How to sell at events and trade shows? Tips and Techniques
Which events are a great opportunity for your business to grow you already know, right? You can get to know managers from other companies, exchange experiences, close partnerships. As a bonus, you can still strengthen your brand, network and increase sales volume.
No wonder that the big players in the market are always present in everything. Even they, who are already consolidated, know that the investment is worth it.
Have you been to an event recently?
If not, you should. If so, are you happy with your performance?
Whatever your answer was, this text is for you. I’ll give you some insights on how to sell at events so that next time you can make the most of your participation and generate more business for your company.
What is your intention with this event?
First, you need to define what you want from the event and how you are going to get it. In other words, it needs objectives, goals, and planning.
Going by going doesn’t exist. You are investing money, time, staff, structure… It is obvious that you intend to reverse this in some way.
As everyone who wants to be recognized in the market, branding is certainly an objective. But there are two even bigger ones: selling and making contacts.
For simple sales, setting a goal is easier. After all, the cycle is short, and selling x number of accounts or products in a few days is totally palpable.
Now, if you work with complex sales, things are more complicated. As the cycle is long, not everyone like the team of park view villas can hit the hammer there, urgently.
Use this to your advantage and turn the event into an opportunity to reach out to the decision-maker and generate rapport.
In the case of OTB, which works with complex sales, we went to the last RD Summit in order to generate leads. All our training was directed towards this and we managed to get a lot of cards to continue the cycle at the end of the event.
All roads lead to the booth
With the goal set, everything else is part of the plan. The stand is your visual identity within the event. In addition to showing your brand clearly and sharply, it’s important to think of things to get the audience’s attention and get more people to stop there.
The use of bright, eye-catching colors and banners and balloons can help. But don’t just stop there, use all the tools you have at your fingertips!
Betting on characters or references known to the public is a good way to draw attention to your booth. As this is an unexpected thing in business events, the tendency is for the lead to stop to understand the context of that image and see what you have to show.
When we went to the RD Summit, for example, we prepared an introductory video with several memes that kept running at the booth. Imagine the faces of CEOs watching Roadrunners and Bambam running on our monitor while competitors passed on a bunch of clichéd phrases about selling more!
The result? Several people stopped to see us and ended up talking to us. We were even super praised for the video because it was different – and being different on those occasions is everything.
The Great Gatsby toasting at the end of our video and calling the lead 😉
I’ve already mentioned the appearance, of course, I couldn’t stop talking about the stand’s positioning.
Try to settle down at points of constant flux, such as auditorium entrances and exits, near the food court or even happy hour (yes, we did it!).
Happy hour, by the way, is a great time to connect in a more informal way and generate rapport with some leads. Enjoy.
Who goes and who stays
Participating in an event is like going to war, everyone is trying to sell their fish and fighting for the lead’s attention. It will be hard days and you need the best team by your side.
As the gifts will have to approach a high volume of people, prefer more curious and friendly sellers. Shyness can be a major drag on performance. Therefore, choose free talkers, who find it easier to approach leads in a consultative way.
When defining your team, don’t forget to segment the team. You who follow our blog are already familiar with the concepts of hunter and closer, right?
It turns out that, at events, many curious people show up. Talking to them can consume a lot of your attention that could otherwise be spent closing sales. That’s why it’s interesting to work with a front filter with hunters while their closers close contracts.
The move from baton to closer should preferably take place when the lead is already qualified. But if the hunter team is overloaded, part of the qualification can be played by a closer.
Finally, invest in training for all team members like the management of Capital Smart City do! Preparation is the kind of thing that will never be enough, but either one makes all the difference in performance.
Leaving the comfort zone
If you’re an inside sales person (like me), it’s possible that you’re used to conducting the sale with words and setting the tone of the negotiation with your voice – all while sitting at your desk all askew and sometimes in shorts and slippers (like me). 😛
Well, at events, it’s A LOT different. You are completely exposed to your lead, so everything about you has to convey trust and credibility.
The first step is to be dressed properly. No clothes that don’t match the proposal and the public of the event.
