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Problems & Solutions – Effective Marketing for Your Business

Problems and Solutions

In our work, helping business owners market their businesses, we have found one common thread – business owners and managers tend to focus on symptoms instead of problems. When one focuses their attention on the symptom, the problem becomes obscure and it becomes difficult to find a solution and revert the situation. So that we are on the same page, lets look at the meanings of the words symptom and problem:

Symptom – “a sign or indication of something”.

Problem – “a situation, person or thing that needs attention and needs to be dealt with or solved.”

What is a symptom? See if this sounds familiar . . .

  • I have no cash.
  • I have no time.
  • My sales are off.
  • Business is slow.
  • Did I mention I have no cash?
  • My customers are not buying like they used to.

Each of the above statements are symptoms and a business owner or manager can spend their whole life focused on the symptom and never do anything to handle the real PROBLEM. The rest of this article deals with how to use the symptoms to uncover the real problems that are holding you back. Once found, these problems can be handled and solved. Use this information to soar your business to new levels.

To someone not connected with the business, the solution is more evident. No sales? What are you doing on promotion? No money for promotion? What are you doing to promote, even if you are just calling all of your customers – that is a form of promotion. Customers are not buying–when was the last time you talked to them to find out what they need or want? (Also a symptom of no promotion or incorrect promotion.)

The main reason business managers and owners get into this box of focusing on symptoms is, they are too close to the situation to see (or believe) the true issue. It is a case of not being able to see the forest for all the trees.

For example, it’s hard to see that you have too many workers when half of them are family and are not producing. It’s hard to see why your sales are slow because you are not promoting. It’s almost impossible to see why your advertising is not working when you spend 15 minutes a week thinking about marketing. Because you have never surveyed your customers to find out what they need and want from you, it is impossible to create marketing that is effective.

At Wilson Printing USA our job is to help pull you out of the forest when it comes to your marketing. We are pretty good at it.

Need Help Marketing Your Business? Click Here.

If you focus your attention on symptoms, you will put yourself in a box. You should look at a symptom as a string that is attached to a problem. Often simply stepping back from the symptom and looking at the situation will help you find the problem. A solution is easier to work out when you have the actual problem in view.

Once the problem is identified, you can ask what is the solution or how can I fix it. Below are a few of the symptoms common in business:

Symptom vs. Actual Problem

Money

Symptom

NO MONEY

Problem

  • Poor cash handling, typically working with no financial plan.
  • Overhead too high in relation to income.
  • Can be caused by low or no promotion.
  • Not enough sales volume to compensate for too low a selling price of product. (Research has shown that price is usually listed as number 3 or 4 as reasons of importance as to why some one buys a product or service.)

Symptom

NO OR LOW SALES

Problem

  • No promotion. You cut promotion when things got slow. Now they are still slow or are creeping along.
  • No promotional plan. Just winging it man! Let’s try it and see if it works! We call this the “Spray & Pray” method of marketing. Seldom works and wastes a lot of money.
  • Ineffective promotion. Promotion was not surveyed. Ads designed with no idea why customer wants product.
  • Sporadic promotion, no consistency, has been jumping from one thing to the next looking for magic solution. (See Spray and Pray above)
  • Poor service or product is running customers off faster than you can bring in new ones. Quality control section of company is missing or not functioning. Also caused by poorly trained employees.

Symptom

NO TIME

Problem

  • Ineffective or untrained employees causing overwork for manager. If this is happening, your day will consist of putting out fires and handling problems.
  • Not delegating, trying to do everything oneself. The old “if you want something done you have to do it yourself” syndrome. You end up doing everything yourself and you are working ’till midnight.
  • Key employee missing. You need to replace a person or add a position to handle workload as your business grows.
  • You need a system to help you manage time.

Just remember, when you feel like there is no solution to a situation, you are probably looking at the symptom not the problem (from the above list). When you identify the “problem” a solution usually comes into view.

Increasing sales can ultimately solve most problems a business has, which generally falls into the area of marketing and promotion. The solution is usually coming up with a targeted marketing and promotion plan.

