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“The reason some exhibitors don’t do well at boat shows is because they exhibit by hope instead of by objective. They hope a good prospect will come into their booth. They hope they might make some sales!” So says sales trainer Jefferson Davis of Competitive Edge in Charlotte, N.C. But the successful dealers exhibit by objective -- specific, measurable objectives.

Apparently, the number 1 reason many exhibitors don’t get better results from a show is because they don’t set quantifiable objectives. The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) reports only 46% of all exhibitors set any specific objectives for their show participation. That means more than half must just expend a lot of money and hard work getting there so they can sail along on hope! I hope that has not been you, but if it has how about trying something different at your next show?

Let’s set a measurable objective for an upcoming show. I’ll use the Cleveland Boat Show for example. Let’s establish how many significant contacts we will make at the show. By definition, a significant contact is when a salesman has an interaction of 5 minutes or more with a prospect resulting in the acquisition of name, address, phone, level of interest and possible timetable for a purchase, and sets up a basis for follow-up (“I’ll call with that information,” or “Let me send the latest material to your home,” etc.) after the show. Here’s an easy formula:
• Number of show hours = 81
• Multiplied by number of sales people = 6 salesmen
• Total man hours at show = 486 sales hours
• Multiplied by number of significant interactions per/hr = 4 per salesman (4-6 per/hr per/salesman is average, according to CEIR)
• Total Significant Contacts for show = 1944

That’s nearly 2000 specific, good caliber contacts that can be developed more extensively immediately following the show! And, it keeps the sales team focused and working every show hour, every day.

Finally, if this last fact doesn’t shock you, it should. The CEIR report goes on to say that only half the exhibitors who bother to set a specific show objective will actually follow up the leads! In other words, less than 25% of exhibitors do any real follow up. Incredible!

Then, again, I suppose if you don’t have any objective to acquire contacts to follow up, it would be a problem, wouldn’t it?

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