Trade Show Sales, Part One
Trade Shows are back!
At the time of this writing, my daughter Madeline is in Melbourne, Australia, attending her first trade show as an attendee. She’s interning for an old friend of mine while attending NYU Sydney. Those around her were shocked at how quickly she picked up the job requirements of being the "gopher" and she explained, "I’ve been to at least six Graph Expo's with my dad, so this is like a homecoming."
Trade shows and conferences were once a mainstay of the business landscape. In the '90s and up until 2005 or so, it was not unusual to attend five or six events a year, especially during the summer months. It was a lot like camp and I remember the empty feeling on the last day when everyone packed up and left. <<sigh>>
From the standpoint of an exhibitor, the show is a lead-generator. But do you know what the number one biggest mistake is that companies make? They don’t follow up on the leads in a timely fashion. A phone call that starts, "Thanks for visiting our booth. I’m calling to follow up on the interest you expressed in our products at the show you attended six months ago" isn’t going to have the intended impact.
As a sales rep, you need to take advantage of this opportunity by pitching whomever wrote the check for the event on your ability to get information out faster and perhaps more customized to the stated needs and interests of the individual (see also Variable Data Printing!).
Another approach is to crash a show and drop your business card in every fish bowl, schmooze with every toothy VP of Sales, and sign up for every mailing list possible, taking careful note of the company names and contacts you met. Then, start the timer and see how long it takes for something to arrive or someone to call you. With each passing day, your value as a solutions-provider increases ...
... that is, provided you remember to follow up!
The next Sales Challenge begins on the first Monday of every month. Go to www.TheSalesChallenge.com and use Promo Code "30for30" to try the program out for 30 days and pay just $30.
Bill Farquharson is a sales trainer for the graphic arts. Email him at Bill@AspireFor.com or call (781) 934-7036. Bill’s two books, The 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever and Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How? as well as information on his new subscription-based website, The Sales Vault are available at BillFarquharson.com.