Nobody retains information from a trade show--everyone is yelling to be heard. Perhaps you could be a little quieter and much more effective. Let's use the demo where it belongs, much later in the sales cycle.And he contends that collecting information about prospects' situations and problems is often a better use of trade show time:
At your next event, try just asking people who come by the booth a few simple qualifying questions about their problem and its urgency to them. If they answer in the affirmative, scan their badge or take their card and invite them to enjoy the show. Meanwhile send a set of materials to them through the mail or better yet, have a sales person contact them the week after the show.In my opinion, Steve's key point is that:
The best demo is customized to the customers, their problems, and within the context of how we can specifically solve their problems.If you've read SPIN Selling, you know that your best chance of making a high-value sale is to use a facilitative process that starts with asking a lot of questions. Only after you've fully understand the individual prospect's situation and problems do you describe your solution in detail.
Regarding trade shows, however, the more important questions to me are:
- Why are you an exhibitor at the trade show at all?
- Who is attending the trade show, and why?
It matters who is attending the trade show. Is media attending the trade show? Are tech geeks with little or no buying authority attending the show? Are actual prospects attending the show? Perhaps you should attempt to segment the population of the trade show into various personas.
The bottom line is that the issue isn't as simple as whether you should demo at trade shows. You need to research the expected trade show population and shape your goals accordingly. In the end, you may decide that being an exhibitor isn't the best way of achieving those goals.