Archive | March, 2010

3 Reasons Why You Should Speak the Universal Tradeshow Language

Did you know that there is a universal tradeshow language, and, almost everyone of you reading this knows how to speak it, even though you, perhaps, don’t recognize it as such?

Regardless of language or culture, we learn this communication style at a very early age, but often tend to forget it as we grow older.

You’ve probably guessed that I’m referring to the language of “smiling.” A language we so admire in kids, who just know how to beam from ear to ear to show their pure joy.

On the tradeshow floor, there are many gestures that communicate a host of different gestures both positive and negative. Some are offensive, and some misunderstood. However, a smile speaks to, almost everyone, as a sign of friendliness, and approachability.

Plus, it’s been said that speaking the “smiling” language is good for your health.

Here are three reasons why you should practice this simple, easy, yet highly effective, communication tool on the show floor:

1.  Smiling makes you more approachable.
When you smile, you attract people to you.  This attraction factor acts like a magnet. People do business with people they like and they trust.  Being approachable is the first step to encourage this relationship. Grimaces that show your lack of enthusiasm, or interest for being at the show, are more likely to repel prospects rather than attract them to you — but a smile draws them in.
Plus, smiling people come across as being more confident. Check out the difference in the way people react to you when you smile, rather than frown.

2.  Smiling is a mood changer.

Often, the long show hours, the stale show floor air, and the slow traffic, can make you feel down, and depressed. Put a smile on your face, and there’s a high probability your mood will make a shift for the better. It’ll help you stay positive, and add some energy when you most need it. It’s been said that smiling can trick the body into helping you change your mood.  Plus, any time you’re feeling a little stressed on the show floor, smile and you’ll be amazed at how this little “pick me up” works.  Give it a try next time you feel a little down or stressed.

3. Smiling is catching.

When you smile, there’s a strong chance that you make others do the same.  Just think of the last time you “coo-cooed” at a baby, they smiled at you, and you probably returned the compliment. When you smile, you lighten up the environment, change people’s moods, and set the “likeability factor” into action.

According to my good friend, and colleague, Rick Segel, the retail guru, “logic makes us shop BUT emotions make us buy. Many times, the biggest thing that differentiates one business from another is the “likeability factor.” We are in the people business. Customers don’t buy logically; they buy emotionally.”

Smiling speaks to that. But, don’t take my word for it, give it a try!


3 Ways to Avoid Social Media Suicide On Or Off The Tradeshow Floor

A few weeks ago I watched on Twitter as a marketer committed social media suicide.

Within hours after someone tweeted about having a severe, nearly fatal allergic reaction, she received a marketing message from a company that sells non-allergenic products. So far, so good. The marketer had obviously set up a search on the appropriate term and used the information to reach out to a potential customer.

Unfortunately, the marketing message was poorly targeted and offensively presented. Not only was the recipient angry at the clumsy overture, she responded in such a way that everyone reading her tweetstream would become aware of the problem. The marketer garnered some bad publicity for his company.

Then, instead of apologizing, the marketer made a bad situation worse by defending his actions. The potential customer has now publicly vowed never to use the company’s products, and she has told a number of people about the problem. More bad publicity.

Three lessons from this marketing debacle:

1. Search terms are not enough.
If the marketer had actually read the tweet, he would have known enough about the situation to avoid offending a potential customer with mistaken assumptions. If you are selling cat toys, for example, don’t try marketing to someone who has tweeted either “I hate cats” or “My cat just died.” Either one is likely to be unproductive at best.

2. Social media messages are not ads, they are personal conversations.
The strategies that work well in a print or TV ad don’t work in door-to-door selling—and social media are much more akin to direct sales. Always remember that you’re talking to an individual on her own territory. Be respectful, friendly, and aware of her feelings.

3. When you’ve angered the customer, apologize.
Arguing with the customer’s reaction just makes matters worse. It’s okay to explain that you didn’t intend to be insensitive, but apologize sincerely for having caused offense. This leaves the potential customer in a forgiving mood, and you may make a sale anyway.