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How to Select a Professional Speaker for Your Next Conference, Convention or Sales Meeting

Selecting the right presenters can make or break your event.

The good ones see themselves as part of the larger team, and will share their wealth of experience to insure your overall success. The bad ones see themselves as the star-of-the-show, with little consideration for the needs of other (often non-professional) speakers on the program. Use these 10 guidelines to screen the mountain of material that your speakers or their bureaus will send you.

Content

A professional speaker should engage, educate, motivate, and entertain, and in that order of priority. Unless this event changes your peoples’ behavior in some measurable way, you’re wasting their time and your money. New skills, new information, and new insights produce new customers, new sales, and increased profits.

Authority

Wouldn’t you rather take advice from a published expert, who has invested the time and effort to thoroughly research their field and write a book, or two, or three? Ask for autographed copies. And beware of vanity press imprints. If a major New York house published their books, you know they’re the real deal.

Originality

Beginners often pirate others’ examples and content, sometimes even telling a story as if it had actually happened to them. I recently heard a meeting planner complain, “If I hear one more cliché out of this guy I will scream.” If you’ve heard it before, so have your people.

Delivery

Are you looking for an academic expert (who may put your people to sleep) or a stand-up comic (whose act could play a nightclub)? Don’t settle. Look for a pro who can engage AND entertain, delivering powerful content with passion and pizzazz. After all, you want your people to remember the point, not just the punch line.

Customization

If a speaker is going to presume to tell you how to run your business better, they better understand your business. Select a speaker who will take a personal interest in your industry, your company, and your people. Will they visit your office, review your collateral material, shop your competition, or spend a day riding with your salespeople? Will they fly in early to attend the whole conference? An outsider’s insight may prove priceless. A real pro is a quick study, and will customize until they sound like they’re from home office.

Certification

There are two conferred by the National Speakers Association: the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) and the Council of Peers Award of Excellence (CPAE). The CPAE is an honorary designation, a lifetime achievement award, while the CSP requires a minimum of 250 presentations over a five-year period, for at least 100 different clients, at a substantial minimum fee, and must be renewed every five years. The CSP is your assurance of the highest standards of professionalism and excellence. An elite group of veterans hold both.

Technical Mastery

The days when a speaker could stand behind a podium and just read from notes are long gone. Top pros supercharge their speeches with multiple multi-media: computer animation, upbeat music, sound effects and video. And they bring their own computers, projectors and microphones. (BTW, this can save you a bundle!) After all, when take your car to a mechanic, don’t you expect them to use their own tools?

Access

Does a live person answer the phone when you call? Successful speakers travel constantly, but are always accessible through their staff. They use cell phones, voice-mail and e-mail to keep in touch. The real pros check both at least twice a day, and respond promptly, personally.

Video

They did include a video didn’t they? The pros all have at least one; or two, or more. Ask for the what-you-see-is-what-you-get version, shot live, unedited (except perhaps for opening trailers). And while the WYSIWYG take may be technically flawed, anyone can look good in front of a studio full of friends.

Audition

Are they coming to your area? The pros get around, and will gladly arrange for you to sit in. If that’s not an option, interview them by phone. Think of it as a live one-on-one audition. Ask them to advise you on a particular challenge or business issue, then ask yourself, “Does this sound like the kind of advice we want our people to hear?”

References

You should never have to ask for them. A professional will automatically include them in the press kit, along with a client list and multiple testimonials. Read the letters. Look at the dates; are they current? Check references on their LinkedIn profile as well. Then call at least two.

Deliverables

What will your people take away to help them recall and implement what they’ve heard? Can your speaker provide a textbook, a workbook, a cassette or two, an action list, a checklist, a laminated wallet card, or a free web e-zine. Some of these “extras” should be included in the fee. Can they post their handouts and PowerPoint slides on a web site for download? Ask. These minor extras add major impact and multiply the take-home value of the message.

Fees

Worry less on what the speaker will charge; worry more on what your people will get. Does the fee include pre-event consultation, research, customization, travel time, travel expenses, handouts, workbooks, AV equipment, pens, markers or other supplies? A bad program is no bargain. If you’re investing half a million dollars to host a conference, you can’t afford a dud.

On the other hand, most pros will leverage their preparation by doing multiple programs. Stretch your speaker budget by asking for combined fees for a keynote, plus multiple breakout sessions, VIP receptions, panel discussions, etc.

