I can’t tell you how many times I have been on the trade show floor, migrating from booth to booth, searching for the one company that will really pull at my heart strings. The one that will stop gabbing for even one minute to figure out why I actually stopped by their booth. The one that understands that each prospective customer wants to be talked with, not at.
But it seems that so many exhibitors are all the same. Making a beeline for each and every booth visitor so they can give their 15-minute pitch, barely pausing to take a breath to see if they have lost totally lost the prospective customer. And, I can’t say that I entirely blame them.
Whether you are at a trade show, a marketing convention, a career fair, a baseball game—you name it—you are in a unique position to tell your company’s story, especially when you are at an event that warrants it. So now the question you need to ask is: are you are doing justice to your company’s story? Or, are you so consumed with rattling off your sales and marketing deck that you lose the prospect in the process.
Next time, consider the following before opening your mouth:
- Determine why the prospect is coming up to you: Even if your prospects are on the exhibit floor, which by design encourages you to tell your company story, take a quick second to ask why they are visiting your booth before opening your mouth. Find out what company they are with, their level of interest in your company and why they are stopping by to chat with you. By finding out this information ahead of time, you can better decide what “slide” of your sales deck to start with.
- Understand the unique needs of your prospect: Perhaps your existing client is looking for information about your latest product release; maybe a prospective customer wants to know why you are the better alternative to the competition; or maybe your current customer wants to complain about your customer service department. During each interaction with a key company stakeholder, take a few minutes to come to terms with the unique needs, pain points and interests of your audience.
- Show that you listened: Instead of getting right into your rebuttal, explanation or sales pitch, show that you listened to your prospect by repeating back what he or she just said. Demonstrate that what they said resonated with you and make sure your response reflects that.
You might have a captive audience from time to time—especially when you are presenting a keynote, leading a massive conference or spearheading a video conferencing session—but that doesn’t mean that you are given free rein to pontificate. Conversely, empower your audience by getting to know them, listening, and tailoring your approach to telling your company story to their best interests.