It’s that time of year once again.
The time of resolutions and thoughts of how to change things for the better personally, professionally or both.
If you are thinking deeply about how you can make sales breakthroughs for your business this year and how you can use trade shows to develop sales, here are some ideas you might want to consider.
1. Be clear on who the people and businesses are that can really make the difference: Then think about how your business makes their lives wonderfully better
Clarity is a beautiful thing.
It means, to quote Bruce Lee, hacking away the nonessentials.
The nonessentials are the things we do that don’t support our big ambitions.
The wasted TV time, the screen surfing, staying longer in bed than we should.
These things subtly but surely eat time that could be better spent elsewhere.
So when we complain that we don’t have enough time in our lives, we do, but we just don’t use it wisely.
Time management books and experts teach that we have to cut out unimportant tasks.
Remove the things that suck precious time out of our days. Those are nonessentials.
Working and planning this way enables us to create bigger blocks of time for important work.
The same principles apply when it comes to making big gains in sales.
By cutting out the clutter of past marketing plans and sales forecasts you can think deeply about who your company is best able to serve and how to best connect with those people.
2. Who are the people and businesses that get the most benefit from what you do?
In the market you serve, there will be a group of people or businesses that really get and like what you do.
Hopefully, your business has been constructed to delight this group of individuals.
That’s not to say that what you offer is perfect. There is always room for improvement in everything. But for some people whether they know it yet or not, what you offer is just what they need.
And, this group hold the key to making those huge leaps in sales you are determined to create.
However, one of the temptations in ambitious sales planning is to think about all of the possible customers that are out there.
“The potential for what we do is huuuuuuggge”
Yes, eventually it might be but for solid gains in the short-term, you need to narrow the focus, not widen it.
Who are the people for whom you make life wonderfully better, easier or more profitable?
Where are they and what do they value most?
3. Your sales team understands client pain. Your job: Explain how your business will heal it
The people who sell whatever it is that your company offers will be able to enlighten you about the things that are most important to your target clients.
And, if you are one those people you will have heard many of those things yourself.
Look at your notes. Think back to the conversations you’ve had and the comments you’ve read.
Extract the same from your sales colleagues. Look for the links and themes.
Once again though, it’s important to be focused.
Your interest should be with the concerns and complaints of people who meet your ideal sales profile.
What is this group of people really telling your business about the problems, concerns, and pressures they face?
What can your business do to remove one or more of those problems?
Conveying how you will heal that pain, relieve the stress and provide a solution that works should lie at the heart of your marketing messages.
4. Are you exhibiting at the right shows?
When it comes to using trade shows to grow a business, this is obviously a fundamental question.
In order to grow your sales in a big way, you need to put your business into events that attract significant numbers of the right type of prospective clients.
The definition of significant is going to vary depending on the industry that you operate in and the size of the segment that you serve.
Your sales team can be invaluable in helping you to choose the right events.
They may make suggestions for new events that should be considered and others that should be dropped or cut-back.
You don’t need to take their thoughts as gospel but you should investigate their ideas and suggestions.
5. Build your show story around the needs of your would-be clients
Our thinking is often, even if we don’t think this consciously, all about what we want.
A business has inventory that needs to be sold, people that need to be gainfully occupied.
These needs are often at the forefront of business thinking and they often create the focus of our sales and marketing goals and what we, collectively as a business need to achieve.
Ironically, turning things around 180 degrees and focusing on what our would-be clients need to achieve can make our businesses more successful in the sales stakes.
For a start, it colours how we will communicate and resonate with the target market.
Instead of pushing things at them, we invite them to connect with us to discuss issues they feel are important to them.
How exactly do you do that? I’ll offer some concrete suggestions in Friday’s issue.
Right now the quest is to get your story straight.
To find the things that resonate with the audience you seek to serve and to be very clear on the solutions that you are offering.
These are the things that are going to be included in your pre-show marketing, on your stand graphics and digital screens and in a host of other event-related places.
Deep thinking and the translation of thoughts into action, can help you achieve the big changes that you wish to make.
Create space in your schedule for this work. Hack away those non-essentials that have been getting in your way.
Do this work first and you can create a clear vision of what success actually looks like and how you can go about achieving it.