SHOW BUZZZZZZZZZZZZ….Wait…Why?

Now that is SHOW BUZZ!

Now that is SHOW BUZZ!

I cannot stress enough about the value of creating show buzz! You know that viral little hum that you hear either prior to the show or on the show floor.  You want that buzz to be loud and attract as many attendees as possible. Having this sound also brings in media and higher-level attendees!

What generally happens is this task is left to show organizers. With pleading efforts to exhibitors/speakers/sponsors/media to help spread the word; this often falls on over-worked ears!  However, one way for organizers to help with the request to participants, is to have something ready for them to send out! Short-sweet and to the point. Where, when, why and big news.

As a recipient of the announcement, this should get in the hands of Business Development, PR, Sales Staff, and Newsletter lists.  This is often a one email blast from a marketing member.  The rest of the team should be targeting every one they can get their hands on, at every call, blurb at the end of the email; Come see me at “XYZ show/conference”. This also helps the staff members that may not have time to call everyone to set meetings.  Seeing that someone is going to be at the same event you are often sparks that quick “let’s set up something at the show”, text or email. I’ve seen/had this work numerous times on LinkedIn.

Organizers often do countless blasts, promotion at other events, and media trades to get the word out but often it is the true participants that drive the quality of attendees because they are working with these clients all time and/or know who they want to attend.  Customers, right? Yes, we say/hear it all the time, we want more customers! Great, who are they? I need names…departments and staff change like socks these days and only individuals working directly with these companies know who is wearing a new logo!  So send the organizers lists if you have them, often they will do the leg work and send invites.

Sales/BD teams:  When you are having a difficult time getting to see a client, use a show to meet-up. Find out if they are going if you can and if not get an invitation ready to personalize. Often times companies host a meeting room or have one on the show floor. Find out how they are participating and get on the list to meet with them.  Making that face-to-face introduction is invaluable and can set the stage for a more formal meeting.

Marketing teams: Invite media, your favorite writers/editors to see what you have and meet with them to discuss why it is important. Don’t be shy to go after the big guys, after all you want your business to grow, and take leadership positions. Having articles written/blogs posted/social media activated – you guessed it you smart marketing gypsies…. SHOW BUZZ and an extension of ROI for your shows.

Gypsies get out there…start the hum…! I love that sound!

 

Marketing/Sales/Social Reach?…Wait…What?

In the Blink of a Gypsy Eyelash!

In the Blink of a Gypsy Eyelash!

Yes dear gypsies, your marketing/sales/social reach for events! Internal or external events require that an events/tradeshow/conference manager is also in the marketing mix as far as branding and assuring that all the marketing and sales touch points are met.

With that said, some companies have individual marketer’s that manage each segment of this process or some use the Product Marketing team/manager  and sales to make those contacts. However, we are in the age of more with less and this task often falls to you, or it just falls!

We all know that having a certain marketing campaign needs to assure that all the pieces that are created have the same language, or that the PR efforts are coordinated with the right editors and media groups to keep the message flowing. However, what if there is nothing new, or a campaign is on the down side of fizzle.

Well, it is time for more gypsy magic to make something happen out of very little to nothing.  We are a clever bunch, so we generate SHOW BUZZ! That’s right, we create the buzz for shows so that we have something new to say to those few unaware customers, or maybe secondary customers, partnership alliances, and even suppliers. With social media venues and blogging we can generate a, Did you see? or Did you know? message in the blink of a gypsy eyelash! Thus planting the seed, assuring that readers are given just enough information to want to attend the show/event.

The ROI for shows and events is so mysterious that when we really get down to the numbers it is extremely difficult to pinpoint that actual touch point that linked the customer with the sale. To help our sales teams we try our best to add more oomph to each event. One way is to make sure we have another value-add quantifier. Keep track of these touch-points for sales –  partnership alliances, media, analysts, supplier relations, and dare I say it…the competitive analysis that goes on at shows with those mystery guests (engineers in plain clothing – no logo), that go around and gather intelligence. Find out at the end of the show what can be added to show reports that might be of value for either the next show you are participating in or the next year show. Try to keep the “gossip” to a dull roar, as show buzz is different from the latest acquisition speculations. Get those numbers as well to find out if you are getting this type of activity at your events, and if not, why? If so, why?