Guerrilla Trade Show Selling

Don’t Get Caught Suitcasing

Paul Wesseling, owner of Aktivia BV, www.co2-meter.com, asked this question of the Guerrilla Marketing Tips for Small Business discussion group on LinkedIn:

“Does anyone have out-of-the-box suggestions to present a product on a child nursery trade fair without being one of the official participants or stand holders? The product regards indoor air quality. Was thinking of joining a participant in their stand, but am trying to be more creative “

OK, let’s get REALLY guerrilla

Call around to the editors of several child- or family-oriented magazines, and introduce yourself as a free-lance writer. Ask if you can submit a “roundup” article, “on-spec” (which means that you don’t expect to get paid for it, and they only publish it if it’s good) reviewing this particular show. Any editor in his right mind will say, “Sure. Knock yourself out.”

As soon as you have a “yes,” from an editor, contact the show management to obtain a PRESS badge. Explain that you are “covering the trade show for ________ magazine.” There may be a nominal fee, but it will be far LESS than an exhibitor badge or booth space. Most trade shows actually WELCOME the press. As a bonus, a PRESS badge will usually get you into all the general sessions, seminars, receptions and parties as well.

The only sales collateral you’ll need are some simple, elegant business cards that list JUST your name, phone and e-mail. You won’t need a lot of them, but they should be of the very highest quality. The sort of card you’d expect to get from an attorney.

Then, arrive at the show dressed in your most professional business attire, carrying a small MP3 recorder and a black leather legal-pad folio. Look for exhibitors who could potentially be a good match to carry your product, then DON’T SELL IT TO THEM. In fact, don’t mention it at all. Not to anyone.

Instead, go out on the floor early and late when traffic is slow, and approach each targeted exhibitor. Ask if you can interview them for your article. People who wouldn’t give you the time of day as a salesperson will GLADLY give you an hour as a journalist. Make appointments with the top officers if possible, but stay out of their way when the show floor is busy. You don’t want to take them away from their true mission.

Start the interview with general questions, “Your name? Your title? How did you get into this business? Tell me about your product lines? What sort of customers do you sell to? What does your distribution channel look like. Which are your most successful products? What TRENDS do you see affecting your business in the future?” Your questions, of course, are going to indirectly QUALIFY or DIS-qualify them as a prospective customer for your product.

Now, NOBODY can accuse you of “suitcasing” (the less-than-polite term for reverse selling on a trade show floor that would get you thrown out on the street). But you WILL be able to identify several PRIME prospects. Your mission is to collect high-quality leads and build high-level relationships. You will get more information on ninja trader, which is consistently voted an industry leader by the trading community.

IMMEDIATELY after the show, send them a THANK YOU note. And within 48 hours of THAT, follow up with a sales call. “You know, based on what you told me during our conversation at the show, you may have an interest in my _________ product.”

Finally, write the article, summarizing trends that you saw at the show, and submit it for publication. You MUST follow through on this step to maintain your personal integrity. If the publication actually PRINTS your piece, that’s icing on the cake. Send a copy to every vendor you interviewed.

For many, many more no-cost ideas for effective selling at trade shows, read Guerrilla Trade Show Selling (he says, inserting a shameless plug for his book).


Hyper Customization and Guerilla Marketing

Grand Hyatt Launches New Weapon in the Amenity Arms Race

Rapid Repair, a little company In Kalamazoo, Michigan, will install a 240 GB hard drive upgrade in your iPod. I can’t make this stuff up, folks. For about the price of a NEW iPod, you can expand your old iPod to 240 GIGS! For cryin’ out loud, the IBM laptop I’m using here only has 40 gigs. Two-Hundred-Forty GIGABYTES is enough disk space for 20 hours of MP3 video or 60,000 songs! What on EARTH would anyone DO with THAT much content? Whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want. That’s what.

In advance of Team Summit, I was doing Guerrilla sales training for DISH Network’s National Sales Meeting at the Grand Hyatt. A video billboard just outside the ballroom promoted the hotel’s newest room amenity. They have replaced the typical (and SO last millennium) bedside clock radio with a HI-FI iPod docking station. (And I’m old enough to remember when having a coffeemaker in the room was a big deal!) What do you do with a HI-FI iPod docking station? Well, you listen to your 60,000 songs. That’s what.

So now, you can take exactly the music you want, listen to it whenever you want, wherever you want And when you’re a guest at the Denver Grand Hyatt, you can play it right in your suite, and even wake up in the morning to your favorite (is this beginning to sound a lot like SLING?). No more annoying all-country stations to sift through. No more of those poor people at NPR of nagging you to donate a car. Hyatt has found yet another weapon to deploy in the room-amenities arms race.