To err on the side is also to sabotage yourself, and overly formal dress in a more relaxed environment can undermine your strategy.
When you go in a suit and tie to a startup event…
It’s also important to think about body language. You convey confidence not only by being firm in what you say, but mainly in how you express yourself.
Crossing your arms or putting your hands in your pocket, for example, demonstrates insecurity on the part of the seller. Don’t make this mistake.
If they are standing, make subtle head movements, maintaining eye contact with the lead at all times, gesturing moderately and reacting with expressions. Keeping your face still makes you sound impersonal, and that’s not what you want.
If they are seated, a good strategy is to lean forward a little. This demonstrates that you are paying attention to what he says, generating greater empathy.
But never, under any circumstances, sit static behind a counter waiting for someone to come talk to you. Proactivity is critical.
Approaching the lead
You should approach as many people as you pass in front of your booth, we know. But it doesn’t have to be a pit bull!
Never interrupt two people’s conversations and be receptive to denials. They will be constant.
To get a lead’s attention, you can use a technique that we often jokingly call “crazy eyes”.
It works like this: you try to make eye contact with everyone who passes by, the one who reciprocates you smiles and starts the approach. When this contact exists, the lead is more receptive to listening to you and getting to know your product.
In approaching, it’s important to make the conversation comfortable for your listener. A head-on conversation can seem challenging and aggressive. Ideally, you should position yourself at 45º from your lead, taking the opportunity to follow the flyer reading.
About the flyer, keep in mind that it’s just a plus. Use statistics to support your lines, not the other way around. Data must be contained in the graphic material, and it is up to you to make the prospect interested in it. The lead will remember speeches much more than numbers.
These tips can help: Change Your Sales Speech and Boost Your Conversions in 6 Steps
And remember: everyone present there is ready to listen to you. It’s up to you to take that predisposition and turn it into interest. Don’t be afraid to hear no!
Strategy, from the Greek strategy
Of course your strategy is in the event. Evaluating the structure offered and the schedule can help to promote very cool actions.
Want an example?
You already know Rock Content, right? At the 2015 RD Summit they did one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.
Rock has a mobile bookcase, where vendors can walk through the event. What did she do? A uniform very similar to that of Resultados Digitais, the organizer of the RD. So, when someone needed information, they ended up approaching the Rock team by accident.
Rock salespeople provided all the support people needed and then invited them to stop by the booth. Simple and efficient.
In 2016, Rock stood out again at the event with a super cool promotional strategy.
They distributed t-shirts with fun prints mixing the Rock and Roll theme with marketing. Result: the stand was always full of people behind a piece. In recent days, by the way, what he had most was the lead with Rock T-shirts.
This whole movement captured a huge base of leads and, of course, greatly strengthened the company’s branding. They rock!
The last ones…
At an event, you usually have two or three days to prospect, qualify, and contract a lead. It’s the sales cycle of any salesperson’s dreams, and it’s also a testament to the importance of generating urgency.
Your team must be well trained to get quick answers during the negotiation. Winning a no early is good, as you end up buying time to prospect new leads.
Business processes can’t drag on for long at events and the intention is to close as many sales right there. Therefore, work scarcity concepts with the lead.
Offering special conditions such as discounts can be a good strategy, as long as the only impediment is the lead budget. In the case of products, it is also worth offering a trial version.
However, if the financial drag is caused by low skills, try to generate the full value that your solution offers.
Of course, many of the presentations made there are heading towards a closure after the event. This is not the end of the world. It will even be much easier to make this contact because you have a context.
You saw that events generate great opportunities for the company, but it is worth remembering all the investment made for participation. Therefore, each of the opportunities must be seen as a priority, within the defined strategy.
And don’t forget to meet with the team afterwards, to assess what worked and what didn’t work very well at the event – both in your strategy and in that of whoever was there.
If you have any cool experience to tell or have any questions about your team’s preparation, send me an email: email@example.com. I am available to help you boost your sales!
And don’t forget to download the eBook we launched with Plug to become a qualification expert anywhere.