Plastics Live should be taken very seriously as a business opportunity. It is an opportunity to meet more prospective customers face to face in one day than your salespeople will potentially meet during a whole year! It is about face-to-face interaction. However, the environment is not a typical sales environment. Seldom will you have an opportunity to close a multi-million deal there and then! What the environment does offer you however is the opportunity to meet new prospects potentially in the market for your product or service.
It allows you to go through two or three steps of the sales cycle efficiently without having to go through gatekeepers to the key decision maker. Your key objective for Plastics Live should involve a clear strategy of how to get your sales staff face to face with the show visitors.
Very often the Sales Department will have a very different objective to the Marketing Department for Plastics Live. The Marketing department wants to launch a new product; the Sales department wants to write orders; the Marketing department wants to communicate a corporate message; the Sales department wants to meet prospects and customers. It is vital that both departments have a common company objective and that all people involved “buy in” to the objectives. As always, the objectives need to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Dependant. These can be set for each department; and then broken down to each person attending the event so that everyone has clear understanding of what they need to do to make the show a success. You need to set reasonable expectations as to what will make your show a success. Is it the number of leads you generate; Is it the volume of orders? Is it simply the footfall to the booth? It is also very important that the objectives are reviewed after the show so that you identify any areas for improvement for your next tradeshow event.
You have heard of the phrase “It’s a numbers game”. Well with exhibitions it truly is…
Your objectives should be based on how many leads you need to generate from Plastics Live so that you can be in profit from the event. To work this out you should know your salespeople’s closure rates and your profit margins from your sales. Once you know this – each person can be given a target to achieve in terms of generating new leads from Plastics Live. These targets can even then be broken down to activity on an hourly basis.
How many times have you seen staff members at a tradeshow; that are whinging that they hate tradeshows and that they have 10 million better things to do?
Having enthusiastic staff at the booth makes a huge difference to visitor perception and interaction. It’s a fine line selecting staff for tradeshows. There are some that just want to go for the jolly; some that go for freebie collecting; and some that just want to get out of the office and there are those that go against their will.
You should select staff based on those who can communicate; are enthusiastic about the show; and willing to be part of a team that has one common objective; to generate more business for the company. They should also be very positive people; with a great smile and with customer facing experience. Taking a technical guy with no people skills does not work; even if he does know all the answers to tough technical questions!
Make sure the staff members manning the booth are all made aware of and trained in your key products and your show objectives. Also make sure that everyone has FUN and enjoys the event.
The tradeshow selling process is carried out in a maximum of six minutes.
The key stages are:
1. Engage & Greet – (30 seconds)
– Take Control by asking open-ended questions
2. Qualify – (90 Seconds)
– Ask Questions specific to the visitor’s situation
– Ask questions specific to your products/services
– Ask qualifying questions
Qualified or Timewaster?
3. If Timewaster – Dismiss (15 seconds)
– Shake hands and thank them for coming by the booth
4. If Qualified – Demonstrate the product (2-4 minutes)
– Demonstrate the key aspects of your product/service based on their requirements and interests – not just tell how great the product is
5. After Demonstrating – Close (90 seconds)
– Fill out a lead form; make an appointment to see them; take a business card etc.
If your staff keep this discipline what this means is that each person at your booth can effectively generate an average 5-6 leads per hour which means that during an 8 hour show day they can generate between 40 – 48 qualified leads and times that by 5 people and you have over 200 potential sales leads.
If you can offer a prize that money can’t buy; then these are wonderful as a visitor stopper. Most people already have smartphones, TVs etc so they do not attract as much attention and motivation to enter. Also, any prizes that are linked to your product or service are a brilliant way to generate interest and potential clients at Plastics Live.
Key Interest Questions
These are vital to engaging visitors. Remember that most of them are in a trance looking around so you need to say something that sparks their mind into action.
What questions can you ask that will make the visitor stop; think and listen to what you have to say?
The key points are:
One of the biggest concerns in the Exhibition industry is the “build it and they will come” mentality of Exhibitors.
Exhibition Organisers can bring the visitors to the show floor; from there it is up to you how you attract them to your booth. They will not necessarily come to your booth; even if it is the biggest one on the show floor; and you have the best giveaways. What makes the difference between a good show and a brilliant show is how pro-active your staff members are in terms of talking to people walking past the booth. Why wait for people to come to you? You have a fabulous opportunity to talk to people who maybe looking for your product. So step out and ask a key interest question! What is the worst thing that will happen? They will say no in which case you thank for the time and move on to your next target.
These can include
You can dismiss visitors in a very easy and professional manner
You have maybe 8 hours during the day; and x number of visitors – you have to make sure you see as many visitors as possible during the show hours. Any time wasted on the above is money down the drain. Time is money. Just think how many potential customers walked past when you are busy chitchatting away to non-relevant people.
How to do them effectively and know what to do with the crowd!
A crowd at your stand is always a good sign. The more visitors you have at the stand; the more the interest from other visitors. One of the most effective ways to generate a crowd at your booth is to do a live presentation or product demonstration. However, it has got to be interactive and involve the audience and must be very short – no more than 10 minutes at the most.
The ingredients for a successful presentation are:
Why not enquire about speaking at our conference?
So how many times have you visited an exhibition and been shoved a leaflet in your face? Of course, you took it out of courtesy; put it in your show bag and as soon as you got back to your hotel or home; you took out all the freebies; the business cards and then shoved the rest in the bin?
Why do exhibitors have their staff do this even though they know that this is what happens to their leaflet or pamphlet? What does leaflet dropping achieve at exhibitions apart from killing trees and parting you with some of your hard-earned marketing budget?
Then there is the professional freebie collector. They will visit every booth collect their pens and stress balls and do a runner as soon as a staff member comes near them.
Save some money; get your people to say hello and break the ice instead of shoving leaflets into people’s faces. If visitors request more information, then by all means give it to them.
Give your promotional items to qualified leads. Don’t just give them away for nothing. Make visitors work for the item that you are giving away. Have a prize draw; qualify them; then give them a promotional item once you have a business card.
The same applies to attractions. So, you have booked an artist; balloon man; shoe polisher; masseuse; face painter; origami’s; or whatever else. Visitors are showing up to the booth; but what are you doing to qualify them? Are your sales guys engaging with them after they have had their pet poodle made out of balloons? Having an attraction is not enough – you need to have a strategy behind it to maximise your returns from the investment in your attraction.