• You didn’t waste your money on a trade show, did you?

     

    It’s that time of year; no, not pre-Christmas but trade shows and events.  At Sandler we sometimes get asked how to make sure investing time, money and resources is not wasted effort.

    Trade show picIf you are an exhibitor, what do you expect to gain from a whole day (or more) out of the office, your money, hiring the space and goodness knows what marketing effort in making your space sell? Typically we hear “leads, promoting ourselves and making sure our existing contacts see us.” These seem noble aims. Nothing wrong with these, surely?

    But supposing our goals were subtly different, would we approach the show and our investment differently? The real value in exhibiting has very little to do with our stand, our pitch, our marketing. Ideally we want to have prospects identify themselves as interested by finding what problems and challenges they have that we can fix. So that means asking a whole load of questions about them and their business. Suddenly our stuff recedes into the background, the spotlight is firmly on them.

    This also answers the inevitable dilemma of how we approach visitors to the show.  Being vacant on the  stand is not a good strategy. Pouncing on them also does not work.  Being welcoming and interested in why they have attended is far more likely to result in a constructive conversation.

    Once we are talking, we want to identify if they are a decision maker, or at least an influencer. And if it looks like they might be able to pay for our product and service, better still.

    If we have somebody on our stand who apparently has a problem we can fix, they can at least highly influence the decision to engage with us, and potentially have some budget they could spend on those issues, we have a qualified lead.

    Only now can we give them something to walk away with. Maybe that is just a business card. If relevant, and they have really convinced us they qualify, we might even give them some marketing material. At the very least they should go with a promise from us to phone them in the next few days. Even better if they go with a date in our diary for a proper meeting.

    Supposing they don’t meet all these criteria? We do not need to spend time with them.  Not today at least. The best way to politely disengage with people who are visiting and not buying is quite simply tell them something. Anything, really, just so long as it is precisely correct and full of all our benefits presented as technically accurately as we can. The first few words of technical language will allow them to realise they are in the wrong place and they will happily take their leave.

    Exhibitors are often keen to do draws and competitions to get just one more business card. Those cards are worth nothing to you if you cannot use them or you do not use them. Adding random data to your database adds nothing to your pipeline of business. There are plenty of those names and numbers available without spending a day out of the office to collect them.  Competitions for those who qualify to enter are much better. Great way to build rapport. Maybe in those circumstances all entrants deserve to win a prize.

    If you are exhibiting, that gives you the right to talk to other exhibitors. So when, all the public you were after goes off to can you buy aciphex over the counter listen to the next great seminar, and it all goes quiet, this is when you can make money. Often your best prospects or at least best  introducers are the other exhibitors.  You have immediate point of similarity, standing all day on your feet,  and natural conversation flows.

    There is nothing more annoying than being sold to by visitors to your stand when you have invested to get clients for yourself. However, some report having made the best contacts by being a visitor. “What do you do?” “I help businesses like yours with XYZ problem, but look, you are busy exhibiting today so not the right time to talk about that…” “No, no, go on, tell me….” If invited to explain, it would be rude not to.

    In summary,  when we have spent money on an exhibition we should be slow in giving out our stuff, quick to disqualify them and quick to follow up. That means we probably will end up with a handful of highly qualified leads and not a pile of business cards that we have no intention of following up. It does also mean we know we have correctly invested our time money and resources. We might even end up with some new clients.

    So you did not waste your money on  a trade show, did you?

     

    Paul Glynn

    Paul Glynn

    Paul’s experience spans over twenty years of selling, sales management and training. He has worked in the financial services sector including accountancy and has been responsible for the commercial success of sales departments at director level in advertising. His clients report up to 300% increase in turnover by working with him. He is dedicated to helping businesses grow through assessments, training, coaching and mentoring. Tel: 01784 390623 Mobile: 07866 518848

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  • Have You Heard What’s Happening?

    Only 20 Weeks To Go!

    Client Summit

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    Lisette Howlett edits the Sandler UK blog. If you have any questions or would like to submit a blog please contact her. Tel: 020 7484 5556 Email: Lisette.howlett@sandler.com

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  • Events as Prospecting Activities: How to Increase your Client’s Top-Line Revenue

    An interesting article from our guest blogger this month Megan Mackeigan on adding events into the prospecting mix.

