The Most Common Reasons Businesses Lose Sales at Exhibitions

27 July 2017

Dubai is the home of exhibitions and events in the region. Every year, there are hundreds of opportunities – big and small – for businesses of all sizes and ages to promote themselves to the local and international market. The exhibition season starts around September, and goes on till May, with a few events through the summer.

The average investment for a serious business looking to win a piece of the profit pie is no less than AED 30,000, and that’s for basic space, basic stall and basic salespeople – and, in this market, basic = forgettable. To have a stand and a space that truly reflect you and your brand (and your quality!), you’d do well to set aside several times that amount.

And yet, year after year, I see companies that have invested tens – or even hundreds – of thousands in their stand, and yet fail to make the impact they desired, because the people at their stand let them down.

Allow me to highlight some of the most common reasons why businesses don’t make as much money as they could at exhibitions because of their salespeople:

No consistency:

Each salesperson has their own way of meeting and interacting with a visitor. When I’m looking for a vendor whom I can rely on implicitly, I will be on the lookout for any possible thing that is out of place. I have no reason to trust you, and – when six different employees all have their own way of doing things – I will doubt your ability, as an organization, to deliver consistently.

No script:

(Note: I am not advocating mindless, robotic script-following) When a visitor comes to a stand, she may only be there for a few minutes. She’ll be given a card, be given a spiel, be ‘told’ whatever the salesperson manages to say in those few minutes…and then she’s gone forever. The salespeople are often not trained on the most important element: what to ask, in order to get the information which will be useful later.

No process:

Once a visitor has left the stand, what happens? In most businesses, nothing happens. There may be a generic ‘thank you for visiting’ message (see the next point) sent to the visitor, and that’s only if their information was properly captured. During the rest of the year, a robust CRM is typically employed to track every single lead that comes in every day. But after spending AED100,000+ on an event, there is remarkably inefficiency in tracking the hundreds of leads received in the course of three days. And how easy is it to ‘lose’ money through this inefficiency?

No memorable follow-up:

“Dear {insert First Name here}, thank you for visiting our stall at the previous {event name}. We hope you enjoyed your visit, and look forward to doing business with you soon.” … [DELETE] The visitors to the event will get dozens, if not hundreds, of follow-up emails. How memorable is the above typical email?

Let’s pretend I visited the stall of a company that provides fingerprint locking systems for offices. The same evening (not three days after the event!) I get an email that says:

“Dear Mr. Manji. Thank you for visiting us earlier today. We hope the Fingerprint Locking System you saw was to your satisfaction, and would love to come and further demonstrate it to you at your office. It will only take 25 minutes, and your facilities or office manager would benefit from being part of the demonstration. A sample daily, system-generated report is attached to this email, so you can see how backend operates. If you would be interested, please click here and we will call to arrange a demonstration at a convenient time for you. Thank you once again, and we hope to see you soon.”

Do you think this email may have a better conversion rate?

For each visitor, you only get one opportunity to make the investment work for you. On the 24th of August, we’ll be running a half-day, intensive sales workshop, where the attendees will learn what it takes to capitalize on that one shot.

Click here to see what your sales process can really do for you.