There are five elements that need to be addressed with any marketing program and they are:

  1. Who the best prospects are for your product or service?
  2. Why would they want to buy it?
  3. Why would they want to buy it from you?
  4. How often are you going to ask them for their business?
  5. What is a new customer worth to your business?

To answer point one, you have to look at who is buying from you now, where do they live, how much money do they make. Point two is a question of determining the benefits of your product or service. Point three is a case of simply looking at who your competitors are and what they do and then develop a way to be different. Point four simply means you HAVE to promote regularly and often if you are going to make any headway at all.

If you buy a direct mail mailing list and mail to it once, your business is not even a fleeting thought in the mind of the prospect. Get in front of that same prospect 3,4 or 5 times and then they are calling you for help and you have a new customer. This rule applies to any form of advertising, direct mail, newspaper, radio, etc.

We can help you step out of the box and grow your business to a new level. We are here to help you and if we can do a little business together, then all the better.

©2005-2014 Mark Hale, All Rights Reserved

How Sexy is Your Marketing?

What is “Sexy” Marketing?

The term sex appeal has been used in marketing since the mid 1960’s. Typically it means using a scantily dressed model to sell some product. Marketers found out that using these models attracted attention. Early on, it worked. Then over the years the art of using sex appeal has degraded to the point that most of the ads you see today are only selling sex and fall far short of getting a product sold.

The 3 things all advertising has to accomplish are: 1) attract attention, 2) impinge a message on the viewer and 3) get someone to buy something. (You can do that without using a half naked body.)

How can you use sex appeal to create more business? It is probably not how you think!

To understand exactly what your ad needs to do to have “sex appeal” and be effective, we need to start by defining some terms:

  • Attention – The concentration of the mental powers upon an object; a close or careful observing or listening. 2. Observant consideration; notice.
  • Impinge – to have an effect; make an impression.
  • Sex appeal – n. desirability, attractiveness, allure, glamour, sensuality, magnetism, sexiness, oomph.

How Sexy is Your MarketingYou will notice in the definition of “Sex Appeal” that only two of the descriptive definitions are about sex or bodies. Most of the descriptions have to do with appeal and creating an attraction to something. For marketing purposes any advertising that creates interest and desire for a product could be considered to have “Sex Appeal.”

How you use sex appeal depends on who the target audience is for the advertising. The target audience would also determine what type of medium you would use; postcard, direct mailer, full color self mailing brochure, billboard, TV or radio advertising. Even your business cards, stationery and pocket folders should be designed so they appeal and impinge on your target audience.

Look at your company’s marketing materials, do they attract and demand attention?

Lets talk about impingement. Have you ever seen a billboard with a compelling message that made you look twice? Or how about an intriguing direct mail piece that you just had to open? Do you remember what the ad said? If not, the ad did a good job of getting attention but fell short of impinging a message to you.

There are ways to build a message so that it attracts attention. The use of color, a bold headline and a photo are important elements. The use of eye trail is also very important. Eye trail is the design technique of catching the attention of the viewer with some element in the ad and then directing their eye (and attention) through the ad and ending up at the call-to-action section of ad. But impingement comes from how you put these things together.

Need Help Designing a Sexy Postcard? Click Here.

The overall ad has to communicate to your target audience. A large part of the reason a piece of advertising impinges is that it contains information on what your prospects and customers need and want. To get that information you need to survey your customers and prospects to find out what they need and what problem they are trying to solve by buying your product. With this information you have the basic building materials to create effective marketing and advertising.

After the advertising is created the next step is to do a flash test survey of the completed ad. Simply take the ad and show it to a customer for about 10 seconds and then ask them what they got from the ad. NOTE: It is best to show the ad to a customer not an employee. Showing your advertising to your employees or sales people is usually a bad idea because you will get invalid feedback on the ad. Your employees are definitely more educated about your product or service than your customers and they will have a different viewpoint about your product or service than your customers. Your customers and prospects, the people whom you are trying to influence and sell something to, are generally uneducated about your company and your products and services. Since you are trying to sell to the uneducated only their viewpoint matters. You want to find out if the ad gets the attention of your customers and if the message impinges on them.

