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Exhibit Success-Start with the Conversation!

December 23, 2009 13:19 by Stacey Mills
The 2010 conference season is just a few weeks away. It's exciting to think what a successful exhibit can do for your business. New customers, new relationships, brand awareness, and even gaining market trust are all aspects of a conference.  Both experienced exhibitors and beginners can be overwhelmed by the amount of information and potential preparation an event can hold. One simple, yet critical key to your exhibit success is planning for meaningful conversation. The way we present ourselves and the way we connect starts with our ability to communicate and relate. Your ability to connect with attendees can make or break your show experience. Here are a few tips for conversation when planning for your next exhibition:

1)  Clean up your pitch. Can you tell someone about your business in 15 words or less? Is what you are saying clear, and will it help solve a customer need? Make sure everyone representing your company knows and agrees on a general explanation of your business. Try to keep it clean, simple, and to the point.

2)  Train for the title. No... not the heavyweight belt, I'm talking about the job title here. I am always surprised when I hear from an exhibit staff person that they are only looking to meet c-level attendees. Think about your business. How often in your sales process do you start and end with the CEO? Maybe less than 5%? Knowing how to approach every level of attendee, and prepare the questions you need to ask can make a huge difference. Ask the attendee what their role with their organization is, and what their challenges/successes have been. Understand what they need before explaining the features your business can provide, and equip them with the tools they need to explain your business to their colleagues or CEO (see point 1!).

3)  Ask for the referral. To some exhibitors, 1 solid lead can make the difference in having a successful show. What if that number was 10, 20, or 300? What if you could take a handful of "dead-end" interactions at your booth, and turn them into a boat load of good opportunities? If an attendee does not have a direct need for your services, perhaps they know a co-worker, department, or even separate business that does. Ask that attendee if you could mention them in your follow up. Taking this step could help double your show success!

Make a New Year's resolution to improve your event communications and conversations. Your team will enjoy more success, and that leads to an improved bottom line in 2010!

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