In the PR world of making companies have the best possible message, reputation, and product lines; there definitely needs to be a trail to information. Keep a timeline to make sure things flowing smoothly with “completely accurate” information. Integrity in your writing is essential to keep the company out of trouble with media and analysts that are just waiting for a “OOPs” quote. Keep things clear and direct, save the fluff for the promo items! Verify your information and make your announcements of participating in a certain event or show a big deal. If your announcement consists of, “come visit us in booth #…and win a …, well that is as much effort as your attendees will put. They will come by and get scanned to win the ….”. That is not a big deal, that is a lame hook and will garner many sucker fish!  If you want customer attendees or VIPs, send a limited release press release to those individuals you want to set meetings with, and make it a personal invitation to see/hear about ….. product/service, and get your teams to collaborate with due diligence as to why those people would want to meet with you, what are they doing in their organization that would warrant them coming to see you.

Show BUZZ – don’t forget to get into every speaking opportunity you can get your hands on, these are critical to being a “real” player in the industry you are in, and you reach that critical social media touch-point by having someone film the session for a webcast/YouTube video and future marketing activities. Having this option is always left for the 11th hour when someone thinks of it, and I know you gypsies have your hands full of daggers as it is, and adding one more to the mix may take someone out! YIPES! But do consider it, and make it an option to find a college intern to help you out in the city you are in, however make sure to get clearance from your legal departments or corporate marketing to assure there will be no issues with making this video or hiring an outside contractor.

Sponsoring a meeting space on the show floor can be extremely valuable to you and your partners by splitting the cost and having that VIP status meeting space. It looks professional and certainly is convenient to have several meetings in one day with the right people. But make sure you do not neglect to have a booth as well if you have products/services to show.  Having the booth gives your VIP the value that you have in your products/services by either having a booth space large enough to have a meeting space in your booth and it gives the impression of having invested money into your product promotion because you have a great product/service.

Ok, my gypsies I am out on the road again this week, off to Viva Las Vegas for Interop! Always interesting to feel the vibration of shows in Vegas.  They can be off the charts or way down…I have an intuition this one is going to be OFF THE CHARTS!  I can hear the wheel spinning already!

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Conjuring Ideas for 2013 or Reviving 2012…wait…When?

What’s next?

Now is the time gypsies to get to work on 2013, and it is the time of year when magic is required just to make it through the end of 2012! Might I also interject that for us tradeshow gypsies a general election plays havoc on our companies and management teams. No matter what the economic situation is, or the political affiliation, people are always wound like a clock and have a hard time focusing on the NOW of business.

So break out that cauldron or tarot deck, this is going to require major dancing under the moon magic! The end- of-the-year has several events that should not be neglected. At the beginning of the year people are more enthusiastic to start a new year on the right foot, but at this point they have been on their feet way too much and are almost …errrr…cranky!  So, time to pull out all the stops for the shows/events that lead all the way into December. Time to make them fun and interactive!  Get a giveaway gift, it doesn’t matter if it is the latest in light-up widgets – stuffed animals – or electronic gadget, find something that can add to the sales story!  Bring in some history and have the background information and images or products that say this is where we started and most importantly have a Live-Wire Person that can engage with people!

I have to give credit where credit is due – I had a gypsy garage sale this past weekend – my family came to help me. I have an antique radio from the 1930s and was not going to sell it in my general garage sale but it is very heavy to move so there it sat. My brother took it on as his project – he had stories that kept people entertained and interested in purchasing it! One he used was, “can you imagine listening to this radio on December 7, 1941, listening to the announcement of Pearl Harbor”! This was a fantastic sales pitch and kept people in my garage buying all kinds of antiques that I had mixed in with the other treasures! He is not in sales, and he missed his calling I say! Thanks JV!

