Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Are Business Expos Relevant?

Monday, September 11th, 2017

Fall is the time when Tradeshows and Expos are into full swing.

Business Expos can be a great idea for the business community, but all too often they end up being wasted opportunities for exhibitors, attendees and even the hosts. How can we make these events worthwhile?

Same Old – Same Old

Exhibitors and Sponsors want to meet new connections. Plain and simple. What the DON”T want, is to pay for booth space just to end up talking to the same people that show up at every other networking event that they attend. What they need is new opportunities to make solid contacts and relationships, which means that they will need to market themselves outside of their usual every day events.

By paying attention to the specific target market for the event and its reach, it will justify whether or not you think you will be able to meet new prospects and connections.

 

Do Your Part

Thinking that the success of the event that you will be attending falls to the event host, is just setting yourself up for failure. Yes, the host has a responsibility to ensure that there will be an interesting and alluring mix of opportunities for attendees, exhibitors should be doing their part by sending out their own press releases, talking about their participation on social media, in their newsletters and on their website during the weeks leading up to the event. It’s just common sense.

Invite your client list, promote a contest and post about it often on Social Media. Find out what the event’s hashtag is (special #name for the event) and start using it. Give people a reason to attend and remind them to stop by your booth while they’re checking out all the other exciting opportunities, seminars and exhibits.

Be mindful who will be manning your booth. Are they go-getters? Would they rather sit than stand and engage with prospects? Are they cheerful? Booth attendants will make or break an Expo experience, so you need to select the right people, and make sure that they are aware of initiatives in place to track leads, engage and be successful at the event. Once attendees come through the door, create a reason to go to your booth and to ask questions.

Don’t Be Shy

If you’re an attendee, don’t be afraid to smile back and have a conversation! If exhibitors seem to come on too strong, you can always excuse yourself, but networking with others may lead to new leads, collaboration opportunities and new sales!

Have a list of all of the business expos happening in your area and attend! It will be a great way to expand your network and get your name out there. Make sure you have enough business cards, a solid pair of comfortable shoes, and water, and go and connect – you never know what opportunities will be waiting around the corner!

15 Point Guide to Success by Committing to work ON your Business (and not always IN your Business)

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

Whether you are new to business, or have been at it a while – we all know that sustaining a successful business is hard.

It’s easy to be going full out, head down and IN our work. What’s difficult, is coming up for air and seeing what needs to happen in order for the BIG picture to develop. By working ON your business, instead of IN your business all of the time, we set ourselves up for success – with fresh ideas, a fresh focus, better communications with staff and clients, and at the end of the day, more revenue coming in.

Here are 15 steps that you will want to consider when working ON your business:

  1. Learn how to delegate. Whenever you spend time doing things that other people could be doing, you are losing the opportunity to spend valuable time improving and growing the business.
  2. Update your social network accounts to ensure that your backgrounds and messaging match your marketing materials and website
  3. Update or add to your website content every 3 months to reflect your current needs / goals / products
  4. Make sure you are collecting emails for your contact list and add them regularly to your newsletter list – ask me how you can do this through your website
  5. Make at a least one customer service call per day
  6. Work on your social media accounts to schedule daily postings to connect and start building those relationships
  7. Set short and long term goals for your business and create a strategy
  8. Make new connections whenever and wherever you can
  9. Attend networking and business / industry events
  10. Learn from Experts and Mentors on areas that could use some help and adjustment gain clarity
  11. Find good help. It doesn’t matter if it is part-time, full time or contracting from a freelancer. Get help for the things that aren’t your strong suit, or tasks that would be better served by others
  12. Challenge yourself in knowing what tasks are wasting your time. Experts suggest looking at your emails only twice per day for example. Do you have Facebook notifications going off all of the time? Shut them off. Get rid of notifications.
  13. Learn how to hire the right people and ask the right questions to ensure a good fit with your brand and your team
  14. Look to your mission and vision statement for everything that you do. Have them up in the walls in every room in the building if you have to. Your staff should know these two off by heart and do the same.
  15. Develop a systems and procedures booklet to ensure be more efficient and effective and to avoid mistakes

If you would like to talk about how Success 4 Business can help YOU to work ON your business instead of IN your business all of the time, contact us at 403-348-0120 and let us discuss whether our Events, Connections, Membership or our Mentors can help you through any of it – we’ve got your back.

One Key Factor to Make or Break your Trade Show ROI

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

For many, trade shows are a necessary tool for business, whether we like them or not.

The value of a trade show can be a bit of a gamble when it comes to ROI (Return On Investment), and many wonder why, after all the preparation and organizing, they walk away with few leads, and feel that they’ve just given up their entire weekend, or day for a huge waste of time.

If this sounds familiar, you may not be maximizing the one thing that can produce the maximum amount of qualified leads – Your Tradeshow Team.

