Whats that you said Al? Christmas. Yes thats right Christmas.
The hidden christmas decoration
Driving around the City at the start of the year I couldn’t help but notice that several establishments( I will not name and shame them here) were still to be found festooned with banners encouraging the masses to ” BOOK NOW FOR XMAS” or “ENJOY OUR HOGMANAY FLING” Seeing Xmas up there on the side of the building reminded me of th time when we used to prowl the “Lion D’Or” with extended garden canes.Those fine pieces of bamboo lashed together with Gaffer tape, topped with blue tack and one of the housekeepers pins prooved to be just the job for pulling down the odd leftover bit of tinsel or bursting the helium filled ballon that got away and jammed itself in the ballroom chandelier. Note to everyone – I bet you can find a Christmas decoration that hasn’t been taken down somewhere in your establishment.
Sorry I drifted of there. Another thing that I was also reminded of was that after a few formative years of scratching about in October trying to lash together some sort of Christmas package we figured out that it was much easier to plan the forthcoming Christmas in January – or at least before the C&B department were rushing around like demented cherubs taking Valentines bookings. Do you remember Cheffy’s horror when he was asked to produce his menu ! Panic all round untl everyone figured out that when we had a successful package it didnt need re inventing every year just simple tweeks here and there based on customer feed back and the odd opertional issue.
Strike While the Pipe is Still Smoking So get your team together now. Review what worked, what didnt work. What did the customers like, what didn’t they like. Get feed back from everyone and use it. Examine the evidence while it is still fresh in everyone’s mind. Its not difficult to plan ahead. Ask your gardener Al – but thats another story.
So come the end of the summer holidays when the phone starts ringing with the works party organisers asking for Christmas Party details instead of the annoying ” oh if you give us your details we send it out to you when we have the programme finalised” you’ll be ready to sell to then right away.
You see Al , not a three pipe proboem it’s elementary. Cheers.
The annual Visit Scotland Expo will be upon us all too quickly. If your business has a stand then you’ve gone to a lot of expense and are taking valuable time out so you had better make sure that when you attend your business gets the best value for money.
Ok so how can you do that? Here are a few hints and tips that I have picked up over time – they are not necessarily in any order.
Dont wear new shoes
Train your trade show team
Set clear goals for taking part in the show. What do you want out of it?
Have plenty of brochures cards and give-aways. Make sure everything has your company logo on it.
Make sure you use display racks for your brochures and keep them tidily.
Have a prize for a draw – collect business cards. Drop them in a fish bowl, top hat or an empty skull.
Have a portfolio showing the work you do and what you can offer.
Do you have a special show offer?
Obtain the list of potential customers attending the show as soon as it’s available. Work out who you want to meet. Write, Fax,text or email them inviting them to visit you at your stand. Put the message out on your website or in your enewsletter.
If there are seminars, work out whom you want to network with and make sure you are at the correct session to catch who you want.
If there is a seminar that could do you or your company some good then book it, arrive early, ask good questions, leave late.
At any show make sure you tour the room regularly looking for prospective customers – don’t always wait for them to come to you.
Don’t be stingy with your business cards. Make sure you all have plenty and give them out. No one ever got any business by not dishing out a card.
Don’t be flash with the expenses or too mean. Aim for a happy medium. By all means entertain customers, but be professional.
Prepare some “engaging “questions before you go to the show. Ask open ended questions – who, what, where, how, when……… Practice the questions to yourself.
Create a good first impression. Build rapport.
Call leads when they are hot, as soon as you get back fromthe show – why not simply send them a text?.
Don’t wait a month after the show to call. Make sure that extra time is allocated to sales staff to make calls after any show.
Make sure you have prepared any follow up materials before the show.
Make your business newsworthy. Event organisers and trade and local press and TV are always looking for stories to plug the show. Give them some news. Prepare a press release with a good story for every day.
When you pack your show items make sure they are accessible. Mark the boxes with the contents. If you are attending shows with partners make sure your boxes are easily identifiable. Spray the corners with paint. Cover them with stickers.
Don’t forget to pack a sewing kit, safety pins plasters and pain killers.
Pack a box with every day stationary items.
Know how to assemble your stand before you go. This way you look professional.
Arrive at the show early – at least 15 minutes. Take the time to prepare yourself for a long day.
Give colleagues on your stand specific targets.
Always lay off the garlic and spicy foods
Dont “over do things” at the drinks reception
NEVER Never sit, smoke, read, drink, and eat food on the stand.
Never ignore prospective customer by forming a cosy cluster and having a chat
Never use the telephone whilst customers are around ( they’ll just walk on by)
Never be late
Never cross your arms whilst talking – you’ll close the conversation
Never stand with you back to the aisle
Never say – “can I help you “
Never lean on the furniture
Never voice negative opinions on the show to customers
Never badmouth the competition
Oh and don’t wear new shoes or high heels – be friendly to your feet you’ll be on them for at least eight hours!
Thinking back to previous downturns in business caused by our friends in America sneezing, global events or the economic climate.
Take a hard look at that marketing plan
The best course of action is to stand back and take a good hard look at what you are doing right now. Review your marketing plan, what works, what doesnt, who are your customers,and if you can get your GM out of his office, get the hotel business plan reviewed.
1. Make sure you are converting ALL enquiries ( to hec with rates)
2. Sell more to existing customers – in house promotions
3.Bring back old customers – why did they go elsewhere? Solve their problems and get them back.
4. Last. Find new customers. Lets face it you probably dont have the budget for this so concentrate on the first three.
Not sure how you should be reviewing your market plan. Well we know people who do……….