The Art of Selling at a Conference

trade_show_successI just returned from a conference this past weekend that feature the trifecta of interesting content, energized attendees, and professional vendors.  It was a great event and got me thinking about how to sell at a conference.  To me, there are three key ingredients:

  1. Strong Product Demonstration. You need to have a product that is easy to demonstrate and is visually interesting for passersby to watch the demo.  The old Home Shows were masters of getting people to buy $20 mops that could suck up gallons of water.  Infomercials are perfect examples as well.  You need the product after you see it.  If you can perform the demo on the person, it draws even more interest.
  2. Earnest Demonstrators.  The attendee does not want to be pitched.  They want to talk to someone who takes the time to understand their needs and then see a potential solution.  Too many times, the person is so desperate for a sale that they forget to ask the most important questions- “What’s your name?” and “How can I help you?”  People want to be made to feel important.  Gracious demonstrators help that- especially if that person will also be their company contact.
  3. Impeccable Follow Up. The sale is in the follow up.  Many conferences do not lend themselves to immediate sales.  As an exhibiter, you need to capture your leads and send strong and detailed follow up.  Remind the lead who you are, what you do, and why they should care.  Outline the costs and order process to make it simple for them to choose you.  Hyperlinks to an online store work very well for this.  Make sure your follow up is timely- within the first three days that the visitor is returning but not on the first day back in the office.  You do not want to get lost in the inbox.  Stay diligent on the follow up as well.  Add the person to a weekly then monthly contact.  They may not be ready to buy today, what you want to be top of mind when they are.

Too many times, people look at their immediate return at a conference to determine whether it was successful.  Instead take a long view of the situation.  You may be very pleased at what you see.

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