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Perfecting the soft sell
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You only have attendees at your booth for a few brief moments, so it seems counterintuitive at a trade show to soft sell visitors. However, soft sell techniques have proven to be effective and are often more appealing to customers.Soft selling doesn’t mean being shy or reserved in your sales efforts, but it does require a more indirect and educational approach that shows you’re listening to your customers. It means being heartfelt, genuine and transparent in nature and often necessitates as much training as hard-sell methods.Because consumers have become increasingly savvy, and their use of social media has provided further insight into products or companies, soft selling’s educational and value-added approach has made its way onto the trade show floor. It’s no longer only about trying to seal the deal on-the-spot, but it’s about building relationships that lead to stronger customer loyalties and potential product innovations. Here are a few ideas to improve your soft sell techniques:

Listen and ask questions
When meeting new booth visitors, start by getting to know them. Learn about what they are seeking and how you may assist them. A typical approach is to dive in and begin talking about your product or service, but by engaging customers in conversations about their needs, you’ll understand how best to assist them. Ask questions about their customers, products or services. Try to ascertain what problem they have that you can solve – directly or indirectly.

Meet their needs
Once you’ve engaged your customers and identified their problems, seek to solve their issues. Much can be gained by listening and acting based on customers’ input. From product enhancements to new innovations, it may be possible to solve their needs while capitalizing on otherwise unknown opportunities. Keep logo’d Mini Helix Combo notepads and pens within reach to take notes during your conversations as it reinforces the message that their needs will be remembered and addressed.

Provide resources
Your conversations are an opportunity to educate customers about your product or service by showcasing the features that address their issues. In addition to pointing out these features, offer resources through your promotional material and giveaways. Use them as educational opportunities to reinforce the conversations. Consider Compact Tool Kits to symbolize your commitment to making it right for your customers, or Ultra Slim Totes that offer support and a solution to their loaded arms.

Ensure that customers leave with your contact information. Go the extra mile and include social media channels where they can connect with you, such as Twitter® or LinkedInSM accounts.

Follow up
After having developed an initial foundation with your visitors, make sure to follow up. If they’ve provided their Twitter or LinkedIn accounts, follow them and continue to engage them in conversations online. Also send The Good Life Series Book – Thanks – as a way to reinforce your appreciation for their time and a personal note that speaks to your face-to-face conversation during the trade show.

Perfecting the art of the soft sell can lead to customers that value your product and service and look to you to answer their needs. It’s a process that involves listening and educating rather than “telling,” and it values relationships and two-way dialogue versus the quick sell. If you can adopt some of these tactics during your trade show presence, you will enhance the customer experience and your bottom line.

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