What Are They NOT Telling You?

Before getting into consulting I had a very interesting discussion with a gentleman about the profession. He had been a highly successful business consultant for years and I asked, “What do you think is the hardest thing about the work?”

He told me a story about being hired by a huge company in China (I think) that brought him in for an extended stay with all the expense that involves. He studied their situation and finally presented his recommendations, carefully thought out and researched of course.

And — nothing.

“They rejected EVERYthing I told them,” he said. Frustration and bafflement. Total waste of time, except for his sizeable fee of course. He achieved nothing but a paycheck. Finally he concluded they had hoped his work would validate their preconceived conclusions.

When that did not happen, they hired yet another professional, he heard later. How that turned out he did not know.

Nice to get paid, he said, but you want to feel like you’re getting something done as well.

Need a Trade Show DISASTER??

There are a LOT of reasons why a given Trade Show can turn into a money-sucking waste of time, but among those are some items Within Your Control. So that’s a good thing, obviously. Here are a few things you might consider — 

GET PROFESSIONAL HELP: Where? From your Best Clients. Yes! Early on in your planning process, contact your top few customers and ask these vital questions:

  • What is the best thing about your product or service?
  • How does your product or service help their business?
  • What trade shows do they usually attend?
  • Which exhibits really got their attention?

Clearly this input can help you choose the right Trade Shows for your company to take part in and help shape your offerings and display materials.

STAFFING TRICK:  One item seldom addressed is the people you choose to be at the booth. The top sales hitters might be the obvious choice — but is that ideal for that environment? Few sales can be closed at the show, which is likely their strong suit. Consider this finding from a recent study on — bear with me now — a recent study on dating habits. Really. The big surprise: the MOST attractive quality of all, regardless of other factors, is simply Happiness.

No joke. Simple, genuine Happiness is far, far stronger in its overall attractiveness to others than good looks, nice clothing, fame, income or even health. We really enjoy being around people who love their lives and consistently enjoy themselves. They’re fun! Probably we hope it’s contagious, and to a point it is. Sure.

That subject was the dating world, but clearly it applies to huge numbers of human interactions. 

Faking it does not work. We see through the cold, grinning sales shark in an instant. Genuine happiness will carry the day.

And your bouncy, good-humored, happy crew makes the long hours at the show easier for everyone, maybe including you. In the meantime, your strongest closers are where they SHOULD be — at your business, on the phone, on the road, bagging more sales for your company.

FOCUS, NOW, FOCUS:  Your company’s most valuable asset to your customers must be positioned Front and Center. That seems obvious, I know, but a huge number of Trade Show exhibits fail to highlight their best feature, oddly enough. Why? Hard to say, but it does happen.

Think of your booth display as a billboard — it must instantly reach a prospect as she strolls past and must address a problem she faces often. So what shall you present, what should be your display’s main focus?

Are you faster on turnaround? Less expensive? Better service? A stronger warranty? Find your strong suit and sell THAT. Your company’s other selling points will come up in later discussion.

GIVEAWAYS THAT WORK:  Time was, pens and coffee mugs with your logo were THE obvious choices. And for good reason, too, being useful and (to a point) durable.  These days, what would be your best bet? Maybe thumb drives, software, portable device chargers or links promoting giveaway items at your website. 

In any case, with strategic planning and an eye toward the current state of the economy and other factors, you can still have a killer Trade Show. If we can help with ideas on that, tailored to your specific professional needs, please get in touch.