It’s that time of year again where, depending on whether you like Christmas or not, it’s either your favourite time of year or the most stressful.
I love Christmas and even though our office becomes very busy over the Christmas period, with people who’ve panicked because they haven’t done their tax return yet and would like it done before Christmas. I always feel jolly around this festive period.
In last month’s newsletter I talked about getting out of your comfort zone and one of the things I mentioned we had done to achieve this was start going to exhibitions. I’d done exhibitions in the past and thought they didn’t work. This was before I’d done all my learning in marketing. The reality was the exhibiting does work – I just wasn’t doing it right. At the exhibitions I’ve attended recently, while ours was one of the busiest stands there (and I’m an accountant remember!!), I saw a lot of people still doing it wrong. So I thought I would share the 7 mysteries to making exhibiting work for you:
- Don’t send employees!! We saw hotels that had sent receptionists for the day. They sat behind their stall and played with their mobile phones all day and then wondered why no-one came to speak to them. Plus these girls from the hotels didn’t care if they got any leads – they were getting paid regardless and I know that the hotel, if they look at their costing and returns will be thinking that exhibitions don’t work. We got so many more enquires due to the fact that I, the business owner, cared enough to come out from behind our stand to speak to people.
- Grab their attention. And I don’t just mean with a box of chocolates dumped in the middle of your stand for passers-by to nibble on. This isn’t going to attract prospective leads to come and talk to you. We ran a ‘kindle up for grabs’ competition, with forms for prospective leads to fill in so we could grab their attention, which leads to my next secret:
- Ask Questions. While people were filling out their details we asked them what they did, where they were based etc. We ascertained whether they would be in need of our services. Once I knew something about the person I then tailored my “pitch” to be useful to them. We got a lot of leads this way from people who originally were just walking straight past.
- Be proactive. Don’t wait for people to come to you. Most people stood behind their stands waiting for people to come to them. We were in front of ours with clips boards and ask everyone that came past “Would you like to go in a draw to win a Kindle” we got a few no’s but the majority of people said yes. At one event last month we had 256 forms filled out 194 people said they were happy to go on our mailing list, we got 21 warm leads and have turned 5 of those leads into clients. If I had stayed behind my stand do you think that I would have had the same return?
- Know your limits. One of the exhibitions that we went to there were 1600 people registered to go to the event. As we had only been able to get 159 forms filled out when only two of us went to an exhibition I thought that we couldn’t do 1600 on our own. With 3 of us at the event we still only managed to get 256. I learnt from this that there are limitations to how many people you can speak to each day regardless of attendance figures and if you are qualifying them as you speak then you get to know how many people you can reach … if you want to reach more then take more people with you.
- Give them something of value to take away. As our exhibitions were near the end of the year we had planners made up, these weren’t just ordinary planners they had info graphics in them to help small businesses. Now I know not all my planners are going to end up on office walls next year but they are much less likely to go in the bin than a brochure telling them what your company does. You have to think ‘out of the box’ slightly (although I’d like the thank Paul Cox of SpinLessPlates for planner idea – I can’t take all the credit).
- Follow Up. I had two mailchimp campaigns already written with an offer on, to send out the next day – both letting people know who had won the kindle (with a testimonial from the winner saying how pleased they were).
One for those who asked for us not to contact them explaining that this was the only email they were going to get and leaving my social media details at the bottom and a few paragraphs about what we do. The other, to those who said we could make contact, included an offer on a mini auto responder campaign set up over 2 weeks. This last nugget is definitely what clinched those 5 new clients for us.
So if you’re thinking you would like to try an exhibition but people have told you they don’t work then I’m here to say – they do if you do them correctly, you just have to make yourself interesting.
Hope you all have a fantastic festive period.
To see the newsletter please click here