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The builder’s show is next week. If you are exhibiting at IBS, you are making a large financial investment.
Your exhibit is already designed so that can’t be changed, even though I see most exhibits have the wrong message if their goal is to draw traffic.
What You Can Do To Be More Successful
Know Your Objectives For The Show
- To gain new business either through new customers or by getting existing to buy more products or upgraded products from you.
- To increase the loyalty of existing customers and make it harder for a competitor to take them away.
- To learn more about your customers and their needs.
To Gain New Business
To gain more business, the most important rule is to make people feel important. With the way we communicate online, this may be the only time this person gets to meet your company face to face.
How you make them feel goes a long way towards increasing their preference for your company. It also increases their level of trust in you.
Most companies do a good job of making existing customers feel appreciated and important. They don’t do as good a job when they interact with a smaller or new customer. It is just as important to make these people feel more important than your competitors.
One very successful technique is to introduce them to the most senior executive in the booth. This makes them feel important and appreciated. Too many senior executives don’t see the value in being introduced to all customers large and small. This also gives the senior executive a better sense of what these customers really need. Senior executives get a distorted view when they only spend time in meetings with the largest customers.
Every senior executive should be assigned a shift in the booth.
Increase Loyalty of Existing Customers
Once again make them feel important, so do what I recommend above. New products and other changes from your company are the focus of existing customers. They already are familiar with your company and products.
Ask them how you are doing in meeting their needs. Are they having any problems with your company or products? Who are their three best suppliers and why? What would it take for you to be one of their best suppliers?
If they could have anything they want, what would they like you to develop or change? If they can’t think of anything, push them. My wife loves me, but if you asked her if there’s anything I can do better, she would have no trouble telling you:)
Even if you make no changes, you will now know a lot more. You will also make them feel important and appreciated in that you even asked.
Learn More About Your Customers
Unfortunately, many companies feel that market research is the responsibility of marketing. I find that they spend a lot of money, ask the wrong questions and end up with a report that doesn’t result in any changes.
I have found the best research comes from meeting customers face to face. If six builders tell you they don’t like your product, you don’t need to survey 1,000 builders. The results will be the same.
Anyone in the booth should be charged with learning more. What did they hear from builders? What do they think of your company and products? What do they wish could be different? What do they think of your new products? If they don’t plan to buy them, why?
At the end of the show, or even everyday so it is fresh in their minds, anyone who works the booth should be required to report what they learned from the customers.
I would also ask, How is their business? What is are their biggest concerns? What do they plan to change next year? I would then want to see how often I heard the same thing to identify any trends that can help you.
Ask And Educate Before You Sell
Every year I survey builders who come to IBS. Their number one complaint is how the people in a booth immediately start to sell them before they even know who they are or what they need. They want first to be asked who they are. Where are they from? What type and price range of homes do they build?
Then ask them how you can help them or why they stopped into your booth. They then want to have their questions answered or to learn something about your products.
After you have accomplished all of this, then you can start to sell.
They also don’t like to deal with people who don’t understand how a house is built or how the business of being a homebuilder works.
Builders tell me that these frustrations make them avoid stopping into booths unless they have a strong reason.
If you follow these recommendations, you will have a more successful IBS.
It’s also not too late to send customers and prospects an email or call them to encourage them to stop your booth.
One last thing, be sure to do what you say. Show attendees frequently tell me that the promised follow-up phone call or brochure to be mailed, never happens. Click here to see how this pisses off show attendees.
I would welcome the opportunity to stop by your booth and meet you. Contact me if you’d like me to stop by and say hello.