Why Your Candy Dish is Killing Your Trade Show Sales

November 30th, 2012

Candy Dishes Killing Trade Show Sales“When I attend a trade show, I only stop at booths that have candy dishes. Because, if you have candy, you must be a terrific company. And the greater the variety of candy you have, the more likely I am to buy your product or service.”

This sentiment has never been expressed by anyone, ever. But you’d think it was the proven mindset of every prospect out there, based on the prevalence of candy dishes at trade shows.

What else could account for the ubiquity of sugary treats at shows large and small? Is there a clause in every trade show contract that mandates every exhibitor provide sweets? Did some company put out a candy dish at the very first trade show thousands of years ago in Mesopotamia and everyone has blindly copied the practice ever since?

Whatever the reason—Cut it out!!

Unless you actually sell candy, having a candy dish at your booth is pointless. In fact, it’s worse than pointless—it’s detrimental.

Here are five reasons why candy dishes are bad for your trade show sales:

1. They cause non-prospects to approach your exhibit, taking your attention away from real prospects.
Every person who approaches your booth commands your attention, even if only momentarily. The more people there are jockeying for your attention, the harder it is to focus and be effective. Worse, many attendees feel slightly guilty helping themselves to candy, so they alleviate that guilt by feigning interest in your company. That occupies even more of your time, leaving less for actual prospects.

2. They cause you to be lazy in your planning.
An effective trade show effort requires a lot of planning: pre-show promotion, staffing, signage, show message, giveaways, post-show follow-up and more. But a candy dish can lull you into the mistaken belief that you don’t need to do all of that: “We’ll put out a candy dish and people will stop and talk with us and we can make our pitch and that’ll work.”

3. They take up valuable real estate in your exhibit.
Space is at a premium at a trade show. You’re paying a lot of money for every square foot. Why waste some of it on something that has nothing to do with your company?

4. You have to take time to refill the stupid dish.
The other element at a premium during a show is your time. Do you really want to spend it refilling a candy dish every 20 minutes? And heaven forbid you run out—now it looks like your company isn’t even competent enough to keep a candy dish filled!

5. They make you look like everyone else.
One of the biggest challenges at trade shows is differentiating your company from all the other exhibitors. In order for you to stand out, you need to be as different as possible. A candy dish does just the opposite, making you more forgettable.

Here’s a heretical idea: Rather than giving away candy, how about giving away something that actually relates to your product or service? Something your prospects can use? (And people who aren’t your prospects wouldn’t bother with?) Something exceptionally cool or fun that will cause people to talk, tweet and post about you? Something unique that positions your company as innovative and exceptional?

Give the issue some thought. Sure, a candy dish is the easy way out, which is why it’s used by so many of your competitors. But if you come up with a better tactic, you’ll outsell them all show long.

Are You Repelling Business?

November 19th, 2012

By guest blogger Marilyn Suttle

There are many reasons why your business might not be doing as well as you’d like. Don’t bother blaming outside factors like the economy. And don’t waste your time shaming yourself for not having a crystal ball about past decisions. Start attracting quality customers now, by dropping your defenses while you read and respond to the following questions. Your honest answers could provide valuable insight.

Who’s your ideal customer?
Can you easily define who you are here to serve? Don’t fool yourself into believing it’s, “Anyone with a pulse.” The clearer you are about who your company is designed to help, the easier it will be for those customers to get that “I belong here” feeling that will attract them to your company.

Is your message boring your customers to death?
Are your online-presence, your marketing material and your sales staff focusing on the customer experience? Or are you showing off by droning on and on about your boring “features.” I’ve been guilty of this myself. When my book, “Who’s Your Gladys?” came out, I wanted to tell people all about the features of the book – as if they cared! I shared that each chapter has real-life stories – boring! I shared how at the end of each chapter you find a check list of practical points – boring! I shared that there’s Q & A and fill-in-the-blank tests – boring! What our readers want to know is: How will reading this book improve my business? How will it bring me more customers? How will it solve my problems? Focusing on the features is like giving them details about the bus that’s driving them to Disneyland. Nobody wants to hear about the vehicle. They want to hear about the destination! Tell them about the Disneyland experience that your business offers. Unless you can send a clear message of the results of doing business with you, your message is lost.

Do you focus too much on your customers’ needs?
Back in 2000, I attended a conference with a fellow trainer who told me I needed to start, “Wrapping up what your customers need with what they want.” They may need better parenting skills. What they want is a happier family. What’s going to excite them more – talk of the parenting class or talk of experiencing happier, more connected family relationships? You got it – the want always beats the need. You won’t be able to give customers what they need unless you first get in touch with what they want, and how your business satisfies that want. (Did you notice that this point is similar to the point above? Sometimes it helps to ask the same question in a different way.)

Are you at cross purposes?
You may be crystal clear about who your ideal clients are and equally clear about what you’re offering. You may have crafted a compelling message. None of that will matter if you’re at cross purposes. Are you? If your ideal customers are senior citizens, and the primary way to order your product is through a smart-phone app, you’re probably not accessible to your target market. If you love working with social workers and teachers, but you have Lamborghini prices, you may be stressing out and pushing away the people with whom you want to do business. Consider if what you’re offering makes sense to the market you’re going after. Create alignment and you’ll soar.

Do you practice positive thinking without positive action?
It’s easy to get caught up in the belief that if you think positively, business will come. The truth is, business will come if you think positively AND act positively. It takes both. Imagine a young boy with a hairbrush in his hand, singing rock and roll songs in front of his bathroom mirror. He thinks positively of winning a spot on American Idol. He might be the best singer in the world, though unless he auditions, he doesn’t have a shot. The courage to take inspired action is required.

There are so many more questions I’d like to add, though your answers to this list may be enough to help you catapult into the client-attraction zone. How will you turn these questions into actions in your business?

Marilyn Suttle is the bestselling author of Who’s Your Gladys? How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fan. Marilyn travels internationally to deliver service excellence keynotes and workshops. She inspires her clients to excel by creating strong, productive relationships in every area of life. Marilyn specializes in creating “Suttle Shifts” in the way people think and act to produce massive results. When you need a keynote speaker or success coach, Marilyn can be reached at (248) 348-1023, marilyn@marilynsuttle.com or visit www.whosyourgladys.com.


What to Do When the Sale Is Stalled

November 8th, 2012
Sales Stalls

© Lisafx | Stock Free Images

They seemed interested. And they have the money. But they’re not buying! What’s going on? And what can you do about it?

Listen to my appearance on Breakthrough Business Strategies Radio with Michele Price. In this twelve-minute segment, I share four reasons stalls happen and six ways you can overcome them.

To listen, just click on the link below. Or to download the segment to listen later, right-click the link and select “Save Target As…”

What to Do When the Sale Is Stalled: Don Cooper on Breakthrough Business Strategies Radio (mp3)

To learn more about Michele Price and listen to her interview other business experts on Breakthrough Business Strategies Radio (which I highly recommend), check out WhoIsMichelePrice.com.