Face to Face Selling Tips: #1 Icebreakers Stop Traffic
In an ideal world, a face to face selling rep has all the traffic they can handle and more! The reality is this: Even with great pre-marketing and a solid exhibit location, you probably won’t have a steady flow of potential customers. That’s why you need Icebreakers.
It’s your job to stop traffic
and start conversations that can lead to a sale! Stand at the edge of your exhibit. Look friendly and open. Start conversations with people passing by using open-ended questions as Icebreakers.
Good icebreaker examples
Good Icebreakers are questions that start with “Who? What? When? Why?” These questions require more than a yes or no response, creating social pressure for an answer. Questions like these are more likely to get a Passerby to pause and stop long enough to think of a socially acceptable reply.
- What brings you to the show today?
- Who did you come to event with?
- When is the last time you tried (product you are selling)?
Bad Icebreaker Examples
Bad Icebreakers can be easily ignored or can be answered without stopping for conversation. They usually start with ‘Do’ or ‘Have’ or ‘Are.’ They include:
- How are you?
- Have you enjoyed the show?
- Are you looking for something specific?
Once you’ve gotten a potential customer to stop, you need to keep the conversation going! Check out our article on implementing a Direct Sales Strategy Plan to learn how to turn a conversation into a sale!
Face to Face Selling Tips: #2 Always Be Active
Whether due to poor training or laziness, exhibits and trade shows are full of sales reps failing to follow the most important of all face to face selling tips: Always be active.
Being active starts with the Icebreaker!
Active sales reps look this:
- Stands at the edge of the exhibit
- Smiles, looking open and friendly
- Initiates conversations with strangers using Icebreakers
- Approaches potential customers in the exhibit to start a conversation
Passive sales reps look like this:
- Sits in the exhibit, often behind a counter
- Keeps ‘busy’ by reading or looking at the computer
- Waits to be spoken to
- Assumes ‘good leads’ will take initiate conversation and browsing
- Thinks ‘active’ is the same thing as being ‘pushy’
Make ‘Be Active’ Your Mantra
Being passive literally destroys your chances to have conversations that can lead to sales! You or your company has typically paid big bucks for the opportunity to meet customers face to face. That’s why it is critical to make the most of this opportunity.
Check out this article to learn how ‘be active’ should be at the center of any Direct Sales Strategy Plan!
Face to Face Selling Tips: #3 Don’t Judge a Good Lead by the Cover
Determining if the person you are speaking with is a ‘good lead’ is possibly one of the most important face to face selling skills you need to develop.
This is known as ‘lead qualification’ and it’s the process of deciding if a someone is likely to buy from you. At a face to face selling event, you want to qualify leads as quickly as possible because time is money. If it takes you 30 minutes to learn a person can’t afford your product, that’s 30 minutes you could have been spending talking with a real potential customer.
Qualify Leads Quickly, But Not Too Quickly
Is there some way to quickly size up a lead by appearance or behavior? Should you prioritize people that ‘seem’ more professional by the way they look or are dressed? Does seeming more professional make a potential customer more likely to be a decision maker?
This depends somewhat on the industry and culture, but in our experience: No.
Like a book, you can’t accurately judge a good lead by its cover.
In fact, when see a well-dressed professional headed into our face to face selling exhibit, we bet there’s at least a 50% chance they are a job-seeker.
Yes, decision makers can be…
- Unfashionable and slovenly
- Inarticulate and lacking knowledge
- Inappropriate in behavior or language
Slovenly? It’s not uncommon for American decision makers to dress like they are on vacation at face to face selling events. After all, here they are the customer not the vendor.
Inappropriate? Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for decision makers to use their position to ask inappropriate personal questions (“Are you single?”) or to engage in flirty behavior at a face to face selling event.
Try redirecting the conversation back to business with a relaxed confidence. If that does not work, there is no need to tolerate bad behavior. Get a colleague to take over or let the business go. True good leads can sometimes behave inappropriately, but you have to ask yourself if this person is truly interested in what you have to offer or only what you aren’t offering.
Qualifying Leads with A-C-T-I-O-N
So, if appearances don’t work to qualify a lead, what does?
Stick to the basics. Use what we call the Lead Interview to qualify leads.
Good leads will meet most or all of the following criteria
Authority – Has authority to purchase your product
Compatibility – Has a compatible budget and purchase process
Timeline – Can purchase in your ideal timeline
Identity – You know their identity, they are willing to share contact info
Obstacles – Has no obstacles to doing business with you
Need – Needs or wants your product[/box]
I trust that’s a helpful overview of tips for face to face selling. And it’s my sincere hope that your team will find the Tradeshow Basecamp™ course series to be a valuable step in future face to face selling success.