3 top tips to nail the sale at exhibitions

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Exhibitions can be a very effective way to generate leads. But what’s the best way to go about selling and making new contacts on an exhibition floor? After all, nobody wants to appear desperate (or creepy).

To achieve a good ROI at an exhibition your sales team needs to find the balance between selling too hard and not selling at all. Sometimes the reason why prospects are turned off is the sales person's approach — most people don’t respond very well when confronted with overbearing and pushy salespeople at events. Use the tips and tricks below to help you maintain a professional approach to sales at exhibitions and help you score quality leads.

Tip 1: Make an effort with your personal appearance

This should be a no-brainer. Prospects aren’t going to interact with someone who doesn’t appear well-groomed. This means neat hair and fresh breath. Never forget to use deodorant, but stay clear of overpowering I-can’t-breath cologne.

And it doesn’t stop there, the clothes you’re wearing can also project an unprofessional vibe. Ensure your clothes are appropriate and clean, but don’t be afraid to incorporate something quirky for prospects to remember you by. A bright tie or even a twirled moustache almost guarantees the prospect will remember you when you make the follow up call in a few days! 

Tip 2: Prepare your sales approach ahead of time

  • An excellent way to judge how others respond to something is to think how you would respond to it — after all we’re all human. Just think how you would react if someone came up to you and started rolling off the details of their product, before even introducing themselves, or asking you how you are. Would you like it? Probably not. Be human in your interactions and get to know the prospect before going in with your pitch.

  • While cheeky can work for some people, it’s best to avoid it — because sometimes cheeky turns into creepy - or worse -  just painfully awkward. At exhibitions keep it prepared, professional and on point. You have to remember these people are here at their own will, they want to learn about your product and you’re in an excellent place to educate them face-to-face. The education aspect is your chance increase your sales potential.
  • Don’t be in the prospect’s face, actively listen to what they have to say and discuss how your product or service can help alleviate their problems and give them incredible results. And it goes without saying — but we will say it just so it’s crystal clear – know your product inside out. If you can’t answer a question don’t lie, make a note to email them with the answers as soon as you can.

  • Ensure you have the right marketing material you need at the booth and you know exactly what to give an interested prospect. You’re not the only booth at the exhibition and there’s a chance you’re directly opposite your competition, make sure you give the prospect your marketing material for them to review at a later date. Go out of your way to staple your business card at the top!
Tip 3: Play the part
  • It’s incredibly important while you’re at the exhibition to keep an open mind about the people who come up to have a chat with you, even if they may not seem like a potential buyer at first glance. Speak to everyone, no matter their profession or position because you can never tell who they know and talk to if they’re impressed by you or your product.

  • When you speak with the prospects start by building rapport. Be curious and find out about their role and actually take an interest in it. (But don’t get hyper-personal by asking what gym they go to or where they live, because that’s a little high on the creep scale).

  • While you’re speaking with them be confident in yourself and in your product, but don’t be cocky. Use this opportunity to inform the prospect, don’t push them, and make sure you’re telling the truth. Exaggerating the product or service capabilities can cause irreparable damage to your brand. Take this time to apply and give real life examples, or better yet, show the prospect a demo of how your product can work in their business.

  • At this stage don’t rush in and try to gather too many details. If you go into addresses etc people won’t bother to fill everything in. Getting their name, email, phone, company and position should be ample information for now.
  • Tip: Make sure you input the prospect’s data and not them. This means there much less room for error.

Other important things to remember:

  • Never stand on your phone or speaking to other sales reps at the booth. Big turn off.
  • Don’t have a big night the night before — everyone can tell.
  • Don’t pack the booth up early, you never know who might come along (plus others will take theirs down and you can speak to the people they’re ignoring.)
  • When following up, you already met the prospect before, so make sure you can relate the conversation back to the conversation you had at the exhibition.
  • Don’t eat at the booth.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day, this will help avoid fatigue toward the end of the day.

Exhibitions such as CeBIT are an incredible opportunity to educate prospects in your target market about your product, show them a demo and give them a genuine and informative face-to-face interaction with your company. It’s up to the sales team to provide an experience to the prospects so great that they will be receptive and keen to hear more from you at a later date.

Here's a 10-point trade show survival guide to help your prospects make it to your stand alive!

CeBIT Australia: The ultimate guide to converting event leads to sales