By Mike Scher
Too often, even when you know exactly who you need to reach, it’s not easy to reach them. And, with an average of 5.4 people involved in most B2B decisions, exhibit hall and trade show booth sales could require several “cold-calls” to reach, pitch, and close the deal. Below are the top 4 ways to help you navigate the cold-call process to convert your prospects and sell more booths.
- Pick up the phone but don’t try to sell. Think of this as your “call before the call” because in this conversation you are likely the only one who is eager to talk. A rushed sales pitch with an unsuspecting exec is not likely to get you the sale. The key is using a carefully crafted value proposition to intrigue your prospects into taking the “real call” which is when you can get into the details about your event, venue, sponsor ROI, expected attendance, etc. The call before the call gets you a ticket to the show but the second conversation is when the curtain really goes up!
- Change your perspective. If you asked 100 sales reps what they hate most about their jobs, 99 would say cold-calling. Clearly, this mindset needs to change and be seen as one making a reasonable proposition to another. If you truly believe your prospect will be better off exhibiting at your show than anyone else’s, be confident in your calling, knowing you can genuinely help them grow their business. When you pick up the phone, shake off the negatives and look at the opportunities it presents because there are plenty. The most successful sales reps understand the importance of being an expert at cold-calling because they shift from sellers to solvers.
- Send smart email follow-up. Your first conversations should always be by phone. In this era of growing mobile communications, reps tend to rely far too heavily on email, but successful selling will always be people to people, not Outlook to Gmail or text to text. Your follow-up should advance the conversation and provide context so you strike the right chord with the prospect. If you send a general brochure or floorplan, only emphasize the abundance of available space to companies you know have very large displays. If it is a company with a smaller booth set-up, emphasize the ease of equipment installation or bright carpet colors. Never send follow-up unless you accompany it with custom specifics that apply to each prospect and how they can optimize their particular experience and ROI at the show.
- Use consistent messaging—always. For sales prospecting success in trade show booth sales and exhibit hall presence, you must effectively communicate how you are different and have more value. In your cold-call, create a unique, intriguing value proposition that clearly outlines this and use it consistently. If one of your main appeals is that 80% of attendees hold Master’s degrees, make sure you communicate this in every call, voicemail and email. Share if your event dates were timed for execs to easily add vacation time or if multiple airports make it convenient to bring in late-deciders. Reinforcing your unique messages with every outreach increases the likelihood they will remember you and be more open to scheduling the next call—which is when the selling can happen.Mike Scher is CEO of FRONTLINE Selling, creators of Staccato, a leading sales prospecting software suite which has helped thousands of sales professionals convert more leads into opportunities, consistently hit quota and close more deals. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.