Sales 2.0 Lessons from the Trade Show Floor

April 21st, 2010 by

By Pat Hinds

I was helping out a customer at a trade show this week; I am still a fan of trade shows as it is a great opportunity to speak with lots of people in a short period of time. While I am at the trade show I like to practice sales 2.0 techniques to validate their effectiveness; listed below are a few sales 2.0 comments.

Outbound vs. Inbound

While at the show I took an hour to test the difference between not engaging customers as they walked by (30 minutes), versus standing at the edge of the booth engaging customers with a question as they walked by (30 minutes). The first 30 minutes of not engaging customers was a complete disaster; I had 20 – 30 people walk by and not one talked to me about the product we were showcasing. The second 30 minutes was great; I averaged about 5 minutes per customer with a total of 6 badge scans and one person asked for a follow-up immediately after the show.

My conclusion is outbound marketing works at a trade show just like it works on the telephone and is a necessity if you want to maximize your sales investment.

Pre-Call Out Customer Rank

When I do outbound telesales I leverage sales 2.0 tools like Insideview to help me gather information about a customer as to whether or not I will call them. The decision to call or not to call is based on comparing the target customer against a profile of existing customers in order to rank the target an A,B,C.

In the trade show I start the engagement process of speaking to every prospect with a question “do you use wireless technology?” The typical answer was yes, but many of the prospects were false positive as they did not use long range wireless, the technology that I was positioning. The result was wasted time with unqualified prospects while many potential customers walked by without being engaged. I changed the question to reflect the product, “do you use long range wireless technology?” and my qualified customer engagement went up significantly.

My conclusion is asking a more specific question while engaging a prospect at a trade show will bring in more qualified customers, similar to a sales 2.0 pre-call customer ranking.

Referral Selling

While I was speaking to the customers I asked them to detail the decision making process they used prior to purchasing their last wireless product; an overwhelming response was based on a referral/reference they received from a person that was in the same industry and had used the product.

This is a clear indicator that referral selling is alive and well.

Position Statement

When I was able to get the person to stop, it was key to have a strong position statement on the product being introduced to keep the person engaged and to qualify the person as a potential customer. This is no different to sales 2.0 telesales, you investigate the customer and rank prior to calling, ask for permission to engage and open with a position statement.

Position statement is a very important aspect of sales 2.0 and trade show 2.0.

Probe & Listen

Once I qualified the prospect with a specific question, I presented my position statement; the next step was to probe and listen for agreement and expand. We had several goals going into the trade show that included branding, lead capture (suspect to prospect) and if possible close a deal. In order to achieve this you need information from the customer and this is done by asking questions and listening for a response.

Think sales 2.0 for your next trade show.

Topics: Sales Consulting