April 2, 2013
Form letters to Clients, Prospects and Suspects.
If you are going to invite your clients, prospects and suspects to visit you at your booth you have to contact these people. You need to write copy for regular (snail) mail, E-mail, and if you use it, FAX. Yes, there are phone calls involved as well
No one, especially business people today read long verbose documents, especially letters. Business people today, brained washed by the e-mail revolution expect to read curt, cryptic, bulleted items telling in as few words as possible what they are reading is all about.
Form letters need to be written in such a way so the person reading the letter can “Skim read” and still get the gist of what you want them to do.
E-mails are even briefer. The person reading the e-mail will first look at the Subject line. If the person who sent this e-mail did not articulate effectually what this e-mail is all about, there is a strong possibility that your e-mail will be deleted.
You have to have a plan in place in order to have a successful mailing campaign, which is part of your overall trade show marketing plan. This is true for regular mail and e-mail as well. The ideal way to approach this effort is to analyze, plan and anticipate what you will be doing before the trade show, then what needs to take place during and after the trade show. When I say during the trade show, some company are very organized and structured and with the latest CRM software in place that can be used effectively at a trade show. For example, at a trade show: An attendee come to your booth, the booth personnel qualifies this person, usually using a handheld device. When the qualification sequence is completed, the booth person sends the information to the company’s main computer. The computer enters all of the information into the database and sends either a letter, or an e-mail thanking the person for stopping by the booth. Depending on what the outcome of the qualification sequence will determine exactly what will be sent to the attendee either via e-mail or regular mail. This is all done before the attendee leaves the trade show. What usually happens by the time the attendee returns to his/her office. Either a letter, E-mail or both along with literature will be at their desk.
Very little literature is handed out at the trade show because the knowledgeable trade show exhibitor knows that most of the literature handed out at trade shows is thrown away before they return home, or to their offices. These are great marketing and sales tools, but they can be costly.
Your mailing program should include at least 3 to 6 variations of your basic letter, with certain changes that will still spark the readers’ interest. One client of mine had six letters that focused on one of the six products that were being presented at the trades show. It is not necessary to have multiple products in order to have 3 to 6 different letters. It is important that you develop your letters so that they will stimulate enough interest to insure that the reader will continue to read past the first sentence or first bullet. What you want to have happen is that they will become interested, and they will want to visit your booth. After you feel that you have generated sufficient interest you should consider what you will do after the trade show. The follow is the sequence that has worked for a number of my clients:
- Letters to your clients, prospect and suspects minimum 3, no more than 6.
- After the show letters to:
- Those that came to your booth
- Those that did not come to your booth
- Those who you made appointments to see
- Those that you contact to set up appointment at a latter date.
(Note) Letters, e-mails, Faxes would be treated the same.
March 25, 2013
Not allocating sufficient time to exhibit
Many companies still make decisions to invest thousands of dollars in a major trade show and do not leave themselves sufficient time to plan and coordinate this effort. Under these conditions they end up making decisions in panic, and managing in crisis. A company needs to investigate, discuss, plan, coordinate and commit to all the facets of a trade show if they expect to have a successful trade show experience. Considering that only 15% of the exhibitors at any trade show are successful, it is important that a company has sufficient time and that everyone within the organization is aware of the importance of this effort.
You cannot and should not consider doing a trade show and not giving yourself and other members of the company sufficient time to get their act together. What I mean by this is, if you have products to display, you need to get with manufacturing, production or engineering so that you can put on display the best possible product that really shows the true capabilities of your company. Just displaying any old thing that you had in the back room certainly does not give a positive message to either the company employees, or the attendees at the trade show that will be looking at equipment. How will the presentation of the company person in the booth go? “Well, this is not our latest equipment, this is what we had available” What are you telling the prospect that has stopped to look at your products? This company has so much business, they really are not interested in new clients, or they really don’t care. What type of effort, and how does your company approach going to a trade show?
