This is the eighth of nine articles written by Matt Michel. This article can be read in its entirety on the Service Roundtable website. The article gives advice of what to do and what not to do at home shows.
72. Review Leads Daily. Whoever completes a lead sheet should review it at the end of each day. Sometimes notes written in a hurry are undecipherable a few days latter. What were clear notes at the time the lead was collected can quickly become cryptic references.
73. Classify Leads. Use some form a lead classification system to help prioritize post show follow up. One system is to classify leads as hot, warm, lukewarm, and cold. Hot leads are excited and ready to buy now. Cold leads, by contrast, are unlikely to buy anytime soon. Warm and lukewarm are gradients in between. If possible, classify the lead at the time it is collected. Just wait until after the prospect leaves to do so.
74. Bring Extra Business Cards. You can run out of other collateral, but don’t run out of business cards. Typically, people who take a business card are interested in using your services.
75. Be Interested. Do not turn your back on the show traffic. Face outward. Smile. Set your mobile phone to silent. Don’t use the phone in the booth. Don’t read your Blackberry. Don’t talk with co-workers, while ignoring show traffic. Don’t do anything that indicates disinterest.
76. Engage Everyone. Never let a visitor wander through your booth without speaking to anyone. Think of the booth as your home. Would you let someone wander through your home without saying anything? If not, don’t let anyone wander through your booth without approaching him. If everyone is busy with prospects, don’t disengage qualified prospects for a possibly unqualified visitor. Instead, pause your conversation, make eye contact with the visitor, smile, and say you’ll be right with him. Then, return your full attention to your prospect.
77. Ask Open-End Questions. As people approach your booth or walk by, engage them. Ask open-end questions. Ask, “What are you looking for at the show today?” “What do you know about indoor air quality?” Avoid any question that can be answered with a yes or no. The trick is to engage.
78. Qualify With Ruthlessness. Many, if not most of the attendees at a home show will not be legitimate prospects. Some aren’t homeowners. Some do not live in your service territory. Some simply have no interest. Use the questioning process to find out who is a legitimate prospect and who is not. Every minutes spent with an unqualified visitor is a minute wasted.
Assume you spend ten minutes with each prospect. For an eight-hour show, that results in a theoretical maximum of 48 prospects per booth worker (i.e., 6 prospects/hour X 8 hours = 48 prospects). Assume a booth worker encounters two unqualified visitors an hour. This can reduce your theoretical maximum productivity by one third (i.e., 4 qualified prospects/hour X 8 hours = 32 prospects).
If, after qualifying, you reduce the time spent with unqualified visitors from 10 minutes to 5 minutes, you boost your productivity by 25% (i.e., 5 qualified prospects/hour X 8 hours = 40 prospects). Frankly, even five minutes is too much time. If it takes five minutes to qualify and disengage an unqualified visitor, and you spend five minutes with two unqualified visitors an hour, each booth worker is wasting an hour and twenty
minutes out of an eight-hour show.
If the visitor is not qualified, disengage quickly. Thank the visitor for stopping by and wish them a good show. Sometimes, handing the visitor a piece of your collateral while you thank him for stopping by can help you disengage.
79. Use an Elevator Speech. An elevator speech is a short description of your company. It’s called an elevator speech because it’s short enough to give in an elevator. In the elevator speech, describe the services you offer, who you serve, and why you’re different.
Here’s an example:
We are a plumbing company providing repair and installation services for existing homes in South Denton County. We started the company over a decade ago with the simple philosophy that we will respect our customers in all aspects of our service. That means we arrive when we promise so you won’t wait around all day. We conduct background checks on our employees so you don’t need to worry who is coming into your home. We use well trained, quality mechanics who do the work right the first time so you won’t have to call us back to fix our mistakes. We clean up so you don’t have to. We guarantee our repairs for two full years, longer than any other company.
Matt Michel is the CEO of the Service Roundtable . For a FREE, no strings copy of his audio CD, “Staying Positive in a Negative World,” or to comment on this column, contact Matt at [email protected] or call his mobile at 214/995.8889. For information on the Service Roundtable, call toll free 877/262.3341.