Going to an event?
If you’ve ever paid to attend an event in the hope of generating new clients, it’s a horrible feeling if you find yourself, a month later, asking ‘what happened to all the leads we got from that event?’. Either it’s ‘What leads?’ or ‘oh, nothing really came of it’.
Here are some tips to make sure you don’t tank:
- Make sure you have the right stand, the right people on the stand, and that everybody is very well prepared.
- Brief (i.e. train) everybody who will man your stand on how to handle conversations and remember they are there to SELL so make sure they are comfortable doing it.
- Have a clear system for capturing and following up the leads you get when you’re there and make sure everybody understands it. Put someone in charge of the system and of ensuring the follow ups happen. Make sure you differentiate between prospects and people who are not in the market for your services (e.g. students, competitors, etc) – and don’t waste time following them up.
- Train people on how to have the conversations good questioning, building rapport, key selling points and closing. Do some role plays (make it fun) so that people are comfortable and confident.
- Get business cards – this is crucial, and make sure you get direct numbers and mobile numbers. I can’t stress enough how important mobile numbers are – it’s not a lead if you never manage to speak to them again.
- Get the delegate list before the event and do a marketing campaign to people both before and after the event. Or go one better and call the key prospects who will attend and try and arrange a meeting at the event – you are there and they will be in an open frame of mind so it’s a good time to make new contacts.
- Get creative to be noticed and memorable. At the event, your stand’s success depends on how many people you get over the threshold, so do something to get people to come to your stand. Look at the order of play for the whole event and try to spot opportunities. Think laterally with your gifts/giveaways. Branded pens will end up at the bottom of a bag. Unusual creepy crawly sweets, whilst having nothing to do with your product, will get every parent in the room to your stand.
- When people come to the stand, find out quickly whether or not they’re a potential customer. Focus on the ones that are and make sure you get their commitment to a follow up conversation – if possible agree a date and time (be doubly sure to get their mobile number).
- Don’t dwell – don’t speak to the same person for too long (unless it’s quiet). It’s OK to politely say ‘I’m sure you have lots of other stands to visit, I had better let you go’.
- Work the room – feel free to go ‘off reservation’ – people chat when they’re having a cigarette, or getting something to eat and drink – everybody is there to make connections so go and talk to people.
- Make the calls – chase down every worthwhile lead, within 2 weeks after the event.
The last tip is to have fun – events should be enjoyable, social, stimulating occasions. If you’re bored on the stand, it’s not going to do much for the people stopping by. Have a bit of fun and entertain people – you’ll enjoy it more and you’ll probably find it draws more people in too…