Anything to grab your staff and the attendees is needed to get things going, if it is too late for 2012 gear into 2013 planning. Team up with an interesting company that will draw in more attendees – for instance if you provide a service or a product that is a part of a bigger part – see if you can get access to that product for display –even if it is a car! Many car companies would like to demo their cars to large groups of people, see what you can do to reach out to your customer or end product companies. (Let me know if you want a contact on this one, I thought this was an excellent idea (not my original idea, but one I just had to pass on). Thanks DB!

No curses necessary – only a little creativity and enthusiasm to revive and reinvigorate 2012 and get ready for 2013! Have fun! Let us know if you conjure up a great brew or idea!

Sales, Marketing, Business Development, Show Manager, Management – wait…WHO?

Team Gypsy ROCKS!

When it is all said and done we gypsies do it all! Whether we are in marketing and selling to our internal stakeholders (sales and BD) and ultimately our external audience with marketing materials or products we are selling. If we are BD gypsies, we are selling, selling our business solutions to executive teams to review or to the sales gypsies to make the contact and go in and close the sale. Management is always selling to the level above them, or to the investors making the case that they are running the business well or introducing new business strategies. Management has the added sales responsibility to sell their business plan or model to keep people working! Sales the masters themselves! Well let’s see, there is that pipe-line thing, and the quota log, not to mention that horrid CRM that sales always argues, do you want me selling or data processing? 🙂

Selling is a unique skill that we all do no matter what our function is, we are always selling what we do to someone. With that said, I can say that the training we get most often in selling begins at birth. Can we sell our doting parents on holding us for hours or a little snack here or there. Hummm where are those M&Ms…oops digressed! Sales, we have all been doing it forever.

Bringing the sell into the event or show takes definite finesse, courage, tact, and know-how. Ok, where is that magic dust…by the looks of my crew in their shirts right out of the package they are going to need it! I had many a show that I wished the magic ironing wand was handy! How you look, does play a significant part in sales! Make sure you are dressed appropriately for your sale – if my tambourine’s are on sale I wear ribbons, if my latest software product is moving I wear a suit – black of course!

What is your selling style? Are you shy and looking at your feet? Are you too “sexy for yourself” and arrogant? Are you talking so much your customer is in the ooo..eee..oo..ah.ah…mode trying to get a word in edgewise? Are you so high up you get nose bleeds and wonder why?

Take a step back and really look at your selling style. In most cases if you are shy, that is a tough one to overcome but it can be done with just a little magic dust, and confidence boost of the simple fact that should you talk to someone with your head up and eye to eye they will not hurt you! No biting or clonking on the head…nothing! The worst that can happen is NOTHING…you had that looking at the floor!

Mr/Ms Too Sexy for Yourself – GET OVER IT – nobody cares about you – they care about their needs in business! Stay out of those hair “product” fumes and get that Botox to relax – you are frightening people!

Motor mouth…slow your role…take a deep breath and zip it! Let your customer talk, give them a rest from your voice. They will not buy if you are killing them with too much information and telling them what they need – as you miss the entire point of it is “THEIR” business, they might have an idea or two as to how they are doing business, what their budgets are, and an opinion on doing business with you and your company.

Ok, now that the staff is taken care of – Show Manager Extraordinaire – Support your staff, don’t micro manage them to the point they disappear or are so fearful of you that they hate shows because of YOU! Kindergarten rules – treat others as you want to be treated. If someone is unprofessional or not doing their job and their boss is there, mention it in a nice way…something like, hey dude(ette) get your bubba (ette) over there under control before I shove them in the swamp for the gators! (Oh, did I just write that out-loud)? 😉

Management – Take the time to say thank you before the show starts – give a pep talk, don’t just show up to be seen and “motivate” by intimidation – make the effort to acknowledge how much work these events are and encourage YOUR “team” to have a great event!