How your team (or yourself – if your team is a one person show like many) conducts themselves during the event can make or break your whole experience. Sure, it’s easy to blame show attendance… booth location… or even the show producer. But unless you know how your staff manages your booth before, during and afterwards, you will never know the real reason behind a poor ROI. The first step, before anything else, is to assemble your “A” Team.

Selecting your team:

  1. Choose only motivated employees (that WANT to be there) to work your trade show booth – ones with experience if possible. This is your ambassador for your company. Experience matters.
  2. Choose people that are friendly and quick to converse. Even though “Dan” is top of the ladder, if he won’t engage in a friendly manner right off the bat, he may not be a good fit for Trade Shows.
  3. Choose people that can stand – a LOT. It’s a good idea to either take the chairs away entirely, or to create a comfortable seating area – but only for use with interested attendees.
  4. Choose people that can dress for success! By asking them to dress specifically for the event, the attendees will feel more comfortable with them. If it is a business to business event, dress business casual. If it is a local Ag show, then jeans would be appropriate. Rule of thumb: Always dress UP slightly, instead of DOWN.

Top 9 Secrets to Double your Lead Count through your Team* (*Team refers to whoever will be manning your booth regardless if it is you yourself or others):

  1. TELL PEOPLE IN ADVANCE THAT YOU WILL BE AT THE SHOW! Have your team tweet, post and email about their involvement with the show and let everyone know where you will be and when, weeks beforehand. Use the event’s hashtag if they have one, or make one of your own, to gain exposure with people outside of your own followers.
  2. GET OUTSIDE THE BOX: Have your team be seen outside of the exhibiting space. Engaging people as they walk by will result in remarkably higher lead counts.  Many opportunities are missed simply because teams aren’t in the aisle and unable to engage people as they walk by. Simply by asking “What brings you to the show today?” or “Hi, what’s been your favorite part of the show so far?” can start conversations. These questions can’t be answered with a one word response, and will require some thought. Now you’ve opened the door to a qualified lead. The business is there – you just need to be creative to get it.
  3. POST A CLEAR CALL TO ACTION. In other words, develop and display a special show-only promotion that you KNOW your audience will appreciate. Make sure that it is in plain view and the messaging is crystal clear to both your team and attendees. This is the hook to bring people in. Once they’ve created interest for a deal that is hard to walk by, they can be qualified.
  4. PRE-SET APPOINTMENTS: The primary reason we attend Trade Shows is to sell our products and services and what better way to insure the chance to talk to the right people, than to set a specific time to talk to them – right at the show!  By having your team make confirmation calls the day before, they will be setting up their day for success. Be sure to get their cell number so you can reach them during the show.
  5. LETTING THEM GO: There will be many attendees that are not qualified. At this point, we have to let them go so that we can focus on other leads. The easiest way for your team to do that is to say something like “Thanks for stopping by, I hope you have a great rest of the show.”  Your team is now gracefully able to let them move on and engage other attendees.  In this process it is good to bear in mind that they don’t want to hand out any premium giveaways until they know they are qualified. Until then, you can have a bowl of chocolates, or pens available.
  6. NAIL THE PITCH: Usually this goes without saying, but you wouldn’t believe how many booth representatives stutter and stammer over the simplest of questions. They need to practice over and over – and nail it. If you don’t have anyone experienced, mentor them by having them practice their sales pitch, handshake, eye contact and body language. And I don’t mean practice only two or three times. Make them practice it until it hurts. You only get ONE chance to make that first impression – make it count.
  7. FOLLOW UP! Have a solid plan in place for your team to collect leads – and how and when to follow up afterwards. This is very important. Most companies NEVER follow up afterwards, and then complain that they simply didn’t receive any business from the show! One way of collecting leads is by making attendees fill out contact information so that they have a chance to win a premium prize that would be reflective of your business.
  8. EAT OUTSIDE THE SPACE: Tell your team to go outside the booth to eat if they can. If they are the only ones in the booth, then hide the food! Having exhibitors chow down at their booth or show food in general is an automatic turnoff to attendees and they will simply not want to stop to interrupt mealtime.
  9. And lastly, GO OVER CLEAR EXPECTATIONS! Let your team know what is expected of them and outline specific goals and objectives well beforehand. If you are your own team, then outline your own goals and objectives by writing them down or typing them into a document. Once you do this, they become real. Take your sheet with you to the show and keep it in view to remind yourself of these goals and objectives.

Sources:
www.skylinetradeshowtips.com/ and http://learn.infusionsoft.com/

The Single Best Tool to Grow Your Business

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

Many companies looking for growth do it by cultivating intensely loyal customers, and invest a lot of time and money in order to measure customer satisfaction. If you’re like most, you give up trying, because these measurements are not only complex, but also ambiguous in results – causing a lot of confusion and stress. Thankfully, there is one way that has been reported to be very effective in a lot of cases, called the Net Promoter Score.

