Fact #1: I don’t like talking to sales people.
Fact #2: I am a sales person.
When I first stepped into the world of sales I was like a deer in head lights. I had come from a customer service background and my clients were always passed to me from a sales person. My job was to help my clients to use our product successfully, and that I could do. But to “pitch” a product to a perfect stranger for whom I had no relationship with was scary for me. I felt like a bad car salesman; and between you and me, I cannot STAND to talk to pushy car salesmen who are more concerned about their quota than what I want.
When I entered the world of exposition sales and management, I could not get the hang of selling booth space. As much as I tried to come up with a fancy script or sales lingo with impressive phrases, I was selling nothing. I mean, really? How do you sell booth space? You cannot touch it, feel it, or smell it. You cannot even see it, since the exhibitors are the ones who would have to build it out. Honestly, what is so exciting about selling a 10′x10′ slab of concrete? I was failing so miserably, that I was sure any day I would get fired. Until I changed my strategy.
I decided that before I got fired or got too frustrated and quit that I would go back to what I know how to do, and put on my customer service hat again. I set up an Exhibitor Services Desk (Which now I would call an Exhibitor Concierge Service) and had our team schedule meetings with each exhibitor where their goals were defined. We then educated the exhibitors on how we planned to promote the show and invited them to participate in those promotions as much or as little as their time (or budget) would allow. We helped them target their ideal customers by carefully choosing the right package or custom promotions for them. And just like that, I became a successful exhibit sales person.
A HUGE lesson was learned by our team that year. Exhibitors are people. They want to be heard, and their goals need to be met. Selling IS about relationships, and positive relationships are built on a L.U.R.P. mentality. Listening, Understanding, Recommending, and Partnering with your exhibitors.
Does your organization have a L.U.R.P. mentality? Are you “hearing” your exhibitors and meeting or exceeding their expectations?
All proud L.U.R.P.s please announce yourself in our comment area below. We want everyone to know our fellow L.U.R.P.s in the expo and conference industry.