Would you like a bag full of freebies including chocolates, mugs, lollies and pens?
Then I suggest you sign yourself up for a conference or live event. And use your coffee break to go around the exhibitors’ stalls, it’s like Christmas at the office! Pens, mugs, chocolates, it’s all free.
But what I find stallholders don’t share with me is the most valuable thing of all, time. I mean actual time spent communicating with me, your potential client. I, as a visitor at your event, am also spending my valuable time, so I love it when you make it worth my while by getting to know me better.
I find that while they know their stuff back to front, people staffing the stall rarely talk to me the ‘single mum’, the ‘recently moved to the city’, the busy business owner, the human. That’s because they are too busy doing the hard sell on me, selling business to business.
When you only focus on the hard sell, chances are you are trying to sell me features, but not benefits.
Sure I want a widget that works wonders, but mostly I want to make more sales to my ideal client. I want a steady income and for my work to be easier to manage. I want my business to work more efficiently, so I can have more time with my family. More free time is not a feature, it’s a benefit. Can you sell me more of that? Because I will happily fork out real dollars for more ME time.
Large companies pay market researchers a ton of money to conduct focus groups, to ask their potential or existing clients a whole lot of questions. This type of data is essential if they don’t want to waste time and money on stuff nobody really needs or wants.
So, if you’ve paid upwards of $500 for a stall, plus the cost of staffing it for a whole day, would it not make sense to find out what I am really looking for?
This is a unique opportunity for primary research:
- to survey your potential market,
- to ask me what motivates me,
- what keeps me awake at night,
- what would make me buy your offering,
- what is my greatest barrier to trying it out.
Knowing all this will help you with writing your marketing content and likely reveal to you new ideas for products and services. Meeting your clients face to face is a unique opportunity for you to profile your customer base: it helps you refine your client profile and identify your top 20% customers who likely bring in 80% of your business.
I have done more than my fair share of weekend exhibitions, starting as a teenager at environmental events, moving to food products and gym equipment in Tokyo. So I do understand they can be tiring and a big investment of your energy. But if you want to make the most of your day as an exhibitor, please stop selling me. Invest your time in getting to know me instead, and I guarantee you’ll make more sales in the long run.
You will develop a more loyal and profitable customer base, and this, in turn, will boost your bottom line.
And I’ll remember you not for the free chocolates, but for the conversation we had, the connection we made, the trust we built.