Fact: We only ever buy one thing – benefits.
Second Fact: And there are only three benefits that we buy. The first is “can this product or service save me or make me money?” The second “will this product or service make my life easier – will I be able to sleep more easily?” And the third “will this product or service make me feel better about myself, or about the planet?”
All three benefits address the usually unasked question: “what’s in it for me? And nowhere does this question lurk nearer to the surface than in the mind of visitors to a B2B exhibition. The visitor is subliminally or vocally asking themselves what’s in it for me – why should I spend any time reviewing this company’s products or services? Why should I even step on to the stand, let alone engage in a discussion which might result in my buying their wares?
What often gets forgotten in the preparation for an exhibition is the “proposition beyond the product”. The real reason why people might want an exhibitor’s products or services. Let me share some real examples with you:
A well known conference venue offers conference halls, AV facilities, catering and all the usual cloakroom and administration services – but the proposition beyond their product was identified as that of delivering the most powerful conference that their clients have ever had. And here’s another – a manufacturer of sterilising equipment for dental instruments revisited the benefits which their customers enjoy; and the benefit proposition beyond the product was the serious reduction in the risk of infection in a dental surgery. And a manufacturer of curtain track understood that the benefit proposition beyond their product to his stockists was the increase in profitability within their store.
So what had these entirely different exhibitors offered on their exhibition stands?
The conference centre created a Masterclass in conferencing best practice called “Leave them wanting more”. And they offered this to prospects who visited their stand – two dates were created, three and five weeks after the exhibition (Confex) – and they managed to attract around twenty companies who came to them – and actually paid to come. Quite different from the attempted sales visit which offers no immediate added value to the prospect.
The manufacturer of dental instrument autoclaves created an “Infection Control Survey” which they offered on their stand free of charge to those dentists who committed there and then – and following the ICS delivered a complete report with recommendations as to what the dentist could do to reduce the risk of infection associated with instrument handling. Once again “a more consultative type of sale” – one which delivered visible added value to the prospective client.
And the curtain track manufacturer? To stand a chance of getting in to their new prospects stores they offered a “Profitability Review”. They promised to visit the retailer, take note of their current merchandising, stock and profit margins and again deliver a report showing how their products would earn the outlet substantially more revenue. Again added value.
So what’s happening here? By identifying the benefit proposition beyond the product – or reminding oneself of what one’s business really offers in value terms – these exhibitors moved away from selling their product or service on the stand – that comes later – and concentrated on generating a genuine added value consultation, masterclass, survey, review, which is after all what put them in business in the first place.
Identifying the benefit proposition beyond your product and creating a sub brand around it – and concentrating on selling that on your stand – will always improve your chances of getting the next appointment following the show. It is in fact building a bridge from the stand to the future business. This technique improves the quality of leads you take away after the show. It enhances by a significant percentage your chances of getting the later face to face visit. It allows you to avoid getting too involved with the features of your product or service.
And remember if you’ve told everybody about all the features on your stand, why on earth do they need to see you later at all?
So the learning? Always have something tangible to offer on the stand – even if it previously seemed invisible. The proposition beyond your product can be turned into a powerful tool to get you face to face with the very people you are exhibiting to meet.
The Exhibiting Agency can help you identify your own “proposition beyond your product” – building the bridge from the booth to the business – call us to arrange a 30 minute free consultation – 01925 757774 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.