Ok, I have now given my strongest words of wisdom to all levels – now you can all have great success at your shows!

Sales Gypsy…wait…Who?

For you my gypsy friends…a very good price! Wink…Clink..clink…clink!

What exactly are you selling?

Well this is how it goes; you get to do trade shows, events, conferences that have a sales pitch side as well as a marketing campaign. Sometimes gypsies are doing double-duty on the sales side and managing the event; participating in the well-known dance craze called multi-tasking mania!

Sales is a tough gig no doubt but having the opportunity to do face-to-face sales with so many customers in one place in a short amount of time can put a sales account/territory/product-line manager on GO! If they are good!

You have done your homework and know your customers in the local area; who else will be exhibiting on the show floor; speakers that might be that high-level C/VP you have been trying to reach or techy that has been locked away; and you have done due diligence for possible attendees that might be new prospects. Check your social media sites for attendees; this is the new method of finding out where prospects are headed! Send out your own announcements via a variety of communication mediums to make sure you will get to see the clients you want to see. Use that fancy new mobile device! Everything you can do to get the word out! Beat the drum loud and shake that tambourine we are going in for the sale!

Competition you say…bahh…you are there to beat the competition with your exceptional products, service, and outstanding salespersonship…*yeah not a word at all! It is always good to know who exactly your competition is, and it is better to run into them there on the show floor, than in the corporate office of your customer as the food chain is established! OOOUCH!

If sales are being conducted at the show the deadliest words can be, live-demo! A live demo means you will hopefully have “technical” staff that does the setup and keeps the thing working. If not, and you are in sales, I can tell you I have walked the show floor many a time with clients keeping them away from the booth until we could get something fixed or if that wasn’t an option, to get it put away. Having such a temporary setup with a variety of issues in service, shipping, packing (who forgot the cables!) and power/internet availability; can really make a sales agent look bad, because the customer only sees, “it isn’t working and they can’t fix it!”

So getting to the show early to make sure everything is operational before you land your customers in the booth to see “spectacular spectacular” is a must. Make sure to take the exact sales materials you want to have on hand to make your sale. Often there is only so much you can ship to a show and if you are not in communication with marketing or corporate that actually packs and sends the booth and materials, only certain things are included and you are out of luck. Take a few printed pieces or a flash drive with whatever you want to use to help YOU sell. Leaving it to the, I can email you later message comes across a bit ill-prepared.

Granted, I know, boy do I know, people pick pieces of paper up and leave them they don’t want to carry them around the floor or back to the office. However, if you only take a few and give them the option to email  a copy so they do not have to carry it, you are golden! You now have an email address, and have helped a potential or existing customer. All the while, establishing that brand and product/service visual material. People will remember an image and branding more so than just lip service!

Having meetings or appointments at the booth set up prior to the show can really make a difference on the ROI for you personally and for the organization as a whole. Cold-selling on the show floor – don’t be shy, get out into that aisle and say hello! What company do you work with?What do you do for your company? Have you seen our latest product? Nice hair, or head…or something…get out from behind the counter with marketing materials and get folks interested, the more people in the booth the better as this creates a “what’s in there BUZZ?” curiosity for attendees.

Go prepared and be able to explain exactly what it is you are selling. Know your new products, and what your differentiator is to that bahhh competitor down the aisle. No bad mouthing only positive dialog, things like we have real people or look a product and a service comparative. Do a little self-promotion and engage your customer with a giveaway, spring for a whatever, and add it to your business card and tell them if they email you they are entered to win, and if you get business because of them they win an extra whatever, whatever… and follow-up! This can be invaluable to your show manager to be able to tie a show lead directly to a sale and you have at least one LEAD! Yeah!

Definitely not easy, but if you are the Sales Gypsy supporting the clan, you want the best wagon so you gotta put on a great show to get those gold coins!

FYI – there is no SHY in SALES!

Innovative or Invisible….wait who?

What do you see?

Who goes to shows? Well crazy gypsies like me of course!

