Having been to hundreds, if not thousands, of exhibitions and trade shows, I am just amazed at the number of company salespeople or client managers that just get it plain wrong! Within seconds they have bored the pants off you and have no idea what I am there for. So I thought I would create exhibition training guide, with 3 simple rules to follow that will increase you ROI and make sure every trade show is a success.
The problem: a salesperson sees a potentially new, or even worse, an existing client. They greet you and immediately launches into selling all and everything they have in their encampment. Chances are I am at best only interested in one item to fit my needs. Within seconds you and the company have lost a good client.
A good example and probably the worst are software salespeople. Even if they have been trained to find out your needs they can’t help but tell you all about every whistle and bell and I for one have no interest in whistles or bells but I’m too polite to stop them in their tracks.
Sales directors and managers need to understand the basic principle that a salesperson is only of use to a company if he or she is engaging with a qualified client who has a need to buy and can afford it. To get to this stage a whole lot of work needs to be done up front, like prospecting, including; direct mail, online advertising, telephone sales etc. All this, which is necessary, is a huge cost to the company to get in front of someone with a need. It is all then totally blown because they have either not had any exhibition training or mentoring, or have forgotten a few simple rules.
Exhibition Training – Rule 1
Starts as soon as a potential client approaches – Make eye contact and immediately smile, but don’t shake hands unless the client offers theirs. This is based on our subconscious being always wary of being attacked. A smile means friendly, poking your hand out before theirs is a threat and will trigger even if subconsciously our flight mechanism.
If you know the person greet them and if you know them, you should know a little bit about them. Ask how their partner or kids are, how did their recent holiday go etc. Once they have answered ask another. Why? Because generally, especially if male, salespeople are competitive, and the natural response is to top the client answer with one of their own, or I’ve done that as well here is a diatribe on how I did it.
No one is at all interested in your experience, all they are interested is in themselves and love to talk about that – so use it to your advantage. Resist the urge to respond. This may sound very selfish but it’s true. If you do this already you have an affinity with them. Ready to implement the next rule. As Patrick Flynn, a well-known sales trainer, used to say “Try it – it only works”!
Exhibition Training – Rule 2
If you don’t know them or even if you do, ask why they are at the show.
Why because in most cases you are greeted by the sales person and then asked onto the stand with let me show you this, let me show you that, it does this, that and the other. How do you know they are the least little bit interested? Or even there to buy anything, if they are not then you are wasting your valuable time and you will lose them in seconds anyway.
Instead take great interest in their answer, really listen and each time they respond ask another open question. Over a few questions and minutes you will build up a picture of the actual requirements and needs of the person. Usually they are trying to solve a problem of some sort. It could be to do something faster, add a new revenue stream, make their life easier, impress their boss, who knows – you certainly don’t unless you find out!
You can then solve their problem or fulfill their need by making your sales talk relevant and keep it to a minimum. Ask, ask, ask do not tell, tell, tell. Each time you say the service or product does this stop and follow with a question like; does this sound the sort of thing you need? They must answer yes or no. If yes then great, if no, ask another question – Why not? You can then solve this problem and build a whole lot of yeses.
If you find out they really have no need for your product or service be honest with yourself apologise and move them on politely – you are wasting your and your company’s time. You will waste a lot of time boring people never to buy from you even if they do have a need in the future also the chances are you will have missed the one person standing in the wings aching to buy from you!
Exhibition Training – Rule 3
So now you have established the potential/client has a real need for your product or service and you’ve invited them onto the stand. Time to find out what is really important to them? The only way to do this is to ask questions. This could be any number of things. Reliability, number of years warranty, colour, support, speed, whatever is relevant to your client, not to your product or service. Until you know this you can’t explain what it is about your product or service that will fulfill their needs.
Do not, under any circumstances, tell them what your product or service does until you know and have written down a definitive list. And do not tell them about features that it has if they are not relevant, even if you think the feature is the best thing since sliced bread. This will avoid boring them with useless information most salespeople pour out. You can now set about satisfying the needs and showing the benefits your product offers to those relevant needs.
By doing this you will be well ahead of the competition. So let’s make it even more powerful. Does the client understand? They will always nod their head as no one wants to show they don’t understand. You need to make sure they do understand and that they are convinced. You got it, you need to ask more questions! When you tell them how your product fulfills their need make sure you ask for their agreement, far better to get a NO now and overcome that objection than the client leaving with doubts in their mind. If the list is too long, very technical or a consultative sell make an appointment to go and see them or to speak to them after the show.
It is much easier to make an appointment now than have the problem of getting through the receptionist trying to make an appointment at a later date. This will save you weeks in a year by not having to make endless calls or emails trying to make another appointment. Make it a rule in general when seeing or speaking to a client on the phone to make a fixed appointment for the next contact.
Plus Exhibition stands has a wealth of experience in eye-catching displays that attract the audience. This is backed by many accolades from existing clients. It will cost you nothing to see what we can do for you, as we offer a free, no obligation 3D visual of what your exhibition stand design could look like. Just click this link to send your enquiry, or call us on 01782 264110 for a chat.