March 18, 2013
One: First thing at almost all trade show tables given away is candy. A big bowl of candy is in front of your table with Hershey’s or Lifesavers or hard candies. What good and lasting effects what this does for you. A great item is Tootsie Rolls, but it does nothing for your company. If your giving pre wrapped hard candy get your name on it. There are a bunch of companies who do that. Ones I like best are done by Mid Nite Snax candies. They make great lifesavers with your logo on them. Best of all candies are the ones by a company called Lanco. It’s the AL100 a 1 inch by 1 inch candy either in milk chocolates or Dark chocolates. with a hint of raspberry in it. Now how do you choose which one to give out? Simple if your giving out to a men’s group Milk chocolates is best. If it’s a women group Dark chocolate is great. Cost factor is about .20 per unit, plus a set up charge. Your name is imprinted on this and what a hit your company will be. If they taste the candy expect a return visit for more. Credit Card mints are great also- depending on how much you want to spend. Mid Nite Snax again has a 4 color unit that is great for color logos – Lanco has a nice simple one color unit. This candy is proven in my stores. People kid me as they give me there order they are here really for the candy.
Key Chains—I had a customer wanting to give out key chains. Now here is the problem with key chains. Just because I gave you a key chain, am I going to switch all my keys over to your chain, because you gave it to me? Not happening – it’s going to the junk draw when the person opens their information bags. A nice lanyard is good but again how many people are going to switch keys. Do not waste your money on this item.
Pens- A topic I love so much- Pens are a great giveaway but there are rules about pens. A cheap pen is a cheap pen. If you give out a cheap pen do you have a cheap company? The life of a cheap pen is about 3 days, before it goes to a junk draw. A great pen can cost you a dollar, from $.97 to $1.40 each or more. A nice metal with some weight to it and the rubber grip, laser engraved, pen with your logo and website on it. The life of that pen is 6 months. Key is remembering to give the pen to the person, not just having them out on the table to grab. Gold Star and All American make nice pens as well as Hub. A nice pen has to have balance in your hand as well as some weight. I have given out many pens in my past. Most of what I giveaway has been a nice metal pen by All American and Hub Pens. People love those and I see my clients using them for months. So my name is just with the client. I have also given out pens that light up as well. Clients use them for a year, until the batteries wear out. Great part about that is the clients still talk about them. Talk to your promotional specialist and have him get samples to show you.
You should be using a 6 week set up time for samples and picking the pen you need.
Stress Balls – now here is an item that is going direct to the junk draw. But let’s talk about what its saying about your company. Is it stressful to deal with you?
I had a Mortgage broker and a real estate broker both use stress balls in the shape of a house. I felt they were saying that dealing with them will be a stressful event and you need the ball to calm yourself. The best stress balls are made by a company called Jetline. So if you must go for this item, look for their catalog from your promotional person. Jetline has lots of great shapes and themes.
What do I recommend instead for this field- that is easy, it’s a bank. Your saying dealing with us can help you save.
Coffee cups - and mugs and water bottles a dime a dozen and who is going to change their mug for yours for their morning coffee. To ship these items to your booth is going to send your booth costs high as well. Damage to items can also happen. But again if you must look at coffee mugs Custom Crest makes a nice one and water bottles by Humphrey or Goldbond.
Ok, so I gave you items not to use, now here are some items to consider to give out.
Sewing kits. Yes sewing kits are great. Women take them and put them in their pocket books and men put them in the top draw at work to help them if they need to sew on a button that came loose. It’s a quick repair kit, and your name is in the clients hands when he needed it most. By the way they, might even comeback and buy something else with your name is in front of them.
Tape measure- small round tape measure is great item. You need the 6 foot units not the 3 footers. Women again put them in there pocketbooks and measure everything with them. Real Estate brokers and those doing remodeling can use this great giveaway as the person is going ahead and doing remodeling and measuring everything. Women with children are always measuring the waists of the kids to see clothing sizes. So this is one item that will bring your name to the client time and time again. CPS and Lanco make nice units.
Pill boxes for the right kind of trade show are another good item. For senior expos and trade shows, they are always a wanted needed item. Evans makes some of the best around. From $.60 to $1.50 let’s face it your name is in front of them, every day.
