Before I came to Skyline as an Account Executive, I spent 15 years on the other side of the industry. My marketing career began as a trade show event coordinator, and later, manager, with one of several companies and as a customer of Skyline. My experience in both realms of the industry has allowed me to relate to and engage with my current customers in an empathetic and knowledgeable way. Let me share what I’ve learned, as it may help you too.
1. It is never about the coffee
Starbucks doesn’t sell coffee. They sell atmosphere, service, community, and attitude. In the same way, Skyline sells more than trade show exhibits. Your product or service, like ours, deserves attention, but there is more that should be known. What I want to impart to my customers is how we work with them to solve their problems strategically and logistically, and not just sell them a display. For example, they may not be aware that we can help with inventory management and installation programs through our Asset Management and I & D programs. It is good to keep in mind that we all sell service, opportunity, knowledge, our strong network, and quality.
2. Find your Customer’s Pain Points (and then fix them)
When speaking with my Skyline consultant as a trade show marketer, I found her to be very effective because she got to the heart of the matter. I was an event manager with a budget to adhere to and objectives to exceed. She asked about my event objectives such as ROI and functionality of the booth, so that we could focus on the best solutions in order to move forward to achieve success. When we speak to our clients, we want to help them reach their event marketing goals and objectives. We then work together to achieve those issues and stop the pain!
3. Google has already introduced you
Customers who call you are already more than likely aware of who you are, what you do, and are knowledgeable about the high-quality product and services you provide. When they call me, they have done the research and have perused all the sites and brochures that we offer. As a consultant, I won’t waste time pitching our products and services. I need to spend my time finding out their problems, offering the solutions that will get them and their branding to the next level.
4. We get our customers because we are customers too
We are all business professionals and know the pressures of business plans, budgets, and deadlines. My Skyline consultant asked about our general business plan objectives, our event management objectives, how many leads were desired on the floor, and what products we were demonstrating. They were genuinely interested in my event management business plan and how they could help. When speaking to my customers, I always keep that mind and earn the role of a consultant.
5. A potential customer may just not be that in to you—yet
In those times when I was unable to use Skyline on a project for a lack of budget or the wrong timing, my consultant understood that it wasn’t the right time and we weren’t a fit right then. “No” doesn’t hurt my feelings not because I don’t care, but because I understand the nature of business. But I do know that if the right time came, that potential customer would come back because I represented myself and the company well and established trust and reliability.
These five points learned over the years can help you to more effectively engage your customers, whether on the showroom floor, over coffee, or doing business together.
About the Author: Amy Armstrong is an Account Executive with Skyline Philadelphia, with over a decade of experience. Amy helps her clients traverse the challenging world of exhibit branding and event marketing strategies in order to meet their objectives and trade profitably in their industry. Her favorite call from a customer begins with “I need your help” because she knows she will be able to solve their problem.