1. Involve sales management
Right from the beginning sales management needs to be involved in what actually they feel constitutes the “best” trade show lead. So set the stage and arrange a meeting to discuss this crucial aspect of your exhibiting. Unfortunately, too many sales managers assume their team know what information to collect. As we know, ass-u-me (making an “ass of u and me”) is a very dangerous word!
2. Define the “ultimate” sales lead
Clarifying what exactly constitutes a best sales lead possible takes time and forethought. It should be much more than the usual basic information. Since there may be several opinions as to what is the most crucial information, I suggest you brainstorm all possible information your sales reps need to make a final sale (this will probably differ for different products/services you sell). Then prioritize your ideas and take the top ten.
3. Create the script
The script is not necessarily a word for word text, rather a list of powerful questions that your team need to ask, so they gather the best possible information they need from the prospect. Once again, this takes time to create the right approach.
In my trade show training workshops, I recommend the sales team develops a questioning “toolbox,” which contains many different types of questions depending on what type of information they need. Since the object is to conduct a meaningful conversation with their visitor, they probably won’t be using the same questions over and over again. Rather, when they need a “spanner” question, they pull that one out of their toolbox. They won’t want to use a “hammer” question when they need a “spanner.” For example, they wouldn’t ask, “What budgetary constraints are you currently experiencing?” when they should be asking, “What are your top buying criteria for “x” product?”
4. Get buy-in
Once you’ve defined the ultimate lead, and written a script, the next step is to get the input and complete buy-in from the sales team. Don’t just tell them what to do, rather have them make their suggestions for improvement, and what they feel comfortable with. In the end, sales people want great leads to follow up, which then generates the ultimate goal – to make sales to increase the bottom-line.
For that to successfully take place, everyone has to be on board – motivated to help make the end result happen.
Susan Friedmann, CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, internationally recognized exhibit marketing expert working with companies to increase their profitability at trade shows. Author: “Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market,” “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Target Marketing,” “Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies” and many other titles. For more great information on trade show marketing strategies that work, and for a complimentary copy of “Exhibiting Success,” visit http://www.thetradeshowcoach.com. Click to download the “Riches in Niches” app.