Two topics that I don't seem to write about much came up in last week's episode of Meet the Sales Experts. My guest was Sales Development Expert Chris Mott from Kurlan & Associates and we had a very good conversation about Trade Show Selling. We discussed the difference between an industry show, where buyers come specifically to meet with vendors and acquire new lines, versus general business shows, where most visitors attend for the event itself. At recent general business shows where Chris exhibited, he noticed just how few exhibitors had activity at their booths despite the fact that these shows were significantly busier and better attended than similar shows just a year ago. The exhibitor and visitor attendance is more good news relative to confidence, spending and outlook in the business sector. The bad news is that the exhibitors were clueless as to how to get people to stop at their booths and engage.
Chris provided some timely tips for getting people to stop and chat. He suggested that instead of exhibitors sitting or standing behind their booths they should stand out in front of their booths, in the traffic, saying hello to people as they walk by, calling their names (from the name tag) and asking, "why didn't you stop to say hello?" I love that!
The bottom line on Trade Show selling is this; When salespeople are successful in getting visitors stop, it's easy to get them engaged by asking what they do and instead of going into a sales pitch they should continue to ask questions to learn whether they have an issue your company can help with. If the visitor has an issue, your salespeople should simply get permission to call after the show.
Chris and I also discussed major account selling. Obviously, the number of contacts, length of the sales cycle, people who influence the decision, and the relationships are substantially different and more significant than selling to small and mid market accounts. One of Chris' points that I liked so much is the need to prove yourself first. This ties nicely into the question I posed in last week's article, Best Sales Strategy for Your Company. It supports the strategy of getting in with something small enough to get the opportunity to prove yourself first. He also talked about the importance of having patience.
I have always believed and taught that there is a fine line between too much and too little patience. In a major account specifically, your salespeople must be impatient enough to cut through the superficial points and get to the compelling reasons why the individuals in front of them would buy, yet patient enough for the opportunity to develop. They must be impatient enough to keep the opportunity moving forward, yet patient enough to allow people to do what has to be done in a big company to achieve buy-in and approval. They must be patient enough to wait for the opportunity to become closable, yet impatient enough to get the opportunity closed when it becomes closable.
My guest on this week's episode (Live Wednesdays at 12 Noon ET) is Sales Development Expert Rick Roberge. Do you have any questions you would like answered on the show? You can email them to me and we'll try to (we usually do) get to them.