At one of our conventions we have a company called High Sierra and they put out a line of shirts. Each year at the conventions for promotional products whose booth has the longest line? You got it, High Sierra. The Featherlike shirt has been given out for years now. Each year they have a new colored shirt. If you’re wearing the shirt and they see you with it on the convention floor you win $100.00, so everyone is wearing these shirts over their clothing. 40 to 50 people are waiting on line all day for these shirts. The overall talk on the line is what color the shirt is going to be this year. How do they get to give you their shirt? You have to go through a maze of speeches about the new lines of clothing. They tell you who is carrying the shirt and who can help you get their new line. After 15 minutes in the booth and 20 minutes on line you get your shirt in your size. Everyone puts on the shirt from that point. 500 people at the convention with have this shirt on, at anyone time. To me that is power and you get clients to remember you. By the way I have the Blue, Demon, Yellow and Green, missed the Purple and Red.
Next use the same ideas for your company. Get something for the people to wear about your company and have a person roaming the show floor, giving out $20.00 bills. It’s as simple as a sticker or a flashing button. Get known for doing this.
One company did a great promotion at a show – he makes key chains in the shape of a pill. Inside the pill he stuff from $1.00 to 20.00 and you have to pick one out of the hat. Before you do, you have to hear his speech. He had me for 5 minutes of time and gave me a pill box. I won a dollar. But I remembered him.
If you’re giving away lots of flyers get canvas bags to give away. Put your logo on the bag and pre load the bags with your items. Again keep the bags behind the counter so the person has to talk to you and get the sample. Canvas bags are not that bad when it comes to prices, and if you have a booth person giving them to people with overloaded plastic bags, they remember. Nicer bags get used over and over.
Having a nice item hidden behind your display is also great. You’re going to see a lot of your better clients at a show, this is a great time to say to say “thank you” for their work you have done for the past year. Having items like USB memory sticks with your company logo on them or a nicer pen is great, even a mag- light, or a digital photo display.
Office items bring your name to the desk and it stays on a client’s desk for a long time.
Staplers - (tag master) – letter openers- paperclip dispensers- staple removers’ Pacific line makes a nice one of those.
Candy Jars - are great also as a give away. Your name stay with clients and the candy goes on the desk. I have found jars I gave my clients 5 years ago still in use. I use a 16oz jar that I get from Benner Glass.
Paper cubes are wonders to get your name out – it goes on the desk and your name goes on both the outside on all 4 sides and the left hand corner of the sheet of paper. I like Post it or American Cube. Problem with paper cubes is weight, and shipping this to a show could be expensive.
Other good office items, letter openers, paperclip holders, staplers, staple removers, and small screw driver sets. Great items and will get used by your clients, and light weight to transport.
Always give away something new at each trade show. You can stick to a theme, but remember to give the item to the attendee at the booth. Say thanks for stopping at my booth, and I have a gift for you.
Don’t give away shirts with your name on it unless you’re in the shirt business or hats with your company name on it. You’re not a hat company. Hats with names on them are good at a golf outing with the outing name on it. Your name is second. Simple is real good.
So what do you do from here, how do we plan. You need a game plan. Start with date of your event. Two months out plan what you’re going to do. Meet with your promotional person. Have them come back in a week with ideas for you and samples of items. Next meet with your embroidery company. Do not go to an ASI (Advertising Specialty Institute) person for this. Go direct to an embroidery company. All promotional companies say they can get this work done for you; save money go direct. Companies like mine are embroidery companies and ASI companies. We do the direct embroidery. In some parts of the country you have small embroidery companies like Embroider Me. Look for your local small company for good service. Set real time goals. Look at production times and find what it takes in real time to make the giveaways and ship to you. Remember your paying for shipping as well. Over night shipping is costly. Real planning, real times and dealing with a promotional person who can really help you. Set your budget and know what you want to spend on your giveaways.
March 11, 2013
The trade show directory can be a major marketing tool for any company providing they do their home work and list the relevant information.
The information listed in the directory should be clear enough so that if someone wants to contact the company they will contact someone in sales that is familiar with the specific trade show and can answer any questions pertaining to what was offered by the company at the trade Show. The information should consist of company name, location, products or services on display that follow the theme of the show, but most of all identify someone with in the organization as the person to contact regarding company product information that listed in the directory. If possible, put the name of one of the sales or marketing managers who did participate in the trade show, and perhaps even stood booth duty.
