(This is another guest post by my friend John McCabe . As I head to a conference next week myself, it will be interesting to see who has evolved their trade show processes. I’ll be sure to have some comments here after that)
At a networking event, business meeting, conference or any other such venue, vendor and attendee lists are typically provided in advance. With this data in hand, before the event, I perform my due diligence, learning more about the companies that will be there. Once I complete this evaluation, I begin to formulate a list of companies I wish to speak to first, second, and so on.
So if I am speaking to a representative of your company, I already know what you do and what you are trying to sell me. I also know your representative is trying to obtain my contact information at all cost so I can receive a deluge of communications. Valuable or not, too much of a good thing is never a good thing in this case. If those communications are unwanted, it takes me longer to get your company to leave me alone than creating world peace. And now you run the risk of your spam campaigns being front and center of some viral social media rant.
When I speak to a representative of your company and they hand me a business card, I already know what’s on it, your physical location, logo and probably even the rep’s contact information (assuming they are on LinkedIn). The business card is a touch point that is highly underleveraged in most cases. I want to know about the salesperson, as a person. What do they like? What is their work history? What good books have they read? Provide me an authentic, in-depth picture of the person with whom I am going to do business. Give me a reason why I should continue investing my time. A static business card, to me, equals a static company. I will not deal with you even if you are the best price in the marketplace.
On the other hand, wouldn’t it be great to hand me a card that has, in addition to a name, e-mail address, mobile phone and social i.d.’s, a QR or 2D barcode on it! Remember, I already know about your company. Now, I am highly interested because you have made me an interactive connector with your company’s online brand presence. Engaging right there on the spot via my smartphone with your digital content. Vine clips, YouTube channel, interactive demos, blog, mobile website and other interesting nuggets. Now we have a reason to continue our conversation at your exhibit booth.
Now, when I equate the individual with the company, I will always remember not just the physical but the social, digital interaction we had since you made that part of the process. Now I know that you and your company have embraced the current B to B buying landscape. You have created value for me before the sale, before we are even close to a transaction.
Call it #socialselling or whatever buzzword you choose. Isn’t that what all selling should always be about?
P.S. Be always diligent. Since we are engaged socially based on this positive interaction, your company must be ready to deal with the inverse, should a hiccup ever arise. Just do what you are telling me you are going to do. Continue to be authentic.