Having just returned from the Sign and graphics show at the NEC, I am just amazed at the number of company salespeople or client managers that just get it plain wrong! Within seconds they have bored the pants off you and have no idea what I am there for.
The problem: a salesperson sees a potentially new and even worse an existing client, greets you and immediately launches into selling all and everything they have in their encampment. Chances are I am at best only interested in one item to fit my needs even if I have one. Within seconds you and the company have lost a good client.
A good example and probably the worst are software salespeople. Even if they have been trained to find out your needs they can’t help but tell you all about every whistle and bell and me for one have no interest in whistles or bells but generally am too polite to cut them dead which is what they deserve.
Sales directors and managers need to understand the basic principle that a salesperson is only of use to a company if he or she is engaging with a qualified client who has a need to buy and can afford it. To get to this stage a whole lot of work needs to be done up front, like prospecting including; direct mail, online advertising, telephone sales etc. All this, which is necessary, is a huge cost to the company to get in front of someone with a need. It is all then totally blown because either they have not been trained and mentored or have forgotten a few simple rules.
I will only concentrate on exhibition rules as visiting someone’s office needs another set.
Rule 1. Starts as soon as a potential client approaches – Make eye contact and immediately smile, but don’t shake hands unless the client offers theirs. This is based on our subconscious being always wary of being attacked. A smile means friendly, poking your hand out before theirs is a threat and will trigger even if subconsciously our flight mechanism.
If you know the person greet them and if you know them you should know a bit, no a lot about them and have it written down. Ask how is their partner, kids, how did holiday go. Once they have answered ask another. Why because generally, especially if male, salespeople are competitive and the natural response is to top the client answer with one of their own, or I’ve done that as well here is a diatribe on how I did it. No one bar none is at all interested in your experience, all they are interested is in themselves and love to talk about that – use that to your advantage, resist the urge to respond. This may sound very selfish but it’s true. If you do this already you have an affinity with them. Ready to implement the next rule coming next week! As Patrick Flynn a well-known sales trainer used to say “Try it – it only works”!
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