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Networking Show and Tell Displays

Talk about your lead generating opportunities, a business exposition with 500 booths, 100,000 spectators. An offering like this does not come along every day. Registration is only $240. Very economical way to meet my target market. However, wait! What do I do to be successful? How do I maximize my time to meet the best-qualified prospects? What do I need to do to make an offer that gets me in their door now, turning those business cards into referrals? How do I turn those business cards into dollars?

First things first, is this the right venue for your business? Is this a business to consumer or a business to business exposition? Is your target market available to you at this business exposition? Will the people participating lead you to your target market? First, answer these questions before deciding to participate.

Once you have decided to participate, it is time to address the offer. The offer is a prize (something that ties into your product or service) that you advertise as part of your trade booth display. Normally you have a professional sign maker print a sign, which has three offers. We want to offer a gift that attracts your target market, has high value but costs you little, and connects the winner(s) to your business. If you are a flower shop, a prize of flowers is great. If you make baskets, then a gift basket is great. However, if you are an insurance agent, giving away a fruit basket only gives you one satisfied winner. You may collect 100 business cards in your fish bowl (placed in front of your offer sign at the display table), however planing your approach to the 99-non winners is most important. You want the people who enter your drawing to expect your telephone call. You want to start the permission selling process. (Rather than an unsolicited cold call, this now becomes a warm lead).

Getting back to the insurance agent, the agent needs to make an offer that connects to insurance. There should be a first prize that every qualified potential client wants to win. The second prize needs to be of good value, as does the third prize. Everyone must win the third prize. The first prize in the case of the insurance seller can be a one-year dental policy (low cost, everyone wants one, few have one). The second prize can be a six-month dental policy, with the third prize being an insurance seminar valued at $49. You can award the first prize at the event for further publicity or choose a winner after the event. (When choosing a winner away from the event, always consider whom the winner might be by evaluating their ability to get you in touch with other clients or power partners.) The last step would be to schedule a seminar that your prospective prospects attend. Be certain that the seminar provides value to your winners. This is an opportunity to present your product or service.

As part of the show, consider where to stand and what to wear. Do not sit. Stand in front of your booth. Invite people in with open-ended questions (Tell me about your insurance needs?). Qualify them as potential clients or referrals sources with closed-ended questions (Do you provide your own health insurance for you and your family?). Dress comfortably, especially the shoes (Dress should be comfortable but professional. Shoes of rubber sole with a good arch). Do not eat food at your booth. Invite people to enter your free drawing. Smile. Do not sit behind your display table. Have an advertising specialty company prepare a free give away like a pen or a pad with your pertinent information (name, company name, address, telephone number, email, etc.). The advertising specialty item should not take the place of the offer.

Finally when setting up your booth, get to the location early, especially if it is your first time. Most expositions have set times for set-up. Respect set-up times. Be courteous. Get to the location early but wait for your set-up time. Use your free time to network. Offer to help fellow vendors set-up. Choose tasteful handouts and brochures to have on your table. Be prepared for inclement weather, wind, poor lighting, etc. Bring stands to display your brochures. Have table clothes that attract people to your booth. Colors should coordinate with theme colors of exposition. If there is a theme, find away to have your booth compliment the theme, however take care that the theme does not over power your message.BACK SELLING.

You say you cannot afford a booth. Well how about back selling to vendors? Back Selling is the process of finding a potential client or someone who can lead you to other potential clients. A person uses this technique when unable to register for an event in a timely manner or cannot afford the booth costs to meet their target markets. Possibly, a booth vendor could use your product or service. The booth vendor may also lead you to others who could use what you sell.

Remember that these vendors have paid a fee to sell their products. Be courteous. Respect their space. When you spot a potential alliance, approach them when they are not busy. Never interrupt a vendor doing business. (This actually happened to me once. I will never forget it. I was doing business with a vendor. Another exposition visitor cut between us. This exposition visitor interrupted our conversation to initiate a conversation of her own.) Ask them if you can contact them after the show, possibly the following week. Briefly, explain that you would like to help them grow their business by knowing more about their business. Express your need for help and guidance to grow your business. Never miss lead. Be clear on your purpose for meeting. Let them know that you want to meet to for the mutual purpose to grow your respective businesses. Never tell them you want to meet to buy something from them unless you really want to buy.

Then follow-up. Set a time and place to meet. Buy lunch or coffee. Develop an open dialog about your business and how you might help this individual. Have your plan prepared for telling them how they can help you. If this is not a match, be clear on that as well. End the relationship quickly and politely.

Gerry Rose runs INTEGRITY Networking Solutions in Oceanside, CA. He works with realtors who want to attract the right prospects and their affinity partners who want to generate more referrals. More than 10,000 businesses have been presented the INTEGRITY Networking Solutions system in San Diego, Riverside, and Orange Counties.

Gerry’s stimulating presentation Unlimited Prospects, Unlimited Referrals is ideally suited for small business owners, home-based businesses, and independent professionals who want clearer direction and want to attract more prospects, develop dynamic systems, and strengthen their companies’ accountability. Gerry does one on one consulting, conducts a range of keynote speeches from thirty minutes to full-day education workshops.

His books, Unlimited Prospects, Unlimited Referrals, 101 Tips to Attract Prospects, 101 Tips to Generate Referrals and Unlimited Prospects, Unlimited Referrals, Giving Your Clients What They WANT, So You Get What You WANT are currently available. Unlimited Prospects, Unlimited Referrals, Using Your Time, Energy, and Creativity to Create Value, will be available in 2006.

Gerry has more than 20 years’ experience directing business owners how to grow their businesses. He is a networking dynamo. Those who know him will assure you that he does a great job of bringing people together’which is why he started Integrity.

Involved with networking organizations since 1984, Gerry is an Accomplished Toastmaster, a member of Toastmaster International, and has chaired numerous chambers of commerce and non-profit organizations.

Are you truly committed to attracting the right prospects and generate more referrals?  If so then contact INTEGRITY Networking Solutions for availability and information.  You can contact Gerry by mail at 1610 Quiet Hills Drive, Oceanside, CA 92056.  Direct dial (760) 439-4623; e-mail to gerry@integritysd.com.  For more information, go to www.integritysd.com

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