Listening Versus Talking on the Trade Show Floor

Anita Mitzel PresidentRecently, GraphiColor President Anita Mitzel spoke at an Automation Alley training session. She spoke about a variety of trade show training topics, and we’ll be covering some of those in future blog posts, but  today we’re going to discuss listening versus talking on the show floor.

When was the last time you walked through a trade show? For some of us, it’s been awhile. Anita recounts a story of one time when she was walking through, and met up with an exhibitor. Before she had the chance to express interest, or disinterest, in his product, he was already talking her up, telling her all of the benefits of his product. He was ready to close that sale before he even knew a single fact about Anita or what she was looking for.

The above example is not a good method for qualifying leads. This is casting a wide net and hoping that at least something that you bring in is quality. With the high percentage of qualified leads that can come from trade shows, the trade show floor is the one place where you shouldn’t be casting a wide net, but zeroing in on your ideal customers and their needs that you can directly satisfy.

We’ve spent a lot of time over the last few months discussing talking. We’ve brought up how to train new hires, how to encourage millennials to engage with your company’s mission, and how to improve your social media marketing. Today, it’s all about the fine art of listening.

tips for using ipad at a trade showIt’s something that most of us don’t do nearly often enough. As Anita says, “we love to talk about what we do”. In many cases, that’s a good thing; it means we’re passionate about our business, and if we’re not passionate about it, then no one else will be.

On the other hand, if we’re not listening, then we’re missing out on the valuable opportunity to find out exactly what it is that this person needs-and whether or not we are the company to meet their needs. If you are so focused on delivering your pitch that you haven’t stopped to see if your product is even needed, you may have wasted your time completely, and certainly have wasted the booth visitor’s.

You know that not everyone who walks past your booth needs what you have to offer. Truthfully, not everyone who walks into your booth needs what you have to offer. Maybe they’re roaming in search of tchotchkes or looking for a free bottle of water. Maybe they were drawn in by your graphics but they don’t have the buying power. Two minutes of listening could save you ten minutes of time, during which the perfect prospect could have walked past, because you were committed to delivering your pitch to someone who just wasn’t interested.

So ask questions that qualify the lead before diving into any pitches. Take that time to listen. It’s more important than you realize. In fact, as Anita says, “the less time you spend, per person, on the trade show floor, the more leads you’ll end up with. Less talking, more listening.”

To see more of Anita’s thoughts, you can see her latest video here.

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