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Are You Really Paying to Have a Stand at Conferences?


Are You Really Paying to Have a Stand at Exhibitions

I’m sitting in the London ExCel centre, which if you didn’t know is the biggest exhibition space in London, and I’m thinking; really?  Yes, today is the annual get together of Sales, Marketing and Call Centre folks.  The ExCel centre is one of this “modular” exhibition spaces that can be as big or as small as your exhibition space can be.

When I first started in sales 25 years ago, I could see the need for exhibitions.  We lived in a non-internet enabled world, (remember that).  How else would we get information on a companies products or services.  I remember standing on a stand in Harrogate at the Human Resources (HR) and Personnel show.  People would walk from stand to stand, collecting brochures to go back to their offices and draw up short lists.  The short list was defined by your brochure, your stand and how polite you were on the stand.

Us “clever kids” had already cold called our territory and knew if our prospects were turning up.  Of course, we would do things to distract them from talking to the competition.  Another blog, for another day perhaps?  But people still expected to get passive walk byes as leads.

Fast forward to today and we have the internet, mobile phones and social media.  If I want to find out about a new Accounting system, CRM (Customer Relationship Management), Human Resources (HR), Call Centre System, new Conferance call software on a Saturday afternoon, I just go on-line and search.  The customer and the seller are not limited to “prime selling time (PST)” anymore, we can go and search, when we want.

Related: Can You Build a Business on Chance Encounters?

Travelling to work, sitting in a cafe, watching TV, any time of the day, or night.  Like the people of the past who would turn up to exhibitions to draw up their short lists, now we go online and draw up those short lists.

So why in this internet age, when our clients are looking at social and buying through mobile, do you ship your sales people to an exhibition and get them to hand out brochures?  This is nearly the second decade of the 21st century and here we have companies acting like the internet never happened.

So why am I here you may ask?  Well I live in London so it’s easy for me to get here, they offered me a free ticket and I use it as a place to meet past and future suppliers, prospects and customers.  Of course we met these prospects on social first.

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