Most people think of a trade show as a place where you do business booth to booth. That’s true, but the majority of business deals are done away from the trade show floor. Hospitality suites after the show, breakfast meetings, and seminars are where most of the real business deals are struck.
Experienced salespeople can’t wait to get to the convention. They pre–plan for it. They prepare for it. Many count on it to make their living.
Last week, I began to share 19.5 success tactics to help you plan for, and maximize, your benefit from the next trade show you attend. Here’s the rest of the list:
- Don’t waste any time doing non–productive things. Every second is important. If you have two days and 5,000 people are there, this means you can spend about 5 seconds with everyone. You get my point.
- Regroup at night and plan or replan for the next day. Things happen fast at a convention. You meet new people, deals are in the making and influencers in your industry are accessible. The only way to achieve the maximum benefit is to have a written gameplan to start, and be flexible to change it as events unfold.
- Be a presenter. Give a talk or seminar that will establish your expertise and position you or your company as a leader in your field. Pick a topic that your customer or prospect is likely to attend.
- Be the first to arrive and the last to leave every day. This has been most successful for me. It gives me an edge on the people who get there late and leave early. One or two extra hours can make another 100 contacts.
- Write notes on the back of business cards immediately. If you make a lot of contacts, you’ll never remember everything. Be sure to write down the personal (rapport) items golf, children, sports, theater to reference later when following up.
- Have a memorable handout or ad specialty. Something that will create long term goodwill with your customer and prospect. Something to talk about when you follow up after the event.
- Get the list of attendees from the association host after the show. This list will be useful to add to your database, to use for follow up, and to contact the people you missed.
- Have fun and be funny. Enthusiasm and humor are contagious. People like to do business with winners, not whiners.
19.5. Stay focused. Look for opportunities where you least expect them. In the lobby, in the elevator, in the restroom, in the restaurant, be alert for opportunity.
Business at trade shows is done everywhere. Stay alert for opportunities in the strangest of places. I have attended more than 250 shows in my career. I found that my focus played the most important role in my success.
How important is it to be focused? In 1982, after a big Imprinted Sportswear show, I was at the Dallas airport when I noticed a guy I met from a T-Shirt manufacturing company swearing at the American Express money machine. It seems the machine ate his card. He was looking desperate. I walked over, reintroduced myself, found out the problem and loaned him $100 so he would have cash for the trip home. Two days later he sent me a check for $100 and a thank you note. Turns out he was the president of his own garment manufacturing company. Two months later, he called me and asked if I was interested in a contract printing garments for the 1984 Olympics. He had the sublicense to manufacture from Levi’s. We had a state-of-the-art printing facility. I said yes, of course. He gave me a contract to print every shirt – 1,600,000 garments. $750,000 worth of business, because I was paying attention at the airport.
Conventions and trade shows are the best opportunity a salesperson can have. Your challenge is to take advantage of it. Opportunities are everywhere if you follow this two-word-rule…Pay attention.
Nowhere else can you see this many
customers and prospects at once.
You have no time to waste.
A form and format to develop your 30-second personal commercial (the perfect introduction) for use at trade shows and networking events. Go to www.gitomer.com, click Access GitBit, register if you’re a first time user and enter the word Worksheet in the search box.