You want to find out:

1. What did the ad communicate to them?

2. What did they remember from the ad?

We have put together a 10-point checklist to help you build an effective ad whether you decide to use our company or not. Our graphic artists can help you design effective postcards and direct mail pieces. We design and print other materials as well. At some point, if you don’t already have it, you need a total image package to tie together all of your marketing so that everything is going in one direction.

Do you want effective marketing that creates customers for you business? As you can see marketing your company is a full time job. Our company acts as a marketing arm for many of our clients saving them time and money.

I hope this information helped you. If we can do anything to help your company to be more successful please give us a call.

©2005-2014 Mark Hale, All Rights Reserved

How to Market When You Are Crazy Busy!

You are so busy that you don’t know whether you are coming or going! Your common sense tells you that you don’t need to market now because you are so busy, but your gut instinct tells you it could all crash tomorrow.

The fact is that when you are crazy busy that is the best time to advertise for three reasons. One, you will keep your sales going on an upward trajectory. Two, you have the money to promote. Three, when you are busy, you can afford to be pickier about the type of customer you chose to do business with. The luxury of being crazy busy is that you can afford to cherry pick customers.

  Need Help with a Target Direct Mail Campaign?

How to Market When You Are Crazy BusyWe have all experienced the roller coaster in the business cycle—up one day, flat the next and diving steeply the next, then only to soar the following week. To achieve sustainable growth and drive your business in an upward trajectory you have to first get off the roller coaster.

One way to do that is to promote smartly using direct mail. Direct mail offers a way for you to target your best prospects for your business. Direct mail allows you to dial-in your marketing and reach exactly who you need and want to do business with.

I know promoting when you are crazy busy goes against what your common sense is telling you. I mean you can’t even handle the business you have now – why, for the love of god, would you want to promote for more business?

You can and should promote more when you are busy, but you have to do so smartly.

By defining your target and narrowing your focus you can target the most profitable customers for your business. Bust defining and targeting your advertising is only part of the solution. You should do this also with your operation. Please note that “narrow your focus” does not mean cut back. If you cut back now you will cause an eventual crash. “Narrowing your focus ” means to get smarter in how you do things. Getting smarter in who you promote to but also in how you produce and deliver your product.

direct mail factsheet

FREE DIRECT MAIL FACT SHEET

The Effectiveness of Direct Mail vs Other Forms of Marketing!




    1. Qualify Your Targets

    When you are crazy busy, time and effort become more vital. You do not want to waste time chasing shadows, lost causes and prospects who really are not qualified for what you sell. The best way to achieve this is by qualifying prospects properly. To do this you need to take a look at who are the best prospects for what you sell more closely. Then you can get a direct mail list for your business that will reach your best prospects.

    2. Streamline What You Do

    Hone in on the most profitable products and services and promote these to the people who will buy them. Also look at how work flows through your business. Invest in your infrastructure so that you can deliver more products and services, but do so without taking on more debt. As we have all found in recent years debt is the anchor that will pull you and your business to the bottom of the bay. Plan smartly, save money and then invest. There are often things you can do to streamline your production that does not require spending a lot of money.

    3. Eliminate the Bad Apples

    When you get busy it is easy to overlook and make excuses for employees with bad attitudes. These people are the ones who always make excuses for not doing their job. They are the ones telling you why something cannot be done. These people find problems like there is a reward for them. They are not willing take ownership of their position and often are the cause of extra work for others. They may be the gossip hounds that cause upset. These are the people who are working to make things more difficult for you and are actually working against you and your goals for the company. They may have been with you for years. Unless you like working 70- and 80-hour weeks you need to get rid of them, now.

    Eliminating the bad apples also goes for customers. True enough that when times are bad and business is slower you need all the business you can get from wherever you can find it! But when business is good bad apple customers can make life complicated and a general hell for you and your employees. The bad apple customers are the ones who are the hardest to please and are never happy. They want the cheapest price, the best quality and want it delivered yesterday. The bad apple customers waste time and cause backlogs in delivery because they are so hard to please. Time to fire them as customers! The headache and upset are usually not worth it. By firing them you will unbog production and free up time to work with better customers.

    Bad apple employees and customers cause 80% of your stress and overwork. Your business is booming, now it’s time to promote, streamline and produce.

