email address you are missing out on the opportunity for a long term relationship that could result in many sales and referrals for years to come.

Susan Ratliff is The Exhibit Expert, reach her at susan@susanratliff.com  www.SusanRatliffPresents.com  face book and twitter