Are you like me these days and you find yourself looking at things that are nothing whatsoever to do with your business through business eyes?
I have a feeling that sentence reads like a bit of a tongue twister so I’d better explain! Last weekend I visited Beaumaris Food festival and bought lots of lovely tasty things.
As happens most of the time these days though, I found myself looking at everything from a business perspective. I like doing this because sometimes observing a totally different industry can give you a surprising new perspective on your own. And I find that doing this proves that the challenges and principles of business are so similar, regardless of the industry you’re in.
So I found myself admiring the great marketing that some of the exhibitors had done and shaking my head at the ‘flat as a pancake’ efforts of others. There were a few things that stood out to me as either great business practice or terrible howlers that I thought were worth sharing so here goes:
Most of the exhibitors were engrossed in talking to visitors and shoppers, showing them products or explaining how things were made. Every few stalls though there would be somebody sitting down, often behind a table, usually looking rather bored, and occasionally immersed in their mobile phone. Oh dear!
The message I got from those people is that they didn’t really want to talk and I felt like I’d be interrupting them if I asked a question. So needless to say I didn’t stop at any of those stalls, and they all looked to be struggling to make sales, whereas the rest of the stalls were absolutely inundated.
The moral of the story here is to be constantly aware of the first impression you give to prospective customers. That covers everything from your website, your social media pages, your vans, car or uniform. And quite frankly your face! A smile goes a heck of a long way to proving that you’re friendly and approachable.
Do you look inviting to your prospects?
Help Your Prospects To Qualify (or Dequalify) Themselves
Most exhibitors had their pricing displayed and often had special offers on show too. That meant that I could see at a glance whether I might consider buying and I knew it would be worth my while queuing to speak to the exhibitor.
But some stalls had no pricing displayed at all and I didn’t want to queue up and then ask about the price in front of a crowd, because nobody wants to tell someone they’re too expensive in front of a crowd! Now I might have actually bought from them, but I excluded myself because of the lack of basic information. I wonder how many other sales they lost that day as a result?
So think about the simplest questions that your own prospects ask the most often. Can they find the answers to those things very easily on your website, social profiles, flyers etc? It won’t always be about price, but if you can work out the core information that your prospects would like to know before they take the decision to start a conversation then you can make things easier for them.
If they can’t find that information then they might be reluctant to start the conversation with you, because let’s be honest a conversation is the start of a sales process and nobody wants to invite that until they’re at least vaguely interested.
Do you need to update your basic information anywhere?
Take The Opportunity To Promote Yourself
Most of the exhibitors had banners behind their stall and lots of branding on it. Some had nothing at all though. A plain tablecloth & a plain backdrop. Now I’m not judging them, this might have been their first exhibition and they may be very new to business. We all start somewhere!
It made me think about the number of people I meet at networking events though that don’t bring any promotional materials with them even though they know they have an opportunity to display them. It’s not unusual for somebody to have forgotten or run out of business cards too.
I also see lots of business owners who don’t have their business listed on their personal Facebook profile. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had a conversation with somebody in a business Facebook group, wanted to find out what they do and couldn’t!
You should never underestimate the people that are watching you from a distance and wondering what you do and whether you’re worth talking to. Make it as easy as possible for them to find you!
I think we bought from around 8 to 10 stalls during the day. And do you know how many of them put a flyer or business card into our bag so that we would actually know who they were once we got home?
A measly 20 to 25% of all the people we bought from actually stand any chance of us buying again. I don’t even know who the rest of them were and would have no idea where to start in trying to find them. What a waste!
That’s not unusual at all though. How many of the people you’ve met through your business over the years have you actively kept in touch with? How many would remember you? And how many might have wanted to buy from you if only they could remember who you were?
So what could you do to make yourself more memorable or keep in touch with people more regularly? This is one of those things that can seem a bit of a bind but could easily double the results of your marketing over time. Keeping in touch could be worth serious cash to you!
So there you have it, my business lessons from a food fayre. It’s amazing where you can find insight when you actively look for it.
I’d love to hear what you thought of this article or what other tips you’ve picked up at similar events yourself so feel free to leave a comment below.