    4. Make Your Plan and Work Your Plan

    You are busy and business is brisk—it is more important that you set time aside each week to come up with a battle plan. Setting targets and working towards them makes it a lot easier to focus on what is vital to be done, what is necessary and what is not important. Doing so avoids wasting time on the wrong activities.

    Too often, small businesses either do not have targets or do not work towards them effectively and this can result in a lot of wasted time. If you know you are close to achieving a target or you are miles away helps you make the right decisions on which meetings to take and what other activity you need to make time for.

    5. Always Maintain Momentum

    No matter how busy you get, we cannot afford to let activity levels drop to zero! That is why it is vital that you keep promoting. It is a lot easier to keep activity going than it is to restart it.

    Too many businesses owners and managers only promote when they have very little or no business at all and then they find it difficult. No matter how busy you get, your marketing and promotion must keep chugging along.

    Wilson Printing USA can help you keep the momentum going with a target direct mail program.

     

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    10 Tips for Writing Sales Letters That Sell

    Writing Sales Letters That Sell

    Do you want an effective, low cost means of generating leads for your business? You have several tools available to you in your small business marketing tool chest. One of these tools is a sales letter.

    Sales letters can be a very powerful tool for creating leads and sales for your business. Sales letters are a simple and direct way to generate interest in your services.

    Writing a sales letter is a different animal than designing a postcard, but the two do share some common traits. A sales letter is more dependent on language and the written word to tell and sell a story, so copywriting skills become vital.

    Some common questions you may have about sales letters are: How do I start a letter? What should I say in the letter? How long should the letter be? And, will sales letters be effective for my business?

    I’ve been creating successful direct mail programs for small and medium size businesses, including sales letters, for many years. And I’ve learned that writing a letter is like building a house. You start with a good solid foundation.

    The sales letter foundation is built around an understanding of the recipient and the product you are selling.

    • What problems are they having that your product or service solves?
    • Why would they (the reader) want to do business with you? Not your reasons, but the customer’s reasons.
    • What are the benefits of owning your product or using your service?

    The following are 10 keys to writing an effective sales letter:

    1. Use a Fitting Salutation

    If your budget allows, go for personalization. Any letter I receive that starts with “Dear Mark Hale,” is far more likely to get read than one with a generic salutation, “Hello loyal customer,”

    Adding a salutation will add cost because you have to mail merge the letter and then print address on envelope, unless you use a window envelope.

    A form letter mailed to a business audience would read “Dear Family Doctor” or “Dear Marketing Manager.” If nothing else, “Dear Friend” is usually a safe bet. Keep in mind nothing says “junk mail” like an impersonal form letter that starts out “Hello friend.”

    When it comes to personalization, do not step over a dollar to save a penny. What I mean is, the increase in response gained by personalization of your sales letter over saving a few pennies on the cost of mail merge and addressing and sending out a form letter cannot be underestimated.

    2. Headline

    In this case, a headline is the first line of the letter, usually presented as a question that presents a problem.

    You have to create interest in the first 3 lines of your sales letter. There are infinite ways to begin, but you want to create something that is short, attention grabbing, and maybe even a little startling.

    For example: “Did you know that if your child had crooked ugly teeth they are 70% more likely to experience difficulty in life? I found this from personal experience with our first child seeing we did not have the money for braces. Our son Joe’s teeth pointed in all directions of the compass at once, he was very self-conscious about his smile as a result. He always looked unapproachable and unhappy. Later we found this amazing orthodontic program that I wanted to share with you. With this affordable program we were able to afford to fix our son’s teeth. Now our son is very outgoing, successful and happy.”

    Notice how punchy and intriguing the first line is, and how the copy plunges right into the meat of the sales pitch with a story chockfull of specifics.

    3. Use Stories

    When writing a sales letter, one very effective technique is to communicate by telling stories. Your story must present a problem and demonstrate a solution. Use a story to build a mystery that pulls the reader along. As in the example above, I did not tell them what the solution was but hinted at it. The solution would come a little later in the sales letter.

    Of course, your letter opening doesn’t have to be this involved. Sometimes it’s best to get right to the point, as I did in this business-to-business lead generation letter:

    Dear John Doe,
    I have a FREE Demo CD you should see. May I send it to you? 
    This five minute CD demonstrates how our software will free up time and how you can increase your sales 5X in three short months.