Some companies use the directory to their advantage in the sense that they want to keep track of all leads that came from a specific trade shows. Trade show directory are usually taken back to the attendees office to use as a reference guide. They use it to see who of their competitors exhibited at the trade show. They review other companies’ information to see who introduced new products. Just because the trade show is over does not mean that you will not get some residual effects from have good information on you company listed in the trade show directory.
If you want to do business, make it easy for someone to contact you. If the person calling your organization, and is put though a series of questions to get someone in the sales department, it doesn’t start off the relationship with your company on a positive note. But if a person calls your organization, and has a name of a person to contact the caller will feel more comfortable, and you as the person in the sales department will know exactly what they are calling about.
Make the trade show directory work for your company. The attendees may throw away the majority of the literature that they pick up at the booths they visit, but the trade show directory, in most cases, will be with them long after the trade show is finished.
February 28, 2013
One of the problems faced by most companies that participate in a trade show as an exhibitor is the amount of paperwork that has to be completed to become an exhibitor. It is a step by step process that, over the years the trade show organizers have tried to make it easier, or more efficient, but they certainly do not have the exhibitor at heart. In most cases they have tried to make it easier for themselves, not necessarily for the exhibitor.
The sequence of events that happens is usually the same for most every trade show. You go to the trade show web site, request a copy of the trade show form, print it out, fill it in, and return it with a check for the cost of the booth space. When that is done then you will usually receive a loose leaf binder, with sections for each of the exhibitor’s requirements.
Drayage, Electrical, Signage, Carpentering, and booth furniture are but a few of the major items listed.
Each has a date assigned to when you have to have this documentation completed and returned to the company, obviously with your check. If you get the information completed and sent back in a timely fashion, usually you will receive a discount for these services.
If you don’t pay attention to these time frames it will cost you more money because you will be penalized for not having your information returned in a timely fashion.
You as the person responsible for the trade show should organize your information so that you know exactly when the information requested must be returned.
If you use a spread sheet listing the name of the item, along with the date the information is due back at the trade show producer’s home office it will certainly help to keep everyone focused, efficient and on time.
Your spread sheet for completions of trade show tasks should contain the following:
1. Name of product or service requested
2. Date the documentation and check is required back in the Trade Show Producer’s Office.
3. Name of the person at the company responsible for this task
4. List of names, if necessary that must approve this request
5. The check # and when the check must be ready. (How many times have companies missed the dates because the checks were not drawn in a timely fashion, because Finance wanted to hold on to the fund until the very last minute)
6. The date the information was completed and sent back to the Trade Show Producer. (Send registered mail or FEDX so you have complete accountability. It’s worth the few more dollars for the peace of mind)
7. Make copies of everything, and keep them in a binder for quick reference.
8. In fact, you should make at least two copies of all of the documentation that has been completed and returned to the trade show producer.
9. A copy is for your accounting department, and a copy to take with you to the trade show. Why? Well it is not uncommon for the trade show producer to loose your information. You do not want to be standing in line waiting to make arrangements for your carpeting or carpenters, and when you get to the counter and the person ask your name and says they cannot find your information, they are certainly not going to stop and look just for your information. What usually happens is that you are put at the end of the line and when they have taken care of all of those exhibitors that have documentation, they will then attend to you. It makes for a last minute trade show set up, and certainly doesn’t put you as an exhibitor in a positive frame of mind.
10. Anticipate the potential problems, makes copies and have then with you at the trade show. It will certainly save you a lot of time and frustration.
11. Also make a form that list all of the expenses associated with this trade show. As a person responsible for the trade show you need to be able to justify the cost of this show, based on the amount of business opportunities (Leads) that this trade show produced.
February 8, 2013
of the major problems most companies have when it comes to choosing the right trade show, is they never do the necessary research to make sure that the show they want to exhibit at is the right show for them. You ask the question, “Why do you want to be in this specific show?” and the response usually is, “Because my competition is in this show” If this is the only reason why you want to be in that show, then I suggest you invest your money in advertising. If you are going to make the investment in a booth, graphics, and send members of your organization to a specific location where the trade show is to take place then I suggest before making that kind of investment you do your research.
