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Selling At a Trade Show: How to Kill Your Competition

A few weeks ago, I shared some thoughts on Trade show ROI and a few key strategies to make sure you have a successful trade show. While my main focus at starfunding is working with companies to improve their cash flow, there are steps you need to first take before looking at cash flow issues like sales and driving revenue into your company. More often than not, the answer to cash flow struggles is more and gaining better ROI on your major marketing and sales investments.

Over the last few weeks, I visited The Toy Fair, Agenda, and Magic trade shows. There were so many great brands, beautiful booths and tons of energy in the air. What I also noticed was that there are a lot of people struggling to connect, build relationships and close sales. The struggles I noticed were mostly avoidable with a little awareness and preparation. Since it’s trade show season, I figure why not piggy-back on my prior article and share 3 great tips for selling at a trade show.

1. Train your booth personnel and practice selling skills

Trade shows are your time to shine as an industry expert. It’s true, first impressions are everything. When a prospective client stops by your booth, they need to know that you are on top of your game. This not only comes across with the information you share or how you present the product, but also how you work with prospects. Are you asking the right questions? Are you listening to the thoughts and concerns of your prospective clients? Are you connecting on a personal level?

Selling a product is always more about what you know about your prospect, not just marketing or demonstrating your product. You can sell for days sharing all that you love about your offering, but if you are not demonstrating that you can meet the needs of your customers your presentation will fall flat.

2. Qualify interested parties quickly

Your job at a trade show is to speak with as many qualified customers as possible. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be friendly and meet people that may not be in your target market. However, it does mean that you need to make sure you limit the time you spend with people who won’t buy. The trade show may only be 2-3 days long, so time with qualified buyers is limited. Be sure to gauge whether or not they are genuinely interested, their purchasing influence or decision making capacity and purchasing budget. If you can determine their value as a prospect within the first 1-2 minutes of speaking with them, you can politely guide the conversation to be over within 3-4 minutes in the case they are not qualified.

For Example: If you are selling to retail stores, ask the prospect these simple questions to instantly know if they are your target customer. 1. Where is your retail store? 2. What other brands do you carry in your store? 3. Why are you interested in our brand?

3. Make your visitors feel special

With all of the competition at the trade show, what are you doing to make yourselves memorable and make your booth visitors feel comfortable? Of course you will have a bowl full of chocolate, but you need to make sure to shake hands, maintain eye contact, and ask thoughtful questions so your visitors feel you are genuine.

If you are booking appointments in advance make sure you are on time for those appointments even if your customers are not. You need to manage your appointments so that nobody feels rushed, but everyone appreciates your punctuality.

Trade shows can be some of the most costly marketing and sales efforts any company can make. A strong focus on customer experience can be everything while exhibiting at a trade show and successful trade show execution can make or break your sales for the upcoming season or year. Make sure to pay close attention to practicing selling skills, spending your time wisely with qualified customers and making your visitors feel special.