    4. Introduce Your Offer on the First Page

    I’ve seen wonderfully persuasive letters in which the offer appears at the end of the letter. The rule is to always present the offer, in some form, on the first page.

    5. If Writing a Multipage Sales Letter, Break Your First Page Mid-Sentence

    Curiosity and the urge for closure will encouraged your readers to flip the page and continue reading when a sentence does not end at the bottom of the first page and continues on the next page.

    For multipage letters, printed on one side only, you might consider doing this on every page. Though doing so could become annoying in letters longer than four pages.

    Anywhere the reader must physically turn a page, consider adding a typed or a handwritten nudge (lower-right of the page), such as, “More” or “Flip over, please.”

    6. Remember the Purpose of Your Sales Letter

    The purpose of your sales letter is to get interest and generate a reach for your service in the form of a phone call, website visit or personal visit to your business. The body of a sales letter should include benefits, facts, testimonials, and specifics of whatever kind required. Be careful not to dump every detail of your product or service in your letter. Too much information will kill the reach. You want your sales letter to make a personal connection with the reader and present your sales pitch.

    If you have a great deal of supporting information you wish to include, then put it in a brochure. Letters and brochures should not duplicate one another. Ideally you would use a brochure to help close the prospect on the service. Some of our clients include the brochure with the letter, while others prefer to send the brochure out as a follow-up piece to prospect that inquired. My recommendation is to send the brochure as a follow-up to inquiries that you did not close. The reason is that people generally will not read a lot of material that is sent to them unsolicited, and too much information will kill the reach. You want to have a live communication with the prospect and most products or services do in fact require a live communication to close the business.

    7. How Long Does a Sales Letter Need to Be?

    A sales letter should be just as long as it needs to be. No more. No less.

    Most true sales letters run 4-8 pages. Longer letters can work for information-intensive products. Shorter letters can work for lead generation and very simple offers.

    An experienced writer will have a sense for what is needed to do the job. This is where knowing your prospect comes in play.

    8. Don’t Forget the Call to Action

    Many sales letters do not know when to quit—they go on and on. You should state your full offer, guarantee, and a clear call to action. Then stop writing. We have other marketing articles on creating a call to action so I won’t go into long detail on that.

    9. Have the Right Person Sign the Letter

    Often, the signature is that of a person of high authority, such as the president of the company. But it could also be a vice-president, editor, publisher, inventor, marketing director, or spokesperson.

    This decision shouldn’t be “political.” Ask yourself, “Who would make this offer? Who would people expect to make this offer? Who would people be most inclined to listen to and believe?”

    When possible, print the signature in blue to make it appear more personal. Also, pay attention to how the signature looks. It should look clean and readable.

    10. Don’t Forget the Postscript

    People like to know whom a letter is from, so they’ll often glance at the signature at the end of the letter before they read anything. Therefore, because of its proximity, the postscript is in a visual hot spot on your sales letter.

    A postscript should be relatively short and should present an important message. This is a prime location to add a buy now offer. If the reader acts now, something else of benefit is offered. To really bring it home, write the postscript in a handwritten font and in blue ink.

    We offer many different types of sales letters from Handwritten Note Cards, to Check Mailers with a Sales Letters to Holiday Cards. All can be a very effective means to generate leads for your business.

    Want to See Free Sample of Sales Letters?

    If we can help you please let us know.

    ©2005-2014 Mark Hale, All Rights Reserved

    Final Check List for Having a Successful Home Show Booth

    Checklist For Trade ShowsNow it is the day of the home show, are you ready? The following is a final checklist for your home show booth:

    1. Neatness counts. Make sure your display is organized and tidy; customers will be turned off by messiness or by having to do too much searching to find what they want. Have all your prices clearly marked.

    2) Have a stock of promotion items that you can use as giveaways at your booth. Small items that people can take away and use (while being reminded about your business) are best. Wilson Printing has catalogs with thousands of give away trinkets everything from coffee mugs, pens and note pads to even golf balls, you name it we can get it printed with your logo on it. Be sure you place these items in a location where people will have to walk into or through your trade show display to get them.