    The best part of my job is talking to event planners. We have been fortunate to work with some of the best and brightest in the industry that have shared their expertise and to help us develop OneLobby. I continue to connect with event professionals on a daily basis, and they have been gracious enough to share their insights.

    I had an interesting meeting last week with an American company with several offices across the country. They have an event planner on staff that coordinates with all their offices to use events as prospecting activities for buy adipex online lowest prices guaranteed lead generation. In my last position we held similar events. We would invite potential clients to briefings that would provide not only an overview of who we are and what we did, but also helpful information they could take and implement immediately. Even our 10th Anniversary Party yielded business, we were able to engage past clients and prospects and develop new relationships that added to our top line.

    I started to think about how independent planners could approach companies and sell the idea of events as revenue generators. How many companies out there lack the expertise of how to plan a successful meeting and are losing out on a valuable active prospecting tool because of it? As an independent planner, how can you communicate the value of events as revenue generators to your prospects?

    In a day and age where technology is king, how much face time are we losing with prospects? Phone, email, Twitter, LinkedIn – these avenues have allowed us to be efficient and more easily connect. As efficient as we have become at making connections – are we really connecting? A study by Albert Mehrabian, Professor of Psychology at UCLA, tells us communication is broken down into three elements. Body language amounts for 55% of all communication, tonality for 38% and the actual words you say – only 7%.

    So how much communication is lost when we’re not in front of each other? What cues do we miss out on when we are connecting via technology rather than having a face-to-face interaction? Events as prospecting activities allow you to connect with a large number of prospects at once and see immediate feedback in body language and facial expressions. What is the value of being able to read these signals and adjust your own communication style to engage an individual or crowd?

    If your clients or potential clients aren’t using events as a prospecting activity, how can you help them come to the self-discovery that it would increase their top line revenue? We need to find out: what are they doing now? Cold calls, asking for referrals, e-marketing blasts – is that working? Are there things they wish they could achieve on a larger scale but haven’t yet with their current activities? Are they scheduling a lot of meetings with un-qualified prospects and spending hours traveling to those individual meetings? How much time and trouble could they save by holding an event where they could engage a room full of prospects and qualify those who merit a more meaningful conversation?

    If the prospecting event cost ‘X’, what would they need to see as a result in order to feel like they got a good return on investment? Go through the process of developing an ROI strategy with them, and determine together if events are a valuable option. Ask questions that will help them come to the realization that you are what will make the event valuable.

    Events bring people together. What is the value of face time with potential clients? What is the value of having an event go off without a hitch because a professional planned it? That’s for you to know, and your clients to find out.

    Megan Mackeigan, One Lobby. OneLobby is a cloud-based, collaborative event management platform for independent, corporate and enterprise event producers. For more information visit www.onelobby.com

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    Lisette Howlett edits the Sandler UK blog. If you have any questions or would like to submit a blog please contact her. Tel: 020 7484 5556 Email: Lisette.howlett@sandler.com

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  • Networking Works!

    By Abby Donnelly

    people

    Attending a networking event? WHY??

    That may seem like a strange question, but time is one of our most limited resources! Taking a few minutes to evaluate why you should attend THIS particular networking event may save you hours of unproductive time and energy. Often, sales professionals tell me that they make their decision to attend an event based on the location of the event and their calendar availability. Instead, base your decision to attend an event based on:

    1. Will your ideal target market likely be there? If not,

    2. Will people who know your ideal target market be there?

    If the answer is no to both of these questions, attending the event probably isn’t a good use of your time. You may meet some great people, you may have some interesting conversations, but you will probably not build the kind of business relationships that will deliver an ongoing stream of qualified referrals. Instead, find a buy diflucan pill networking event that is a better fit, or invest that time 1-1, building important relationships with key prospects, or with people who know your key prospects.

