We live in an era of immediate gratification, where we can tap a few keys and the world’s information is at our fingertips. An era full of busy times, busy lives and a growing concern of impatient business professionals who all want immediate gratification.
This instant gratification has been most impactful on the consumer market, as we’ve seen the advent of digital marketplaces and their propagation into our daily life. But, the B2C world always bleeds into the B2B world. The innovation in the B2C world helps drive the path forward in the B2B world, by enabling more options for business customers in how they choose to buy. This can, however, cause some angst when technology is not prepared to manage the dynamic and varying needs of buyers in the B2B world. That is to say, the technology is there – but business processes have not yet shifted to cater to the new era of sales commonly seen in the B2C world.
That begs the question, how do we as event professionals shift our business processes to leverage the psychology behind immediate gratification? How do we deliver on these expectations while boosting revenue for the event as well as adding value to your entire event audience?
There are many facets of event tech in the marketplace for event professionals to utilize. One of the most popular and widely used is floor plan technology: the ability to manipulate your tradeshow floor; merge, assign, delete, move, etc. Most of us use the core functionalities, but what about the other assets within your floor plan technology that can drive the business in the direction it needs to move toward?
B2B sales mostly focus on the consultative approach, not the instant gratification of one-click shopping, as it drives home the value as well as fulfills specific needs for the buyer. In this era of click, click, pay–we seek to drive the behavior of our exhibitors, buyers and sponsors to a consultative approach to understand and help them meet their event objectives. As event professionals, you are the best positioned to provide guidance and value to your purchasing audience by working with them, within their business constraints, to enable success at your event.
B2B products typically impact more than an individual person and involve a longer-term relationship with the buyer and seller. This is why it is critical event professionals play a key role in purchaser success–to provide expertise for long term success for a participating organization. The consultative sales approach for events is, in this era, the correct approach to maximize the available benefits provided by event professionals.
As event professionals, this can be accomplished by using event tech with your floor plan solution, regardless of whether you focus on booth sales or sponsorships sales. Your floor plan tech should absolutely have the core functionalities to help you manipulate the trade show floor- this is a necessity. But, it should also have the assets to help you drive a consultative sales approach. These assets and features will enhance your ability to demonstrate the value of your event and influence the behaviors needed to sell effectively.
Let’s take a look at some of the features that can help drive this approach:
A critical component of walking a potential prospect through the sales process and your event is to clearly understand the needs of their exhibit space. Exhibits with large machinery need access to 240v ports, others may need access to water, while some and most likely all vendors would be strongly opposed to having a column inside their booth. Accounting for layers can help you walk a prospective exhibitor through the areas and options that would be best fit their needs. Providing this type of value from the start, helps the prospective exhibitor understand that you are there for their needs.
When hosting a multi-vertical event or an event without uniform audience interests, creating specific pavilions that cater to different themes enable a more fluid attendee journey. By leveraging floor plan markings, show organizers can create easily visualized areas for specific exhibitors and activities. During the consultative sales process, this allows show organizers to influence exhibitor placement to drive the right attendees to their booths and enhance both the exhibitor experience and the attendee journey.
One of the most valuable and underrated features in floor plan technology is the ability to filter. A filter view within floor plan technology allows prospective exhibitors to be shown specific booths, exhibitors and exhibitor groupings to understand options within their criteria. This helps streamline the consultative sales process by getting directly to a prospective exhibitor’s needs and providing potential options in real-time. It might not be a one-click to purchase but filtering the floor plan view when working with prospective exhibitors mirrors the processes often seen in B2C digital sales. It allows for not only a consultative experience but also a rapid buying process.
What is real-time? For us, it’s the ability to make a change to the floor plan in the organizer console that immediately takes effect on the front-facing digital floor plan for exhibitors and attendees to see. This real-time feature is HUGE in the consultative sales approach is it gives you the ability to manipulate your floor plan in real-time while talking on the phone to a prospective exhibitor. A key aspect of the consultative sales approach is to show instead of tell. Real-time floor plan changes allow the prospective exhibitor to see and visualize what their booth can look like on the floor plan at that very moment. Don’t leave these little pieces up for interpretation or imagination. Close the sale by showing.
It’s a hard choice to make: Should you decide to move forward with the consultative sales approach to deliver increased value to your exhibitors or give in to the immediate gratification for short-term gains? It’s tough to say no to immediate revenue, no doubt, but it is more important to build sustainable growth that will deliver results for years to come.