Alvin Toffler predicted this kind of made-my-way-on-demand economy way back in 1970. Today’s consumers have more choices than ever, and they still demand more and more options. Ragu now offers 36 flavors of spaghetti sauce in 6 varieties. (Watch Malcom Gladwell’s short video on TED about this phenomenon!)

What this means is that guerrillas can create a competitive advantage by offering their customers hyper-customized versions of their product or service. These same customers will pay more, and they are more loyal.

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10 Lessons for Guerrilla Selling at Events

Boulder CreekFest Vendors Waste a Golden Opportunity, with One Notable Exception

In Boulder, Colorado, my home town, Memorial Day Weekend means the Boulder Creek Festival. And Creekfest is your typical small-town spring fair, with two exceptions: the Boulder Creek Rubber Duck Race (a $5 donation buys a numbered rubber duckie to float from one end of downtown to the other), and the Bolder Boulder (a major foot race that draws a few serious competitive runners and 20,000 costumed crazies).

Creekfest draws some 350,000 visitors so it’s a guerrilla marketer’s dream. It has all the trappings you’d expect: dozens of food stalls, two beer gardens, carnival rides, inflatable bouncers, bungee-enhanced super-trampolines, five stages of live music and block-after-block of EZ-up tents selling art, jewelry, hemp clothing, solar collectors, bottled yogurt, soy milk, artificial turf, New Zealand hats, wheat-filled neck warmers, hand-made musical frogs and 1,000-thread-count-Egyptian-cotton sheets (actually 100% microfiber Made in China).

Also represented were The Libertarian Party (who were having some sort of political shouting match) Boulder County Parks and Open Space (featuring a stuffed coyote you couldn’t touch), a chiropractor (offering “Free Gentle Adjustment”), a yoga studio and a Judo school (who weren’t offering anything).

If I had been the guerrilla marketing police I would have written a whole book of tickets. While THRONGS of people strolled slowly by, most exhibitors just SAT there under their tent, with DOZENS of pieces of literature spread out on the TABLE set BETWEEN themselves and the traffic, and talking to EACH OTHER. These would-be vendors had paid $550 and up for a ten-foot tent space just so that they could waste a perfectly good Memorial Day weekend WISHING they had more business!

We did see a couple of exceptions. The guy at the Boulder Brewery beer kiosk made eye contact and simply asked, “What’s your favorite?” Never mind that a 12 oz. plastic cup was $5.00. He just ASSUMED that because I was standing in front of his stall, I MUST be thirsty. (I recommend their “Dazed and Infused” IPA.)

Remember at Team summit, I said “Have something for the kids to do.”

What stopped me in my tracks was the sound of a four-year-old boy wailing away on a snare drum and hi-hat, accompanied by a ten-year-old blond Hanna Montana wanna-be on electric guitar, and a teen age boy with greasy black hair playing electric bass. You could hear them a block away. Three adults in matching black rock-concert-roadie T-shirts were standing by, cheering them on. The banner overhead said, “Free Lessons.”

This I had to watch. Within seconds, a young woman in her early 20’s wearing black jeans and a matching black T-shirt approached and asked, “Are you a musician?”

“No,” I said, offering my stock answer. “I’m a drummer.”

She laughed, smiled ear-to-ear and said, “I’m a drummer TOO! But I’ve only been playing for about two weeks.” She offered her business card and asked what sort of music I liked to play.

“Actually, I play in a working Brazilian Jazz band.”

“OH, a professional! Well, then, you’ll have to stop by our rehearsal studio in Lafayette. It’s a nice, comfortable place to practice, and it’s already equipped with drums, amps and keyboards.”

I was impressed. Three hours of wondering through block after block of booths and she was the only vendor (besides the beer guy) who had engaged me. Not only that; she had greeted, qualified, and asked for the order in less than a minute.

Her card said, “Dog House Music” and her name was Lindsay Polak, Marketing/Communications Manager. When I asked what they were doing at CreekFest, she explained that they were promoting their Summer Rock & Roll Camp for Teens AND their Fantasy Rock & Roll Camp for Adults. An 8½ x 11 stand-up on the table said, in plain black letters on white paper, “Enroll Today Save $50.” She handed me two single-page fliers and a sticker.