Have you asked your clients what trade show(s) they attend? Why not do a survey amongst your client base? Ask them what trade shows they attend, and why? If you are going to Trade Show A, and the majority of your clients go to Trade Show B you better have a good reason why you are making this investment in trade show A.
Many companies make the mistake when they are looking at trade shows; they always want the biggest, with a lot of people in attendance. This may look good on paper, and if you are trying to impress your boss, but it is no guarantee that you will generate any business. You may have a lot of tire kickers, people that go to most any trade show. They are the cup, pen and tee shirt collectors. The reason they like going to these large trade shows is that they have such a large selection of stuff to choose from. You have to ask yourself, did they come to your booth to talk with you about a requirement, or to pick up one of your give a-ways? What do you think?
I am not a great fan of give a- ways.
When it comes to choosing a show for your organization you have to do your research. Personally, I would rather go to a one day show with a very select group of prospects to be invited, and pay an admission to attend. You know when they go to a show like this, they are there to investigate, evaluate and to get ready to make a purchase based on the information they have researched and collected at the show.
Some of the questions that you should ask:
1. How long is this show been in existence?
2. What are statistics from the last two shows?
3. How many of your competition participate in this trade show?
4. Do your clients, prospects and suspects attend this trade show?
5. Do the seminars and discussion sessions conflict with the times the trade show is open?
6. If you have a combination Conference and Trade Show, and the majority of the attendees will be at training sessions, how much time does that leave for these attendees to visit the trade show floor and take the time to visit a number of booths?
7. What is the profile of the attendees?
8. Do they go to the same location every year?
9. What other trade shows does this trade show operator produce?
10. What type of advertising is done to promote this show?
11. Will you receive a copy of the attendee list including e-mail addresses at the end of the show?
When you get answers to these questions you will have a better understanding of the show, and if it’s the right show for your organization. The result being, don’t be impressed by numbers of attendees. Attendees in general don’t purchase your products or services. It’s the qualified prospect, who has come to this trade show for a specific reason of finding out what is available. That’s the person who will be buying, not the tire kickers or pen collectors.
January 22, 2013
In the late 70’s I was acting Regional Sales Manager for a major West Coast computer organization. It was the hope and desire of the founder of the company to make his company the next IBM. While he tried to institute many of the idiosyncrasies of the IBM organization, it was obvious that his company was unique and had been successful without trying to be the next IBM. When he found out IBM had a training program he was quick to institute a training program of his own.
One program in particular that caused more that a few comments from the troops was the program he instituted on company security. He brought in a consultant who had recently published a book on company security. It was obvious after listening to this individual speak, he thought he was the end-all to security! He did not speak to you, he spoke down to you, and that annoyed almost everyone in the audience. He wanted to show how right he was and took the group on a walking tour of the production area.
Besides interrupting the flow of work going out the door, he proceeded to turn over keyboards, or to lift the blotter and looked for the passwords to the computers. In many cases he was successful, but he didn’t stop at finding fault. He referred to the people with very disparaging names and criticized everyone associated with the area from the VP General Manager down to the lowest clerk working on the production floor. When he found some discrepancy, he would hold up his book and say, “See its all here, everything you need to know about security and what not to do.” When the consultant would find what he considered a security problem, he would put down his book and parade around with the guilty non-secure item in his hand, saying to all that were able to hear him, “See, another person who has no regard for the security of this organization!” After listening to him for close to an hour on his investigative journey, it got a little old, besides being insulting.
It got to be so annoying after a while, besides taking most of the sales people away from following up on their clients, so I decided to do something about it. While the security consultant was going through another tirade regarding uncovering another keyboard with a password attached, I took his book and put it into one of the large computer cabinets that was being packed ready to be shipped out the door.
When the consultant came back, to return the keyboard where he had found it, he went looking for his book, and it was no where to be found. The consultant started searching high and low, looking in all of the desks near by, and even in some of the garbage containers. The company person leading the group asked the consultant what seemed to be the problem, and he answered, “Either I misplaced my book, but I think more than likely someone stole it!” The company person being concerned that he would catch heat from the Founder requested that everyone in the group if they have a brief case to open it so that he can inspect it. Being a typical New Yorker, I complained that I was being treated like a criminal and the consultant should apologize to all the members of this group. After all, we should not be blamed for his carelessness.
