Be honest, how many times has your business shelled out a fortune to stand at a business expo only to come away with not much idea of why you did it in the first place? We’ve all been there. But by answering a few simple questions you can delight your customers in ways beyond cheap branded mugs and ensure you’re better equipped to a) stand out from the crowd, b) get more bang for your buck and c) deliver on your plans better than ever before.
Question 1: Why are you in business?
Listen, if you only take one thing away from this article, then it should be this. Heck you should be asking yourself this question before you brush your teeth each morning. So, let’s try a little experiment. Quickly write down why your business is… in business. If you answered ‘CASH!!!’ or ‘because we sell solutions that increase your productivity, agility and enable you to grow” then please accept my apologies because I have already fallen asleep. And it’s likely that your prospects will do the same.
“Very few organisations know why they do what they do. And by why I don’t mean to make a profit that’s a result… what’s your purpose?” Simon Sinek, author of The Golden Circle.
Yes, according to minds much cleverer than mine, it’s not what you do that leaves a lasting impression, but why you do it that matters. Why is how you explain your purpose for being in business. Simon Sinek explains that successfully articulating the ‘why’ communicates with the limbic part of the brain that influences behaviour. This part of the brain processes feelings like trust, loyalty and decision making. Basically, the “Why” is the grounding of a compelling value proposition that (if you nail before your expo) will make you stand out in a crowd of businesses that in essence all do the same thing. The ‘why’ is everything.
Question 2: WHY are you exhibiting at THIS event?
Confession, I’ve put together several events where I’ve thought I had done everything right. From understanding why we’re in business, defining an awesome proposition and had a stand as busy as a weather reporter in a tornado. But afterwards I’ve come away unsure as to whether it was a successful event or not. It certainly felt successful and everyone seemed to love our offering, but to determine your success you need to define what you need to get out of the event before you agree to do it. This way you can tailor a plan to ensure you meet a specific target during the exhibition.
So, please humour me with this next experiment. Imagine the event costs £10,000 and requires 4 of your best sales reps out of the office for the day. How many conversations does each salesperson need to have and how many leads to opportunities do you need for you to turn a profit that makes it worth your time? This is everything folks: if something is not worth your time or helping towards your business objectives, then why are you doing it? You need to spend your time doing important tasks that have a direct impact on your objectives rather than just being busy fools. Seems obvious, right?
The second part of this question revolves around WHICH event you’re attending; is this the best event for your specific messaging and are the delegates attending in your sweet spot? Could you spend your limited budget elsewhere and get a better return on investment? Don’t just show up and hope for the best, define your goals and put a plan together that delivers ROI – and finally, measure success, report on it and plan to improve.
Question 3: WHAT is your plan?
You probably thought all the questions were going to start with “Why” so joke’s on you. However, it’s unlikely you’ve read this far, so joke’s on me. Either way, HOW (twist!) you prepare and plan for an event trumps every other point. Things to think about when planning include ALL the above and more. You need to set deadlines for every little thing, have a weekly catch-up meeting with all the key stakeholders and Gantt chart the whole thing to death so you don’t miss anything at all.
For example, how are you capturing leads? When does your collateral need to be done by? Who is manning your stand and for how long? I can go on forever here, but the point is that even a poor plan executed diligently is better than the best plan in the world executed terribly (or not at all). So, get a plan and execute without prejudice and simply put, become heroes in your business with sweet, sweet ROI.