Last post we heard from a great young entrepreneur, Group Story Co-Founder, Geoff Hamrick, regarding a question he had that came down to “time vs. price.” As part of our subsequent email exchange, we discovered another great question.
This had to do with the fact that – at trade shows – he and his business partner, George Junginger, would often meet the prospects they desired to meet but it didn’t seem to go any further. As we’ll see, there is a very good reason for this.
“When demonstrating our product for them at our booth, they love it and ask us to follow-up. We do, but the conversion rate is low. We do our best to establish relationships at these events. George and I are both outgoing, but they meet hundreds of people in a short time span so it becomes ‘out of sight out of mind’ and they are then ‘too busy’ to implement. Even though the reality is it doesn’t take much on their end to put this in place, and we are providing them a cutting edge product that is a perfect fit for preserving group memories.”
Geoff, I’m pretty sure I see a big part of the problem. Yes, you “establish” relationships at these events, but that – in and of itself – counts close to nothing. You are right; out of sight – out of mind. And, there is no relationship.
Your job is not just to establish the relationship, but to “cultivate” the relationship. You do that by sending a personalized, handwritten note to the person afterwards (not an email, a personalized handwritten note) and finding ways to gently communicate value to the relationship in an ongoing, non-obtrusive manner.
Again, only after they know, like and trust you are they going to take the time to REALLY learn about the product and implement something that they previously knew nothing (or very little) about.
Geoff, on a personal note, I so admire you putting yourself out there to go after the business. You obviously have a passion for what you do and for the value you offer others. I also admire you for being anxious enough to learn that you will ask questions. I have a feeling you and George are going to go far in the business world. Best wishes for great success!
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Hi Bob. This is George Junginger (@georgeju) from Group Story. Thanks for the advice. Without the personal touch, I guess it feels a little bit like parading people through an assembly line – AKA the exhibit hall. I get emails and phone calls, but something I can hold in my hand? That would make a huge impact. Some of the newest research in Neuromarketing seems to back that up. When comparing online advertising with a printed piece, something someone holds in their hands, it causes more emotional processing. You can find the article at http://bit.ly/am6cna
Hi George, thank you for your note. Didn’t mean to ignore you; I think yours came in while I was answering the others’. So glad you enjoyed the article. I hope it makes a significant difference for you and Geoff Hamrick in your business.
Great post Bob. The link when you click on “ongoing, non-obtrusive manner” even takes this point to another level. Thanks again. I will work on this during this tax season.
I totally agree, Bob. Thanks for sharing this.
It’s a shift in attitude; the difference between collecting as many business cards as you can and taking the time to get to know a few people intimately. What helps me is concentrating on quality over quantity. I figure developing a few real relationships at an event is more important than filling up a database with maybes.
Thanks for this reminder Bob. The hand-written note is key. Going to get mine printed today. I used to use a notecard with my logo on it, but I like yours better and feel they really stand out. I like to take just a minute or 2 to be quiet and still before I start writing. I gratefully think about the person I’m writing to, recalling our last meeting. I believe this adds much to the words I put on the card and I think that comes through to the recipient.
Bob… this is such a wonderful reminder. Although we often remember the need to “build” relationships, we often forget the need to nurture and cultivate them by adding value. To Geoff’s point, it’s not a business card collecting game… we don’t want to be “drive-by” networkers (thank you for the term Rich Anderson, my friend).
Geoff: And, the cool thing is, the deeper the relationships you develop, the more high-quality referrals you’ll receive. So, by focusing on quality, you’ll receive more quality. Thank you!
Linda: What a great idea to set a positive frame. Awesome. Thank you!
Sabrina: Right on, my friend. Excellent point. Thank you!
Jeff: I greatly appreciate that, and so glad you found it to be of value. Thank you!
Perhaps it is time for a paradigm shift of what is going on at the booth. Consider whether the action at the booth is….at is at so many booths…all about the booth owner. So many booths scream, “look at ME.”
The booth should be the start of demonstrating a genuine Go-Giver philosophy. Make the visit about the visitor, and you will differentiate yourself from all those booths screaming “look at ME.”
Bob, believe you got it very right that George is indeed on his way to dramatically improving his sales…as evidenced by his willingness to publicly ask for help in accelerating his success.
Great advice, Dave, for any company; for anyone who exhibits. That’s something we see at practically every trade show, isn’t it?
Bob- reviewing your original comments, the inquiry and feedback above I see parallels to an individual job hunter and their outreach to prospective networking connections. Isn’t it necessary not only to make an initial contact and have good interpersonal chemistry and shared interests, but to also follow up and build on this original meeting? By repeating this positive encounter with more conversations, meetings, correspondence, etc., trust develops and each party starts to build credibility and mutual respect and concern for the other. One-off exchanges or transactions rarely generate the same results level of commitment or action as a relationship. Those who want their contacts to turn into sales, clients, more referrals, etc., should be prepared to invest in following up and cultivating more in common which stems from interacting, communicating, being generous, providing help, offering introductions, etc. There are no shortcuts to relationships and it is this human element that drives business, doesn’t it? Who would you prefer to buy from, a “friend” or someone else?
All terrific points, Debra. That’s why you are a recognized expert as an Executive Job Search Consultant. Thank you for sharing how this relates to obtaining the job one desires.