Generally speaking the folks are delegated by sitting in the wrong chair at the wrong time, or the right chair at the right time.  Sometimes it is a toss-up!

When staff is delegated to go to shows they should have at least more than 10 minutes’ notice. There should be a plan of action not a written action plan that no one reads! A plan of action that is discussed prior to the show defining who needs to be where when and then show up! Whether is sales staff doing booth-duty; marketing managing the press/analysts; or business development targeting new business; or last but not least your technical staff that are either on hand for those questions that only they can answer; or certainly your speaking VIP! Have plan of physical action to get from point-A to point-B without any incidents or lost staff or the ultimate in no-no’s an un-staffed booth.

In the booth, should there be too many attendants, this is often a deterrent for those shy attendees that feel intimidated by a herd of
trade show shirts stampeding the booth to get to that lone individual. Make sure there is an adequate number of staff on hand that have the “right stuff” – open personality, professional (I stress this one), and knowledgeable on the products. If you have a lead in person, which was me quite often, make sure they are approachable and can hang on to a customer if technical staff is busy with other attendees and that they know enough about the products to keep the attendee enthusiastic about learning more.

There is, NO SHY IN BOOTH DUTY!! Countless times than I care
to remember, staff was sent that would try to hide behind me. Ok, let’s just say I am average petite. Get the right people in the booth, if they are
uncomfortable talking with people without being prompted or shoved, then the wrong person is at the show.

If you know that more could have been done, bring up the
fact in a staff call that ROI can only be accounted for by the quality of the staff that worked the show.  Get some accountability with the leads, either electronically or written. This accountability can help determine who should be at the shows and who should be back in their office or only work in individual sales.  Establish a rapport with the Sales VP and let them know you will be submitting a report on how the show went; and then be honest in your report with your accountability stats. This helps everyone, including the individual as they generally hate shows.

Some sales staff loved shows and excelled, and others did
everything possible to get out of the booth or hide.  In some cases the staff would tag team and work well together to have a successful show, in others they were strangers and saw each other as internal competition.

Just know as individuals with those sixth-sense things,
attendees can feel when there is tension in your booth and they will not
approach or leave with the feeling that they were sorry they stopped by. If people are up and not complaining about their internal issues, that group has a good show no matter what.

I did a large show in Washington, DC where a company had
their booth destroyed in shipping with no time to get anything else. The sales staff rallied and put a big poster board with an X and a circle on their damaged box; crime scene tape around their booth with only a doorway opening (who knows what ingenious individual acquired the tape); with another poster board propped up against the crate with a note that said, “Booth Casualty, come in and sign up as a witness to this crime”! They wore black t-shirts and had sunglasses and gave away Kleenex packets with every brochure!  They killed every 20 X 20 fancy booth on the show floor and had no electrical, no booth, no carpet and were raking in the leads.  Did they have the right staff, ABSOLUTELY!

So get those people to the show that can rally in a crisis and get those individuals that will engage with attendees. This whole processes
improves ROI and is an accountable action that can add value to anyone’s performance appraisal, and maybe even be a way to help justify the future of show participation.

In a nutshell – send your performing gypsies to the party,
not the mystics behind the curtain!

Trade show gypsy has arrived…

The Trade Show Gypsy Has Arrived!

This blog has been a long-time coming, the winds have finally blown this gypsy wagon into blogging for the good of all those people who have dedicated any amount of time and efforts to trade shows, conferences, workshops, and industry events!

The face-to-face interaction is human nature, but the mobile network has now added a new dimension to the gypsies bag of tricks! Just one of many topics up for discussion.

I hope to reach that audience who can laugh, (after the fact of course), “show-stories”, and share tips on how to make shows work for you. Sales, marketing, business development, company rules, marketing, ROI, logistics, contracts, and personal career tips to make those trips pay off and fun.

And for campfire stories the glamorous (maybe not so much) things that happen as traveling gypsies through the variety of airports, airlines, hotels, conference centers, and the ultimate review in trade show food!

It’s a start!

 

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