Entries Tagged as 'Relationship Tips'


Four Ways to Win at Trade Shows

If you’ve ever had to represent your company at a trade show or even set-up a booth for your company, you’ve more than likely encountered one if not all of these scenarios.  First, usually set-up is at general time for everyone.  Which basically means all the competition looms around the corner, snooping, or just "innocently" popping in your booth to say ‘hello’.  Right, like you’re really here to see how I’m doing and to offer a cordial greeting.  Next!  Secondly, it’s always great to see a familiar face like a client.  Unfortunately, you know the competition gets to see their face too.  Excuse me Mr. Client, can you please avoid booths number 10, 23, 31….  Third and most importantly you have to be "ON" the entire time (if you care to make it a success).  By being "ON" I mean greeting new potential prospects with a kind smile without a break.  You’ve been there before and have the perma-smile to prove it.

Here’s four points to help make the most of this opportunity.

1.  Don’t sit down.  Sitting down during the trade show / expo, while all your visitors are standing, sends the body language message of  "I’m here but really don’t want to be."  So stand up tall the entire time and take special consideration of your footwear selection.  Never take your shoes off and never wear new shoes!

2.  Offer to shake your visitor’s hand and introduce yourself.  You are the first person they’ll associate with your company after all.  It’s your first impression to make on some of these visitors so make it count.  Immediately engage your visitors by greeting them with a smile.  If you’re giving away freebies, offer them one.  If you’re running a "guess how many jelly beans" contest, let them know you want them to participate. 

 3.  Learn the 10 second rule.  If you have a visitor in your booth, you generally have 10 seconds to earn their attention for a more lengthy chat.   And if you do, you can ask your open-ended questions so you can build more of a profile of this person and their company.  Remember you are at the show to learn about others and to qualify who is an ideal prospect for your company and who is not.  Besides, these shows can be pricey for a 10×10 booth, so make the most out of your allotted time.

4. Post show follow-up is huge.  This is how you pay for your time and expenses for the expo / trade show.  Here’s a couple of tips on making this part easy.  Before the event starts make sure you’ve written your thank you notes.  Leave the attendee’s name blank (you’ll gather their b-card later).  When you do trade b-cards at the show or they put theirs in the drawing, be sure to write a quick note of something you learned about that person on the back.  You’ll want to reference it later (they’ll be impressed too).  Also, you may want to keep your schedule flexible for the following week after the show.  A hot-lead may want an appointment.  So be ready!

Bonus, here’s a couple of sites I think you’ll find helpful in planning for your next show.  www.tradeshowmarketing.com, www.trade-show-advisor.com, and an article by Susan Friedmann I found helpful on About.com called 10 Ways to Master the Trade Show Giveaway Game.

I know these will help you improve your results at the show.  If you can think of other tips that help you and your company out, please share by noting them in the comments field.  We’d love to hear your voice in the village.  And if you haven’t joined iiaVillage as a villager, it’s free, please go to the homepage and click on "Become a Villager" on the upper-right side.  Peace   -villageChief


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No Groan Selling

Our guest columnist today is Maura Schreier-Fleming.  She is president of Best@Selling, www.bestatselling.com.  She works with business and sales professionals who want to sell more and be more productive at work.  She is the author of Real-World Selling for Out-of-this-World Results, Sales Quotes and writes several business columns including "Customer Connections" for the Dallas, Austin, and Houston Business Journals.  She writes the Real Deal: Success for Women in Business blog for Allbusiness.com.  She’s been quoted in the New York Times, Sellng Power and Entrepreneur.  She was Mobil Oil’s first female lubrication engineer in the US..  Maura has her MS from Georgia Institute of Technology and a BS from Cornell University.  Enjoy!

No Groan Selling

Was buying a car a good experience for you?  For most people a root canal is more desirable than buying a car.  Sorry to break it to you, but buying insurance may not even rate the root canal.  Selling insurance is a challenging career.  As independent agents, it’s even harder for you to sell.  Independent agents don’t have the luxury of being associated with one big brand.  Yet, its’ still your job to do everything you can to encourage customers to want to do business with you.  I was thinking about what great salespeople do to make themselves successful.  Its what independent agents have to do.

I remember working with my customers in the oil business.  Even though my customers bought products from a major oil company, I always considered that they bought from me.  What did that mean?  It meant that I worked for my customers.  I looked out for my customers’ interests.  My customers didn’t have time to become experts on industrial lubricants.  That was my job.  You get to help them make great buying decisions that improve the quality of their businesses and their lives.  You probably know this already.  But do your customers?

I find the great salespeople let their customers know what they’re doing and why it’s in the customer’s interest.  After all, customers don’t know what they don’t know.  Your job as an independent agent is to show your customers how your independence leads to their getting the best products that meet their needs.  You need to tell your customers everything you’re doing for them so they can truly appreciate and value what you’ve done for them.

Here’s where it gets interesting.  I want you to brag about your work.  Think you can’t do that?  You can.  What I mean by bragging is to document what you’ve done for your customers.  Have you put together a safety program that lowers a company’s risk and gets them better rates?  Put that in a customer letter of report.  Have you done a thorough job of presenting a customer’s situation so you can accurately represent their lower risk?  That’s value to a customer.  Has an education program you recommended resulted in changes in customer behavior that reduce their risk?  Take credit for it and document what you’ve saved.  How are customers going to know the good you’ve done if you haven’t told them?  If this makes you uncomfortable, just remember that it’s not bragging if it’s true.

What you do for customers needs to go in writing.  It makes it real to a customer and makes you far less vulnerable to competition.  Sure it’s work.  But the letter and reports are well worth the time in customer retention.

The next time you help a customer reduce a cost, save a cost or add to their revenue, take credit for it.  You just might find out that you are creating great buying experiences for your customers and you’ve made a root canal the farthest thing from their minds.   -villageChief

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