    3) A prize draw or contest is a great way to collect contact information from booth visitors. You can give away promotion items to encourage people to participate.

    4) Plenty of full color product brochures, pamphlets and booklets to hand out. Custom designed sales materials are better than factory supplied materials because you want to brand your company not necessarily the manufacture. Wilson Printing USA can design professional brochures and pamphlets for your business that will help you sell more products and services.

    Need Help with Your Trade Show Brochure?

    5) Make it easy for booth visitors to get information. Use signs in your trade show display to give information about prices, minimum orders, shipping costs, or any other basic information they might need to know in order to save them the trouble of having to wait to ask when you’re not busy with another potential customer. Wilson Printing USA can help you with any size banners and signs you will need for your booth.

    6) Be ready to do business. Be sure you have a good supply of order forms, pens, credit card slips, or anything else you need to conduct sales and keep track of people’s orders.

    7) Have your trade show booth manned at all times. Work out the schedule and make sure all employees have a copy. Someone has to be there to greet browsers, engage them in conversation, and take their questions. If you can’t be there every minute the trade show is open, you’ll need to have at least one other person help man your booth.

    8) Follow up promptly. Who is responsible for following up with leads from the show? Put all leads from show on an excel spreadsheet so they are in one place. The faster you follow up, the more your business will stand out from the rest and the more business you will get. Wilson printing USA can help you with turn key, follow up direct mail pieces. Some trade shows will give you a list of attendees. If you can get the list, then get it. Sending a follow up mailer is extremely effective.

    9) Incentivize your employees. Often they will be on their feet all day, sometimes working overtime. What incentive will motive them? Is it a bonus, time off, a night on the town? It is important to tie the incentive to a specific sales or production target. The idea is to make it fun and reward them for their production at the show.

    ©2005-2014 Mark Hale, All Rights Reserved

    Keep in Touch with Direct Mail Postcards

    Happy People using direct mail postcards

    Your best source of increased sales is from your current customers. The people most likely to purchase your products and/or services are the ones who have paid for them before. They know you. They were happy with their last purchase and you got to bypass that whole “get to know you” step you typically go through with new prospects.

    Combine Google & Social Media With Your Postcard Mailer, Learn More!

    It also costs you far less money to keep a customer than it does to go out and get a new one. The above are the main two reasons that using postcards to keep in touch with your customer database is a must.

    The following are tips to help you get the most out of your direct mail postcards marketing program for existing clients.

    Rule #1: Make sure you get all your customer’s data.

    It sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many businesses do not collect the most basic information from their customers. The more basic rule here is that the more information you have on your customers, the easier it is to market to them. There was a book written by Harvey Mackay who ran a large business envelope manufacturing company. Harvey had what he called the Mackay 66, which basically was 66 pieces of information that they had collected on all their customers.

    Rule #2: Don’t treat your customers like prospects.

    Click Here for Special on Postcards!

    A customer is different from a prospect and a suspect is different from a prospect. Differentiate between people who have placed an order in the past and people who have not.

    It is bad PR to send a customer who has placed a few orders a “10% Discount for First Time Buyers” postcard. It makes you look like you do not know what is going on in your own business. Customers will feel unappreciated. Bottom line, if they don’t qualify for an offer you are sending out, do not send it to them.

    Check Out Our Postcard Samples!

    Rule #3: Don’t let your designs get old and stale.

    When you are mailing to databases of people that you have never spoken to before it is OK to send them the same postcard multiple times, repetition sells.

    Repetitious mailings will help to increase recognition, making people aware of your business and it will eventually increase your response rates too. However, in dealing with customers and prospects that you have already spoken to, you should mix things up a bit. The first rule of marketing is to get noticed so you want your postcard mailer to get attention and also be informative.

    If the promotional mailers that you send to your database get too repetitive, your customers will lose interest and at that point you are just wasting your money on postage because your postcards will not get the attention that you want them to.

    It is a dog-eat-dog competitive market place out there and just being great at what you do is not always enough to keep the customers that you have already earned. You have to find ways to constantly remind your customers that you are the best at what you do. Direct mail postcards are the best way to give them that reminder. We have other tools you can employ to stay in front of your customers as well.