That evening, at the bar, in the hotel, where I was staying having a drink, I had more people wanting to buy me drinks for putting this pompous consultant in his place.
A week later the sales force was notified that a major client was very pleased to receive a book on security and sent a thank you note to the Founder. To this day neither the consultant nor the founder of the company figured out how the book ended up being shipped to this client.
The morale of this story? “When you are in sales, you have no time to waste, and you must improvise when necessary to get back to your clients and making money”
January 8, 2013
Many years ago, as a sales engineer, I was working for a West Coast electronic manufacturing company. My territory covered New England, and I spent a lot of time in Massachusetts. One of my key accounts was in Pittsfield, MA. The town and everybody in it were involved in one way or another with this government contractor. You could say it was a government contractor town and Company doing work for the Navy. The two questions people asked you when you arrived at this government contractor’s facility was, do you have any relatives that work at this company, or have you ever done work for the United State Navy. I told them that no one in my family was associated with this company, but I did serve five years in the United States Navy. That seems to please the people in charge. Anyone that did work with government contractor was reminded, more then a few times that this government contractor facility works exclusively for the United States Navy. When you went to lunch, it was to the one of the local restaurants recommended by government contractor. If you stayed in one of the motels, it was again recommended by government contractor. It was a complement to government contractor and the positive attitude of the employees as well as a show place for the US Navy.
The company that I was working for had a major system contact with this government contractor. I had to call on the account monthly to insure that everything was to the satisfaction of both government contractor and the Navy. As the contact was coming to its conclusion, we were told that there would be spares to be ordered. What we did not know at the time was that we would be assigned a purchasing agent to negotiate this contract.
My contract was assigned to a purchasing agent who happened to be a retired Air Force Colonel, and very unhappy he had been sent to Pittsfield. He made it known that he despised the Navy, and anyone associated with it. How or why he ended up at this government contractor facility is still a mystery to me. When you went into his office, on his desk was his name plate that stated Colonel Andrew Whitman (retired). He also requested that you refer to him as Colonel. He was small in size and very impressed with his own importance. After a few meetings, it was obvious that he wanted to speak with someone higher in my company, and requested that I get senior management here to finalize the paperwork, and price on this spares contract. I had no choice but to call my VP of Sales, Mr. Jack Cutter. Jack said he was making the rounds of the sales offices and would be back there in a few days, since he was on the way to finalizing on a major contract at the Chicago office, and I could pick him up at the airport on Wednesday.
Wednesday came and I met Jack at the airport that morning around nine AM. I knew something was wrong when I saw Jack come down the passageway somewhat disheveled. It was obvious that he had slept in his suit, and his shirt looked like he had been wearing it for a week. I asked Jack how he felt, and he told me great because he had closed one of the biggest contacts in the company’s history, and the reason that he looked the way he did was that they, the sales team and the client, had been out all night celebrating. In fact, he came directly from the party to the plane, feeling no pain with very little sleep and no food. He assured me, he was on a wining streak, and ready to beat down the government contractor doors and do business.
We arrived at government contractor, a little after 11:00am. I had asked Jim, who was looking a little under the weather, if he would like a cup of coffee or to have something to eat. He said that his stomach was not in the best of shape, because of all the drinking he had done the night before, but he assured me that he was fine. I forgot to tell you that Jack also served in the Navy and was over 6’4’’ in height, and since I am 6’2’’ we made a formidable pair.
We were shown into the Colonel office. He was sitting behind his desk, and was not pleased to see two people our size coming through his doorway. The Colonel was so short he had to look up to talk with us. He couldn’t wait until we took our seats. Jack was not aware of the fact that this person wanted to be called Colonel, and started off by saying, “It’s a pleasure to meet you Andy” at which the Colonel interrupted Jack and said, “Yes, my name is Andrew but I prefer to be called Colonel, it puts things into the proper prospective” You can imagine the look at Jack’s face when the Colonel said that. Jack, without loosing a beat said, “Fine Colonel, but rather than you call me Mr. Cutter, Jack will be fine” The Colonel accepted that with very little comment.
