Going back to basics

I attended an exhibition at the weekend.

In my 29-year career in sales, I spent much of it attending shows to sell to exhibitors and network. The last 4 years I’ve been at the exhibition stands teaching my clients how to sell, upsell, cross sell and network which has been amazing experience.

This time I went as a guest to a food show, followed by a home show.

Here’s the sales lessons learned:

  1. First Impressions Matter

It doesn’t matter how delicious your product is or how amazing your sofa is, If the person at the exhibition stand is looking at their phone, or sitting down and talking to his colleagues, you are losing business.

2. Stand Out

In today’s world, competition is everywhere. Social media is becoming exhausting. Everywhere I look, someone is giving advice on LinkedIn. Every day I get spammed by lead gen companies who are the same level of awful. Your first interaction with people matters. Standing out matters.

3. Transfer Emotion

Selling is the transfer of emotion. People connect with words and stories. I asked most people how they got started. I bought chutneys from people with awesome stories. I had a smoothie from someone who came to this country as an immigrant and started his business by himself. As for the sauces I bought, they talked to me about the flavour with passion and care – and I tried many different flavours. The words you use in business matters more than how much you talk.

4. Learn to Listen

Listening continues to be a skill most people struggle with in sales. At one stand, I asked the exhibitor about what made his food unique. He shows me a picture of himself in the paper and told me he never had a complaint about his product. That wasn’t what I asked. Then he shows me a picture of him and Prince Charles from 6 years ago. Along with more newspaper interviews. Again, that’s not what I asked. People buy into your WHY, not your brief newspaper clippings.

5. Don’t rush the sale

At the food event, nobody took my email. At the home show, about 40% wanted my email within 60 seconds. I rarely give my email out and avoid store cards and mailing lists, mainly because I value my sanity. I also want you to earn my email by asking questions about what I’m looking for and showing me your care about what I want - and not to hit your sales quota.

6. Don’t Make Assumptions

Many people selling herbs, sauces or cheeses talked about how it can be used on fish and meats. Rachel is vegetarian, my family are vegetarian and not a single person asked. When selling any product or service, you have to ask questions. Don’t assume everyone likes the same thing or wants the same end result.

7. Support Local Businesses

By doing this, you're not giving a CEO another extortionate bonus, you're helping families and the community and that is always good.

How we can work together

If you want generate more sales in business and to kick ass on LinkedIn, contact me for 1:1 coaching or group training.

Niraj Kapur sitting on steps, looking at the camera

Niraj Kapur is a LinkedIn Top Voice, keynote speaker, and trusted LinkedIn coach and sales trainer. If you want to get better results in 2023 for yourself, your business or have me speak at your event please get in touch.