ASK JOHN

Hi John,

I have a simple question regarding trade shows and conferences

I’ll be working in the booth for my company, doing on-demand demos of our solution on my PC.

This is my very first trade show in my career as an SE.

Any great words of advice?

Thank You

Bill – Reading, UK


 

Hi Bill,

 

The three most important things you can bring to a trade show are a big smile, a positive attitude and a comfortable pair of shoes.

The attitude and the smile make you approachable and since the whole purpose of the trade show is to get traffic through the booth you want to make it as easy as possible for people to approach the booth and see what you have to offer. So don’t spend the time talking with others from your company, or with your face buried in the laptop. Make eye contact with prospects as they enter the booth, smile gently – and good things will happen.

Once you have an audience – don’t just dive into your demonstration pitch – start with a few questions. “Do you know anything about our company/solution?”;What brings you into the booth today?”; “Do you have any issues with [key business issue you solution fixes]?” Armed with a little information you can now start your demo. Remember that your primary function at a trade show is to build up a pipeline of qualified prospects – so don’t try to make the sale, just establish some curiosity. You should be able to summarize your value proposition in 30 seconds and demo your product in 3-5 minutes. Don’t dazzle with features or baffle with benefits – just create curiosity and the desire to learn more.

My final piece of advice for the trade show rookie is to categorize your audience into A, B or C-type leads. An “A” means has a problem and ready to buy soon. If you find any of these people hand them over to a salesrep once you are done. “B” means genuinely interested so you should spend some time with them and “C” means looking for the free t-shirt. Prioritize accordingly.

And my final, final thought is to remember that you are always on-duty and always selling. I have met some of my best leads standing in line for lunch, waiting for coffee, in the elevator or during snacks after the keynote address. When you get some time off duty take a tour of the other booths, see what the competition is doing, and pick up some swag!

(Don’t forget the comfortable shoes – you’ll thank me later)

You can find a longer 2015-era article with more detail on the News Article Page 

 

/John.

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