The Colonel spent the next five minutes personally reviewing the contract file. It was obvious he wanted to make everyone present know that he was in charge. He went on to say that although the contract was completed with our company the Navy and government contractor still have the upper hand. He said based on his experience he felt the government contractor and the Navy had paid too much for the system, and he felt it was his responsibility to recoup some of, what he referred to as losses. The Colonel was really getting on his soap box, and all we could do was sit there and wait for him to finish. All this time I was watching Jack, who was obviously not feeling good, wondering how he was going to handle this situation. As the colonel continued his lecture, Jack interrupted him and said, “Colonel, would you mind handing me your wastepaper basket”. The Colonel, not knowing what to expect, handed it to Jack. Jack immediately stuck his head in the basket and barfed. The Colonel just looked on in a state of shock. When Jack was finished, he handed the basket back to the Colonel, and said, “Now as you were saying Colonel”. The Colonel, still not sure just what happened, repeated, “I expect to see a major discount on these spares of at least 40%” Jack looked him and said, “The company does not discount spares more than 10%” The Colonel, than said, “This is not good enough for this government contractor or the US Navy” Just then Jack interrupted the Colonel again, and said “Colonel, can I have your wastebasket again?” which the Colonel did begrudgingly, at which time Jack again stuck his head in the wastebasket and barfed again. At which point the Colonel could not take this any more, stood up and said, “OK, OK you got the order, and forget about the discount, just get out of my office I will send the paper work to you” Jack thanked the Colonel for the order, and wanted to shake hands but the Colonel declined.
As we left the building, I looked at Jack and said, “I have never used that approach to close and order” Jack said, “Besides not feeling good I had no intention of listening to the Colonel go on and on. If I excused myself and went to the bathroom then came back, the Colonel would have started all over again. So I figured I had nothing to loose, and the only thing he could do at that point was throw us out of his office, which he did, but he did give us the order” Jack looked at me and said that if I told anyone what happened in there he would kill me! When the President of the company called me, and thanked me for my effort with the government contractor account, I told him that it was all Jim’s unique negotiating skills that made the difference.
December 1, 2012
My company is big on give-a-ways at all of our trade shows. We have a lot of people coming to the booth but all they do is grab the stuff we have on our table. When we have a prospect come up to our booth, I have a hard time qualifying this person because of everyone stopping and asking if they can take a pen, cup or some other thing our marketing department has come up with. Is there anything I can do to make my time at these trade shows more business productive and less give-a-way time consuming? I would appreciate your input on this. Thanks.
Tom in NJ.
Let me start off by saying I don’t believe in give-a-ways. If you are going to give something to the attendee who comes to your booth, let him or her do something for it. For example, if you use a Qualification form when speaking with a prospect, when you are finished give the person the pen you complete the form with, and say, “Thank you for stopping by our booth, here is something to remember us by” They did something, you made it more important and personal.
I always ask my clients who insist on give-a-ways, “Are they coming to your booth for information on your products or services or are they there for your give-a-ways?”
Let me tell you a story about a client who manufactures baking ovens. They went to a major food and beverage show and made bread as a give-a-way at the trade show. The company collected over 4,000 business cards, gave away a lot of bread, but they did not sell one oven. The following year, they decided not to offer anything to the attendees. They had over 1,000 people come up to the booth and ask, “When were they going to bake the bread?” The company would have done much better selling bread at the trade show, then ovens. The year they didn’t offer bread and concentrated and the fine points of the oven, they sold nine ovens at the trade show. Hope this answers your question for you.
To your continued trade show success
John Hill, Trade Show Coach
November 13, 2012
Unless you have a 40’ X 40’ booth, with plenty of open space, a booth is a marketing tool and not an executive hangout or a place to meet old friends or business associates.
How many times have you seen senior management or even Presidents of companies use their booth as a meeting place for some of their networking function causing congestion in the booth, and certainly not contributing to new business opportunities?
If you are a President of a company with a 10’ X 10’ foot booth, you should have the people stop by, see your booth and your people in action, but to linger and carry on business conversations there is counter productive and makes it harder for the booth personnel to “qualify” prospects and suspects.
Always consider your booth as an extension of your own office. When you are doing business, I don’t believe you have members of your company just “hangout” in your office.