Planning an in-booth demonstration for your next trade show? Are you sure your team is ready to execute it properly? Equip them with these seven “p” words and enjoy the success they produce.
Each aspect of your exhibiting efforts requires careful planning and preparation (in-booth demonstrations are no exception). Prepare to execute your demonstrations despite the elements. They say that Murphy’s Law runs rampant at trade shows, but I say, prepare yourself and your team well enough (create a plan b, c, d, and e, then learn everything you can about your offerings… and the attendees who will be interested in them) so that when something goes awry, you don’t even notice it – in fact, it feels like it’s just part of the show.
After developing a demonstration and then continuing to prepare yourself so fully, you might forget how it felt to experience your demo for the first time, before everything was “perfect” (is there any chance your “perfect” is someone else’s “requiring clarification”?). Take your time in helping your visitors to understand the more complicated aspects of your offering; including any industry or company 101 required to continue. Everyone has to start somewhere – when your company makes the introduction, you also have the first opportunity to close the deal.
I always encourage booth staffers to feel confident when they are interacting with attendees as I know their visitors want them to succeed. I know this because, in paying to attend the event (and taking their time away from the office, etc), these attendees are saying that learning about the exhibitors’ offerings is a priority. However, the caveat is that attendees are only interested so much as an exhibitor’s offerings apply to their needs. Instead of saying, “if you’re looking for x,” stop and ask before continuing. Don’t speak in generalities; use what you know about your visitors to help them imagine themselves using your offerings in their day-to-day lives.
4. (Let them) Participate.
Trade show attendees have short attention spans (it’s not necessarily their fault either; most marketing people focus on creating booth spaces that draw the focus of attendees). Carry on for more than a few minutes and you will see the signs of distraction… To counter this, enlist the assistance of your visitor to press a button, hold a prop, or otherwise interact with your demonstration. Beyond remaining engaged in the moment, after participating in the demonstration, your visitors will be more likely to remember their experience once even after they have left your booth.
5. (Transition when they ask about) Pricing.
In-booth demonstrations should be customized according to each attendee’s unique needs (see number 3 above). Taking this statement a step further, remember that it is your job, as the “host” of your booth space, to lead discussions that focus on the attendees. If and when an attendee exhibits “buying signs” (like asking about “pricing”), it’s important to recognize that they have heard enough to consider a purchase. At this point, you must transition your demonstration to a fact finding mission, in which you seek to understand your visitor’s situation even further to recognize whether or not you’d like to provide a quote. Talking over your attendee’s request for more specific next steps only offers an opportunity to mention something they are less interested in (and, when attendees can only remember so much about your company, would you prefer they remember what THEY thought was important or what YOU did?).
I had a social studies teacher in high school who would literally punctuate our lessons. Instead of the expected monotone lectures that were easy to sleep through or complete other assignments during, this teacher adjusted his volume, ended keywords with written exclamation mark(s), and changed the size of his handwriting to emphasize the importance of certain points. I learned more in this class than others and enjoyed it thoroughly because his effort made it seem like he cared, not just about the lesson, but about helping me understand why and how much I should care. His enthusiasm was contagious (just as yours will be when your attendees observe how valuable you genuinely feel your offerings will be to them).
The final “p” word is prospect because at the end of the day, your exhibiting success comes back to your return on investment. Most exhibitors are not participating in these types of events strictly as a service to the industry; they are offering demonstrations, at the least, to increase awareness, and, more often, to progress the sales process. So, it is important not to lose sight of why you are doing these demonstrations. Don’t let your prospect walk away from your in-booth demo without asking for his contact information, recommending next steps, and taking notes for your sales team to follow up. In-booth demonstrations are a great opportunity to generate quality leads but, if you don’t ask for the order (or contact information or future meeting), you’re significantly less likely to receive it.
When other companies are planning for their in-booth demonstrations as if they were just any other presentation or meeting, you will have a head start because your in-booth demonstrations will follow a procedure (including the steps above) that is perfectly suited for exhibiting success.