“This is really COOL, what you’re doing here, but I already have a rehearsal studio.”

“Well, perhaps you’d consider being an instructor?” she said. “We’re always looking for good people.” I just about fainted!

S0 what can a Guerrilla Retailer learn from a 20 year old drummer about Event Marketing?

1. You’ve invested a lot to be there; make it pay

2. Remove all barriers between you and your traffic

3. Use simple signs and banners to make your offer clear

4. Put all your people in some sort of uniform so we know who to approach

5. Invite visitors (and especially kids) to participate in a simple, low-cost, fun activity

6. Limit your promotion to two or three offerings you can explain in seconds

7. Proactively engage the adults (they’re the tall ones with the credit cards)

8. Start a conversation and ask qualifying questions

9. Ask for the order

10. Don’t let anyone leave empty-handed

The music wasn’t ready for the main stage, but everyone at this tent was having a ball, ESPECIALLY the instructors. Lindsay and her colleagues are definitely rock stars of guerrilla retailing. Check out their web site. www.doghousemusic.com.


Guerrilla Book Titles that Drive Sales

What Makes a Great Book Title

With 47 titles in the Guerrilla Marketing series, in 60 languages, and more than 20 million books sold worldwide, we’ve learned a few things about how to name books.

Publishers love a series. So do readers. String your titles together around a moniker, “Guerrilla Selling,” “Guerrilla Negotiating”, “Guerrilla Retailing.”

Try to shorten your title to two words. Two Words. “Emotional Intelligence.” Three if you count the article (“Made to Stick,” “Good to Great”).

Keep the sub-title 7 words or less, and make it stand on it’s own as an elevator pitch.

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License Your Guerilla Video to Your Client

How do I protect my copyrights if the client publishes my video?

Continuing my discussion with fellow professional speaker Suzannah Baum, she shared some concern about how to approach the client after they have already videotaped her presentation.

As a Guerrilla Selling Speaker, I often have clients video my keynote for internal publication. Guerrillas believe in the power of Investment, so they invest first in their customers and clients. Explain that your copyright attorney had advised you that you need to write a letter specifically granting permission to use the video, because it may otherwise infringe on unforeseen future uses of the material in books, magazines, pay-per-view, etc.

Prepare the letter on your stationary, using the language, “[Your Company] hereby grants limited, non-transferable License and permission for [Client] to publish the [length] minute video, [“Title of Your Training”] recorded on [performance date] at [location], hereinafter referred to as “the video.” [Client] may publish an edited version of the video, subject to approval of the author, on their company website at [http://www.clientswebsite.com] for viewing by employees of [Client] and the general public, for a period of [one year should suffice, but not more than three]. Commercial use and mechanical distribution are specifically excluded.

“[Client] agrees to indemnify [you] from any action which may arise as a consequence of this publication. [You] reciprocally indemnify [Client] and affirm that [your company] posses all rights to the video content, and have the authority to grant such license.

“In consideration of this license, [Client] agrees to surrender to the author all original master video tapes of the video, together with a DV or QuickTime version of the finished product on DVD within 30 days of completion of their edits. All Other Rights Reserved.”

Sign and date two copies, and have them countersign, date and return a copy of the letter. That should do it.

Then point to it from your website, your one-sheet, your bio, your eSpeakers listing, your bureau listings, etc. Here’s the guerilla twist: why go to all the bother of hosting a long demo video on your own servers when they will do it for you?

–OrvelRay

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Orval Ray Wilson, Orvil Ray Wilson, Orville Ray Wilson – What’s in a Name?

Get Your Customer’s Name Right – Or Else!

I can’t BELIEVE how CREATIVE people get with my name! Orval, Orvil, Orvalle, Orville, Orvaille! It drives me NUTS! Officially, it’s a two-part first name: Orvel Ray. Like Billy Joe or Mary Ann. Hyphenate it if you wish: Orvel-ray. Or camel caps: OrvelRay. Most of my friends shorten it to just Orvel. Or even O.R.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not all THAT upset about it. But if you’re trying to be found on the internet, you have to be aware that people will butcher your name.

Guerrillas also know that when it comes to selling customers, they better get it right. Spell it correctly and pronounce it correctly. When in doubt, ask.

And if they have a suffix after their name, include it. I recently had an article published in a business magazine in Dubai, and they dropped the CSP from my by-line. The “Certified Speaking Professional” is the highest level of certification recognized worldwide by the speaking industry, and it was a lot of work to earn it. As trilled as I always am to see my name in print, this was a big disappointment.

