“Some of the best inventive moments are born out of ‘wrong thinking’. Most people start with the right way so they all follow the same path.”
This post is not urging you to dare to be different for the sake of being different. Instead, I’m urging you to do things differently if you want to achieve improved results. Results that are better than those achieved to date be that at trade shows or in sales generally.
1. Dare to think
If you’ve ever watched the BBC’s Apprentice, you will be familiar with this scenario. A group of bright, young people end up in the judgement dock of Lord Alan Sugar. They are there because their group has failed at a sales task he gave to them a day or so previously.
They have lost to the “other” team. Sometimes the margin of defeat is very slim. Usually both teams have performed more poorly than would be expected in relation to the task and their intelligence. Why is that?
Mostly it’s because they didn’t think deeply enough about what the real goal or objective was. If they had, a different course of action would have kept them out of that particular Boardroom episode and the judgement that awaited them.
2. Dare to think differently
Being a person of action, someone who gets things done is great. In the Apprentice, candidates often highlight this quality when talking about themselves. But, you want to ensure that you get the right things done and in the right order. Being able to think deeply and then act will increase your chances of success when it comes to solving sales or business problems.
Thinking creatively about a solution and how it could be applied will also make you “different.” Too many times, sales people will rush into a task, keen to be taking action. Usually though, they are doing things as they have been done before. Using the same words, sales materials or exhibition stand may not be the best answer. It usually isn’t.
3. Dare to be creative
It took me a long time to realise that colleagues were scared of looking silly when asked for “ideas.”
Fear of ridicule holds many back from volunteering what they think. Maybe they had bad experiences at school were facts rather than ideas where what mattered in the eyes of teachers. Some businesses beat creativity out of their people, usually because of poor, autocratic leadership. Consequently, many of us don’t think that we are “creative.”
Well, you are. Indeed, many of us are, but unfortunately, outside of our jobs.
To be instantly more creative try this. Grab a pad and write an objective at the top of the page. Next, jot down any idea that comes into your head that’s related to the issue. It doesn’t matter how wacky the answers are, write them down as they form in your mind. For increased ideas power do this exercise with colleagues.
Want to get to the bottom of why people aren’t buying your product? Want to drastically improve your show performance next time? Need to fill a sales gap in order to reach target in the time still available? Get jotting.
List your ideas and possible solutions. Keep coming back to your pad and add more. Rank the ideas in order of most effective to least effective. When you have a short list, think again and see what other ideas flow from this list. Can you link any of the ideas together for even greater effect? If you take this course of action, what will be the steps needed to make this idea a reality?
4. Dare to get feedback and input
When you have your idea and before you embark on a course of action, look for input from other sources. Plan to radically change your stand and how you want it to look or work at a show? Go to your stand designer or builder. Want to introduce pricing incentives for show visitors? Talk to your Head of Finance to see what the knock-on effect to margin or profitability may be. You don’t want to catch a cold on this issue.
Want to know how your product or service could be improved? Talk to clients. Welcome their input on what they like and don’t like about what you provide. Who would they like your company to be more like in their supply chain and why?
Once you have this feedback, go back to your ideas list. Amend your ideas and solutions using the knowledge obtained. Re-plot your action list and move forward.
5. Move fast
If you’re reading this and thinking this is a slow process, ancient wisdom explains why it isn’t.
“You have to go slow in order to go fast.”
Going slowly at the start means getting the groundwork done properly.
Taking time to think, explore ideas and obtain input from sources beyond yourself will increase efficiency of process later. You will be much faster and more efficient in execution of your plans. Less time and money will be needed for course corrections later, something that often happens when the initial preparation work has been done poorly.
6. Dare to cut away the unessential
Hack away vague statements in order to hone and promote the true, core proposition for your business, product or service. This should be the USP that resonates most with your audience. When you exhibit, it’s this message that you want to promote, to build your display and graphics around. You are telling people that if they come to this stand, they will get THIS. Whatever THIS happens to be.
If you are in sales or marketing, what is it that your company is offering to do better than anyone else? You may have the same basic product as six other businesses, but there must be something that you do or offer that is better then them. If not, your company has a problem. Find that thing or those things and build your sales story around them.
Oh, your not the Head of Marketing? What’s that got to do with anything? If you work in the business, if you are vested in some way, even if that just means your salary depends on your job… dare to think!
You might just become the HOM or Director of Sales some time in the near future if you go about your work in this way. Heck it worked for me and it can work for you too.
Try this approach from today onwards and build a reputation for yourself as a creative, ideas, achiever. Dare to be different. Start in small ways if you need to build confidence. But start, that’s the most important thing.
#exhibitorsonly #creativethinking #eventprofs