Your Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a tool used to gauge the loyalty and satisfaction of your customers. This single tool serves as a great alternative to traditional customer satisfaction surveys and is said to be related to revenue growth.

The good news is, you only need to ask your customers ONE QUESTION to predict your growth potential through referrals and re-purchases.

Your one question is: “On a scale of zero to 10, How Likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?” you find out what the ratio is, between your promoters and your detractors. When customers recommend you, they are putting their own reputation on the line, and they will take that risk if they are extremely loyal – they become promoters. The more “promoters” your company has, the bigger its growth.

Responders are rated as follows:
Promoters consist of a score between 9-10 and are loyal customers who continue to buy and refer others, leading to revenue growth.

Passives consist of a score between 7-8 and may be satisfied customers, but uncommitted, not loyal and are quick to jump ship to another competitor.

Detractors consist of a score between score 0-6 and are unhappy customers who can easily damage your brand through negative word-of-mouth.

The NPS Calculation
Take the percentage of Promoters and subtract the percentage of Detractors – this will give you the Net Promoter Score, which can range from a low of -100 (all Detractors) to a high of 100 (all Promoters). This question can be followed with an open-ended request for comment and elaboration, signifying the reasons for the customer’s rating that they had given.

These results can then be shared with your employees and management teams for efficient follow-up.

Increasing Your NPS Score
In order to increase your NPS score, you need to ensure that all employees feel empowered to act on behalf of your company in order to improve the customer experience. Once this is accomplished, everyone is engaged and equipped to make sure your customers are happy. It is a win-win all around.

Benefits
Improving the customer experience, (and therefore your Net Promoter Score), results in a number of business benefits; higher margins (Promoters are less price-sensitive than Detracters), higher annual spend (Promoters tend to buy more), greater cost efficiencies, higher retention rate, and more positive word of mouth – put them together, and your on your way to a very successful business!

To find out how Success 4 Business might be able to help you and your business going forward, go to www.Success4Business.ca.
Sources:
https://www.netpromoter.com/grow/
https://www.promoter.io/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_Promoter
HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Strategic Marketing

3 Sure Fire Ways to be a Rock Star Facilitator

Monday, January 18th, 2016

It is easy to get stuck in “auto-pilot” as a facilitator. This is a dangerous mistake, but here are three sure-fire ways to make sure it never happens to you!

1. Start with a Hook

It’s tough in this day to capture the interest of one human for more than a few seconds, never mind a whole gaggle of them in one room. Especially if those humans were told they HAVE to be in that room as part of a new training initiative. This is why capturing their interest and attention right out of the gate is so important. This is critical when teaching young people, but equally important when teaching adults. Share something relevant, but engaging to capture your audience’s attention and give them an idea as to what is to come. Here are some ideas to get you going:

  • A brief YouTube video related to what you’ll be covering
  • A meme that pokes fun at what you’ll be doing, allowing you to start off with debunking a corporate myth
  • A powerful image that allows you to open with provocative questions that really force your team to dig deep for meaningful answers
  • A clip of a popular TV series that encompasses the topic of the day

2. Share Learning Objectives

It is critical your adult learners know what to expect. This doesn’t have to be a full agenda; it can be as simple as a few words letting them know what they will learn that morning, that afternoon, or that day. As adults, we want to know what our managers expect of us. Knowing what to focus on assures us the content is relevant to our jobs, we can get into the right mindset, and we will be able to take away something useful. If possible, keep this objective visible throughout the training day.

3. Engage your Students in Discussion

Never underestimate the value of the knowledge in the room. Your audience brings a wealth of information and likely knows more about some of the training topics than you do. Facilitation means you are there to guide their learning, not to be the “Sage on the Stage”. Be sure to allow your learners the opportunity to engage in discussion with their colleagues to share their knowledge, learn from others, and create new understandings together.

Ensure your discussion topics take a multi-disciplinary approach so all departments in the room find value, and are able to contribute meaningfully to the discussion. Here are a few ways you can incorporate productive discussions in your groups:

  • Ask compelling, multi-part, open-ended questions
  • present scenarios with a dilemma that any member may typically encounter at work
  • share corporate problems requiring solutions
  • share sample problems if sharing real issues is not feasible

By incorporating these three teaching techniques, you will see an immediate increase in attendee engagement. Just remember that it’s not about you; it’s about your students. Giving them the opportunity to have a greater role in their training ensures they’ll get more out of the experience than if they were merely (not) listening to you talk at them.

I have been engaging students, soliciting their chuckles, and guiding them towards generating new knowledge since 1997. If you are stuck for ways to engage your group, or have any questions about my post, please comment or connect with me through Success4Business or on LinkedIn. Or you can call me at 403-505-9929.

What are some tips you have for engaging your audience?

Deanna Deveau, M.Sc.
Instructional Designer
D2 Academy
http://www.D2Academy.com