Every year I attend about 200 or more exhibitions and trade fares around the world and it doesn’t matter what country I am in or what market the exhibition is representing I always meet with the same types of exhibitor.
The Passive Exhibitor
The Passive Exhibitor is very polite and is always smiling. They are proud to promote their company at the annual exhibition. But as they have been exhibiting for several years they feel uncomfortable to ask their manager for advice on how to man the exhibition stand or what to do on the day.
Instead they perch themselves on the corner of the exhibition stand and ask passersby if they would like a brochure or leaflet.
They work hard and at the end of each day they inform their team leader that they have been really busy and given out hundreds of expensive brochures”!
As far as they are concerned an exhibition booth visitor that smiles back is as good as a sale! If they receive a really big smile they might even throw in a tentative one liner – “Good morning are you enjoying the show?” or “Have you just arrived at the exhibition?”
What really throws them is when the visitor responds with a question about their company, product or service. In their mind that’s an answer for the Sales Director and he’s already talking to somebody so “Do you want a brochure?” is as far as they can take the conversation.
We have all seen the Exhibition Prisoner. You know the one, that person that doesn’t want to be there and can’t wait to get out. They don’t value exhibiting. They knew even before the show started that the leads would be rubbish and the attendance poor.
They would sooner spend their time on their mobile phone than talk to prospects and don’t even think about approaching them when it’s lunch time, can’t you see that they are eating! They’ve been to loads of exhibitions and it’s always the same every year.
They spend more time talking to other exhibitors about how slow the show traffic is than they do telling visitors about their products and services. The only good thing as far as they are concerned is that they can go home early to avoid the traffic!
The Exhibitor Expert
The Exhibitor Expert understands his objectives and knows how to engage with any visitor at any level. Confident in his own ability and social skills he uses positive body language to encourage visitors to enter into conversation and engagement. This allows him to establish potential prospect quickly and effectively ensuring maximum use of time. The Exhibition Expert’s primary purpose is to establish where the visitor is in the buying cycle. This will allow him to agree any follow up action after the event.
Carefully and accurately recording the visitor’s details he will make meticulous notes so that it is clear to see what the visitor was interested in and what further action is required. Before the visitor leaves the exhibition stand he will shake their hand and verbally confirm the agreed action by saying something like “Thanks for taking the time to visit our stand today. I am confident that we will be able to help you with your requirement and I look forward to discussing this project further next week”.
We all have fewer customers with smaller budgets to spend, so if you are thinking about exhibiting please consider the basic principles of face to face selling. After all unlike a “Market stall” where we “pile um high and sell um cheap” your exhibition visitors have gone to a great deal of trouble and expense to come and visit you!
What sort of exhibitor are you?
A series of training programs are available from MTD Sales Training. For more information please contact [email protected]
Tailored courses can be designed to suit any level of competence from the first time exhibitor right through to the seasoned professional who exhibits on the international circuit.
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This is a guest blog by Peter Bowen – C.E.O. of Access Displays Ltd and board member of ESSA – who introduced MTD’s MD Sean McPheat at the recent G50 Conference at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry.