There is a range of opinions about the effectiveness of booth marketing in winning clients. Some Advisors swear by it and many deride the practice as a complete waste of time.
Booth marketing has a big advantage – it gives you access! Access to many potential clients strolling right past your booth. When you work it right, your booth can be a powerful lead generation tool.
Here are 10 tips to help you convert them into clients!
Research the event.
Take a bit of time to find out the theme and history of the event and the main attractions. As fabulous as you and your company are, the attendees are showing up for the main attractions – not because they heard you were exhibiting. Having some idea of what brought them there will make it easier to strike up a conversation.
Find a quirky interest.
Dig around for something that’s happening at the event that you find genuinely interesting or amusing. The quirkier the better. When you bring this up in conversation, it will help you stand out from all the other exhibitors and make you memorable – a critical element in having a successful follow-up call!
Use Booth Magnets.
A ‘booth magnet’ is some attraction – a prize or sensory experience, or both – that will slow people down and draw them in. When choosing your magnets, make sure you know the demographic of the attendees and the theme of the event. (You don’t want to display a bottle of Johnny Walker Black only to discover that the event is to raise money for MADD.)
Stand out front.
Never, ever hang out behind the table. This just makes it easy to be ignored. Get comfortable out in front and be the one to initiate contact.
Use a strong opener.
‘How are you today?’ or ‘Are you enjoying the event?’ will get you nothing but people breezing past. Instead, if you have a compelling prize, invite them in with ‘Would you like a chance to win xx? Then immediately get them talking with an open question like ‘What brought you to the show?’ This is a truly engaging question that’s hard to resist. When your prospect responds, you’re now having a real conversation and you can both relax.
Build genuine rapport.
This is the time to leverage your research. Take a minute or two to chat about the event in a meaningful way. Bring up your quirky interest. The purpose of this is twofold: First, you are establishing the level of relationship – moving beyond being a salesperson. Second, you are making yourself memorable and positioning yourself for the follow up call.
Master the transition.
This is the do or die moment. The single biggest mistake advisors make in a booth event is to focus the conversation solely on filling out the prize ballot. To win clients from your event, you must transition into have a meaningful discussion about finances. A transition can be as simple as asking ‘What do you know about our company?’
Use a concise value proposition.
Listen to their response to the transition question, and have your value proposition ready. Briefly describe how you’re helping their particular demographic with their financial needs, then go deeper with another question like: What financial issues are top of mind for you?’ Now you’re having the real conversation.
Mark your ballots.
Instead of just popping them right in the box, make a couple of quick notes on the ballot about your conversation. This way, when you call back you can maintain the level of relationship you established at the show.
Position the follow up.
Let your prospect know that you’ll call with some information about the prize draw and to tell them a bit more about how your company can help with their financial goals. This positions you as a trusted advisor instead of a cold caller, and will greatly increase your ability to book appointments from the follow up call.
With a little planning and practice, you can feel confident and comfortable with booth conversations. And many of these tips are transferable to your other prospecting methods as well. Rule of thumb: The more quality conversations you have, the better your closing rate.
Kira Callahan is an expert sales conversation coach for the financial industry. Her private clients typically experience 30% – 100% increase in appointments and business. Click here to find out more about Kira.