    If you can’t bear to skip the event, at least go into the event with a specific goal. Maybe you set a goal to meet 3 new people. Maybe you set a goal to reconnect with 5 people you already know. Maybe you set a goal to connect 2 people who need to know each other. If you are going to spend your time attending an event, make it count! The additional benefit of setting a goal in advance is that once you achieve it, you are free to leave—you have already had a successful event!

    Abby Donnelly is a partner and Executive Coach with Training and Development services, a Sandler Training franchise.

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    Lisette Howlett edits the Sandler UK blog. If you have any questions or would like to submit a blog please contact her. Tel: 020 7484 5556 Email: Lisette.howlett@sandler.com

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  • Today’s the Day! A-Level’s are out.

    Today’s the Day.  The 18th August is ringed in red in many calendars, in many homes across England.  A-Level Results are out and the long talked about scramble for university places starts now.  But after today how will universities change their process to sell to the brightest candidates.

    At the last count, there were 669, 956 applicants going for only 470,000 places.  Those students who miss out this year will experience largely increased fees next year.  If they reapply they could face paying £17,000 more.  This frantic race to escape such a financial increase has resulted in Universities being able to put entry requirements and pick the cream of the crop.  A university admissions office has only had to take orders this year as supply outstrips demand.

    Yet 2012 may bring a dramatic change to these institutions.  The sales process will change from a student wondering, “will they accept me?” to “why should I choose you?” The Universities need to equip their staff with the skills required to react to this shift.  And not just their admissions staff – all members of the University’s staff who interact with prospective students needs to have a “sales awareness. “ A skill they did not even need to consider before today.

    There are 2 main things that will need to be focused upon:

    1. Communication Skills – and not just on the surface “small talk” skills.  A student considering their university needs to feel they are making the right decision.  Good communication skills will mean potential students think ‘they really understand me, I could see myself studying here.’
    2. The Emotional Reason to Buy.  Deciding on a university is already on of the first important decisions a young person will make.  A university will need its staff to be able to discover “Why does this person really want to engage with higher education” and “What are there (the student’s) personal and emotional reasons?”  Then they need to be able to fit their offering to meet these.

    Now universities are charging more and students are demanding more before they buy – a “sales awareness” has to be a priority.  If not, despite all the exemplary academia on display and the cutting edge research, students will not be attracted.

    Anneli Thomson

    Anneli Thomson

    Anneli is an expert in sales culture and talent management. She is a keen champagne drinker and triathlon enthusiast. The UK Franchisee of the Year 2014.

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  • (No) Queues Ahead

    Who likes queuing? No, me neither. I think it shows. I think the guy sitting next to me can tell, now I’m finally onboard the flight – after queuing through customs, queuing to buy a bottle of Evian, standing in line to buy some Duty-Free.

    Still, I’m here now – and all that waiting did give me plenty of time to think.

    Like, how come when we’re standing with a basket of shopping, waiting to buy, we get shepherded into those little queuing-pens, and obediently wait to be called?

    And then – when it’s our turn to do the selling – every sales training course shows you the same stuff, the same techniques, so you end up stood in another orderly queue, behind every other seller.

    That’s the thing about training courses. They’re great for Compliance. You learn a bunch of things, leave with a thick ring-binder manual, and you get on with the compliance. Fine for Health & Safety. Fine for Employment Law. For maintaining standards.

    When we’re growing our business, though, we’re not trying to maintain the status quo.  We’re not in Compliance-mode. Queuing obediently. We’re in Freedom-mode. Free to adapt to the uncertainties of the terrain. You’re not going to buy a  roadmap, because you’re not going by road.

    At Sandler, we don’t sell roadmaps. We guide. We support business leaders with our knowledge and experience.

    Because, if you’re ambitious, if you’re serious about growing the business, then you know the journey is  going to adventurous. So we work alongside you, proving the route we’re both taking, showing you the steps and the handholds.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on throwing away the roadmap –  or even just the best idea you had while standing in a queue.

    Blog Editor

    Blog Editor

    Lisette Howlett edits the Sandler UK blog. If you have any questions or would like to submit a blog please contact her. Tel: 020 7484 5556 Email: Lisette.howlett@sandler.com

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