Trade show sales: The art of the “soft sell”

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Did you know that four out of five people walking the trade show floor have buying authority? And that approximately half of all attendees intend on buying one or more products on exhibit within 12 months of the show? This makes the trade show floor an optimal environment for both selling and relationship building.

Were you also aware that, according to an article published by the Tradeshow Network Marketing Group, today’s trade show visitors arrive with more knowledge, are further along in the sales cycles, and want to be engaged in the procurement process? Or, that research indicates these sophisticated attendees detest pushy sales people?

If not, then this e-newsletter will offer help by providing tips on striking a balance between being too pushy and being consultative on the sales floor as well as follow-up strategies. Keep reading to find out more.

Show the love—not the money

Before trying to close a sale, review the following relationship-building and follow-up strategies. They’ll demonstrate to your customers you’re all about showing the love and not just sealing the deal.

  • Focus on relationships first: Every interaction on the trade show floor presents an opportunity to make a good impression. Begin with introductions. Get to know your guests by being knowledgeable, yet unassuming. Ask them about their business and their purpose for being at the show. If appropriate, talk business. Regardless if you’ve made a connection or not, send guests on their way with a token of thanks for their time. An Aluminum Stylus Phone Stand is a nice inexpensive option for those who may not be a fit for your business. For promising leads, consider gifting a Cell Phone Power Bank or a Pocket-Sized 4-port Hub.
  • Be gracious: Your booth is your remote office during the trade show. Treat visitors as though they’ve walked through the door of your organization. Offer a cold bottle of water and a snack. If you have chairs or a lounge area, offer visitors a seat while you chat. You may even want to host a coat check. Provide claim tickets and a logo’d luggage tag to make an added impression. Don’t hover; allow guests to relax and rest their sore feet.
  • Do your homework: When all is said and done, and you have a stack of contacts, don’t just pick up the phone and start cold calling. Take a more targeted approach and do research first. Investigate your leads’ websites, social media pages and even their advertising. Do you have information that’s relevant to them? Have you identified a problem you could solve? Are you offering special pricing on a product or service that you discussed during the show? These are great reasons to follow up—not simply because you acquired a guest’s contact information.
  • Connect via social media: Social media is an un-intrusive way to connect post-show. But don’t use it to sell. Rather, use it to remind prospects you exist and share valuable, relevant content that is meaningful to them.

Being in sales doesn’t mean you have to be pushy or intrusive. In fact, research shows that for most buyers today, it’s quite the turn off. Try one of the strategies above and see how it works for you. Even if you don’t make the sale right away, you may build a relationship that could get you one in the future. Good luck!

Thimmesch, Mike. “16 Powerful Stats on the Value of Trade Shows.” TSNN Trade Show News. N.p., 17 Aug. 2013. Web. Retrieved 12 Feb. 2015.

“All-Show Averages.” Exhibit Surveys. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 01 Mar. 2015.

Siskind, Barry. “Is Your Booth Staff Ready for an Attitude Adjustment?” The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group. N.p., 02 Apr. 2014. Web. Retrieved 13 Feb. 2015.

Deeb, Carol. “How to Do Well in Sales without Being Pushy.” Small Business. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 13 Feb. 2015.

Pavli, Matthew. “How to Follow Up Sales Leads Without Hard Selling.” TSNN Trade Show News. N.p., 02 Nov. 2014. Web. Retrieved 13 Feb. 2015.

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