Dale Carnegie said, “A man’s own name, to him, is the sweetest sounding word in any language.” Get it right.

–Orvel Ray Wilson, CSP

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“Bribes” for Referrals?

Is it ethical to give a cash/gift or commission for referrals?

Fellow guerrilla Vince Golder posted a question on the Guerrilla Marketing Tips for Small Business forum on LinkedIn, asking:

“I’ve had a couple of debates over the years with people who were quite firm in their belief that any form of cash/gift commission given in return for a successful referral was a bribe!! I would rather pay one of my own clients or contacts a just reward for promoting my business, than an expensive agency or media company.” What do you think?

Let me start by saying that cash, gifts and commissions are three very different things. Each may be appropriate or not, depending on the circumstances. Guerrillas ALWAYS look for appropriate ways to REWARD customers for their business.

As I’ve said before in this forum, the best way to get referrals is to ASK for them. (See my recent blog on the topic, March 4, 2009, below) And only reward referrals if you want to KEEP getting them.

No, it is not a bribe. And no, it is not enough to simply express your appreciation.

A nice Thank You card is a good start, but don’t be tempted to send it by e-mail. Personally, I use Hallmark, because I care enough to ____________________ .

Cash is awkward, so enclose a gift card instead. Coffee at Starbucks, free fries at McDonald’s. Better still, relate to their interests: something from Amazon or Borders for bookworms, or office supplies from Staples to reward the whole office.

If the referral is unsolicited, keep the amount something under $100. For bigger referrals, consider bigger rewards: a bottle (or case) of nice wine, a magazine subscription, dinner for two somewhere special, or the fruit-of-the-month club from Harry & David. You can always take them out, for coffee, for lunch, for a round of golf. We’ve given clients pairs of plane tickets. We once took a dozen people from United Airlines to a Rockies game.

There are two guerrilla gifts you can give to people who can’t accept gifts: flowers and food. For women, send a simple bouquet with a business card, delivered to their office by FTD. A variation is to send a large bouquet (something everyone can enjoy) to the Reception desk, with a “Thanks Everyone” note. And if you send flowers on a holiday, like Easter or Halloween, all the better. If you customer is a man, send roses. Red ones. You send me a dozen red roses with a “Thank You” note, and my wife is going to love me, and I’m going to REMEMBER you.

Food works if you send enough to share. Send Domino’s, KFC, or a monster Subway at lunchtime. Or a big birthday cake decorated with your logo and a big “Thank You” in icing across the top.

A professional speaker routinely pays bureaus 25% commission, but the agent who recommended you sees only a fraction of those funds. So I send the rep a very large box of Godiva chocolates. (Wasn’t it Will Rogers who said, “I never met a chocolate I didn’t like.”)

In another example, Wendy Kruger, with Speakers Platform in San Francisco, booked me for a string of several seminars. I knew that she was a fan of Cirque du Soleil, and a bit of browsing revealed that there was an engagement running in San Jose. So I used the Internet to book a pair of VIP back-stage tickets in her name at Will-Call. She took her boyfriend out for a surprise date, and nobody’s the wiser. (That is just SO California!)

If you’re closing a big contract with a new customer, buy a nice pen. A RILLY nice pen; a Cross or Mt. Blanc. After you’ve signed the paperwork, “accidentally” leave the pen behind. They’ll quietly put in their desk and remember your generosity every time they use it.

If you’re concerned about ethics, give them an award, a brass plaque or silver trophy engraved with your appreciations. It will be given a place of honor on their desk or bookshelf.

Here’s guerrilla work-around; send an age-appropriate toy for their kid. Who would begrudge a child a new toy?

Another loophole: if the item has your logo on it, it’s a tchotchke, not a gift. It’s not a bribe; it’s ADVERTISING. So you can send them a coffee mug or a golf towel or a $200 down parka, or any useful item for that matter, imprinted with your advertising, and they will wear it with pride. And they’ll tell all their friends.

Still not sure what to do? I once received a birthday card that read, “People who say you’re hard to shop for obviously don’t know where to buy beer.”

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Guerrilla Speaker Makes Your Meeting Count

Professional speakers add value, but can you prove it?

Of course, with the corporate meetings sector cutting back and slashing budgets (as much as 30% by some accounts) we are all being called to account for results. One of the 10 Principles of Guerrilla Selling is “Measurement.” It’s easy, but most speakers don’t bother.

