By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®
Years ago I had just taught my first workshop for a client. During the class when covering the Business Development module, I emphasized how few attendees of tradeshows were actually buyers. Many quickly found a vendor giving out bags and then were ready for what amounted to adult trick or treating. Their interest was in learning about offerings rather than improving business results.
The net was that following up on “bingo cards” from tradeshows was a great waste of time for salespeople with few of these calls starting buying cycles. At the first break, someone from Marketing informed me they had signed up for a booth at a telecom trade show attended mostly by technical staff. He asked advice as to how to get something from the money that would be spent.
My suggestion was to have some attractive T-shirts printed and do a “quid pro quo” with attendees. In order to get a shirt, attendees had to answer a brief questionnaire that went something like:
The last time your telecom system crashed. what title within your organization complained the most and how did they say their business day was disrupted?
They took that approach and after the show shared with me they had gotten fewer “leads” than in past years, but were more optimistic because they did have some executive titles and valid business issues that had been mentioned.
Fast-forward to today and my suggestion is to realize that if you are selling complex/expensive offerings, website visitors are not optimal entry points. A few suggestions:
- While nurturing, try to introduce business issues and titles that may be impacted.
- Understand that these contacts probably should serve as coaches in introducing sellers to their managers and potentially higher levels.
- If/when asked for references/demos/tech support conversations, realize the potential for getting access to higher levels in exchange for the resources you allocate.
Without being able to access higher levels, many website leads are the electronic equivalent of bingo cards from tradeshows.