    Click Here for Pricing on Postcards!

    Personalize everything that you can and make sure that what you are sending to a past client actually pertains to them or their company. There are several unique direct mail programs we offer that are personalized and attention getting. If you would like samples or more information on these unique direct mail programs please contact us.

    How to Get More Business from Home Shows and Trade Shows

    Home Show Success

    Home shows and trade shows usually represent a big investment of your time and money. Are you getting enough business from your participation in home shows or trade shows to justify the amount of time and money you invest in them?

    There are lots of ways to improve the success of your trade show participation, for instance, you can increase your returns from buying a snazzy display or by offering product discounts and employee incentives. But many of home shows and trade shows improvement methods come with hefty price tags.

    The follow are 20 ideas you can use to pump up your trade show sales performance without breaking the bank:

    1. Research the trade show before you commit:

    • Does it attract a large number of people from your target audience?
    • What type of audience does the show attract?
    • How are the organizers promoting the show?

    This seems pretty basic, but the more information you can get about the show in advance will help you tailor your display and offers to the attendees.

    2. Give yourself enough time – planning and preparation for a major trade show can take four to six months, for a home show or small trade show you can pull together in four to six weeks if you have a plan:

    • What types of full color printed sales flyers, brochures and catalogs do you need for the show?
    • Do any of your printed sales materials need to be updated?
    • Do the people going to the show need business cards?
    • Do any of the panels in your booth need updated?
    • What type of promotional products do you need for giveaways?

    Looking at this in advance will save you last minute headaches and stress.

    Click Here for Pricing on Flyers & Brochures!

    3. Send e-mail reminders to loyal customers and strong prospects before the show, urging them to stop by your booth. The more self-promotion you do in advance, the better.

    4. Define and write down your goals and objectives for your home show participation. Goals give you something to shoot for and without them you have no direction.

    5. Share these goals and objectives with your booth staff. They can’t help you achieve your goals and objectives if they do not know what they are.

    6. Make sure you have enough manpower to work the booth. Ask organizers what the peak days and times are for traffic. You do not want hundreds of prospects walking by and you have one or two people in your booth.

    7. Give each person you have manning your booth a specific role, with job expectations clearly spelled out. It is also a good idea to give each person a specific quota.

    8. Drill the traffic flow through the booth; everything from how to greet people, polite manners, appropriate body language and how to get a person interested in your product or service. Manners and body language are extremely important. Have you ever walked past a company’s booth and the personnel in the booth are sitting there slouched, looking bored and totally uninterested in what’s going on around them. What kind of impression does this give of your business? Are people more likely to stop or walk by?

    9. Take the time to familiarize your team with the lead collection technology you’ll be using before the trade show. Is it a simple enter to win fish bowl? What type of information do you want to get from prospects?

    10. Make sure at least some of the people going to the show are prepared to answer technical questions. (This is part of step 8)

    11. Send friendly, personable people with a genuine enthusiasm for your company, its products and its services. These may not be your most senior people; make your choices based on effectiveness, not seniority.

    12. Check in with your team throughout the trade show to assess performance, reward positive behaviors, and stop negative trends before they get out of hand.

    13. Establish a dress code for your staffers: They’ll look more professional and act as better ambassadors for your company.

    14. Don’t forget the shoes, hair, and accessories: people notice the details.

    15. Two words: Breath Mints. I don’t think I need to say more on this.

    16. Drill asking qualifying questions with your booth staffers. The more information and the better you qualify the prospects, the better your returns will be.

    17. Product demonstrations are a great way to draw a crowd. Make sure your team knows how to give an effective, engaging presentation by having them practice before the trade show.

    18. If you are sponsoring entertainment, a speaker, or other event, make sure your team knows what to do during this time. From working the crowd to collecting leads, there’s plenty they should be doing to promote your company’s name and image.

    19. Put someone in charge of the booth. This person is the “go-to” person to act as a liaison for trade shows management. The better your relationship with management is, the better your show experience will be.

    20. Establish a follow up protocol for hot leads, promising prospects, and likely customers. Use this protocol to turn leads into sales.

    ©2005-2014 Mark Hale, All Rights Reserved

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