There are five levels of metrics that speakers and event planners should apply to every program, every speaker:

1. Did they like it?

These are the “smile sheets” that you collect after the applause. It’s relatively easy to get a standing ovation. In fact, I have a testimonial on my web site that says, “Yours was the highest-rated program we’ve ever had; 5.0 out of 5!” But for the most part, these numbers are meaningless. Every professional speaker should be engaging and entertaining. Otherwise you’re better off spending the money upgrading the lunch entrée from rigatoni to chicken.

2. Did they remember it?

Do you quizz participants after 24 hours, 72 hours, and at the end of a week, to see how “sticky” the material was. Most “motivational” speakers fall into this trap. People will recall that “it was a great speech” but can’t tell you one new thing that they learned. Really good speakers build their programs so that the audience remembers the point as well as the punchline. Otherwise, skip the speaker and splurge on the standup comic. I hear Jeff Foxworthy is available for about the same fee as an average NSA keynoter.

3. Did they use it?

Great information and innovative ideas are useless if they’re not put to use. An effective speaker should leave their audience feeling, “I can DO that!” They should take back practical guerrilla action items that they can use right away, and feel confident taking the initiative. If a professional speaker doesn’t change people’s behavior as well as their attitude, you might as well book the booze cruise instead.

4. When they tried it, did it work?

If the strategies and tactics that the speaker is espousing don’t actually work (and I mean in the REAL world) then they may do more harm than good. Your people will waste hundreds of hours and gawd-knows how much money. Professional speakers have the expertise to back up their eloquence. They can point to actual examples where their recommendations have been effective. And if they can’t, dump the DJ and bring on the rock band.

5. If it worked, how much was it worth?

Did you increase sales? Boost profits? Cut costs? Reduce turnover? Capture new customers? Leapfrog the competition? This is where you justify the “lavish” meeting at the “posh” resort to the accountants and the press. An effective speaker will follow through with the client long after the program (yes, even after a year or two) to monitize their impact.

Case in point:

Philips Medical was spending nearly $6M over 4½ days to exhibit at their industry’s biggest trade show. Twenty-six tractor-trailers full of fixtures and equipment filled a 10,000 sq/ft booth in McCormick Place. It would be staffed by 136 mostly technical personnel. At the pre-show briefing they invited me to present a three-hour custom training session on “Guerrilla Trade Show Selling.”

The seminar was well received. Ratings in the low fours. But ninety days later we looked at the numbers. Participants had applied their new skills to good affect. Qualified leads were up 144% over the previous year, and they had already closed more than $8M worth of new business. Today this training is required for every employee who might represent Philips at a trade show anywhere in the world.

If you take the time, and build this kind of deep evaluation into every project you do, you’ll never have difficulty justifying the cost of your meeting, or the speakers you hire to present at them. If you still have to cut costs, dump the golf.

–OrvelRay


Trade Shows Work in Tough Times

Trade and consumer shows are an important source of new customers, especially in tough economic times. While attendance at shows is generally down, those who do attend are serious and ready to buy.

Trade shows and consumer shows require different approaches, promotions, and follow up. Here’s specific strategies to succeed at each type of show.

Trade Shows

People attend trade shows to review the latest developments in their industry or association, make future buying decisions, and meet with other industry colleagues.

Buying or writing shows are a special type of trade show that purchasers attend to order inventory for their businesses, shops, and chain stores. These shows happen at regular times of the year tied to consumer buying patterns.

Exhibits are often large and complex, with companies spending lots of money to buy position and prestige in their industry.

The exhibit staff tend to be sales and upper level management. Many peer-to-peer meetings occur — CEO’s visit with CEOs arranging business deals. Visitors expect access to high-level decision makers and want to speak with people who can make commitments. While some sales are closed at the show, most of the closing is done after the show is over.

Consumer Shows

Consumer shows are a collection of temporary stores, like a bazaar. Vendors present their goods and services for sale, and are looking for consumers of what they sell. Examples include home decorating shows, sports shows, and Chamber of Commerce expos.

Exhibits at consumer shows are often no larger than a single booth, only going to larger sizes if there are many products to show, such as an appliance or furniture company.

At consumer shows, you’re probably talking to the buyer, or a person who has direct and powerful influence on the buyer. You only have to impress and persuade the person you’re speaking with to make the sale.

Visitors don’t need to speak with decision makers, and expect to speak with a sales person. At consumer shows, you should be selling and closing as much as possible.

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