Viewing entries tagged
trade show sales pitch
San Francisco, CA- Professional trade show consultant Don Colliver conducted quantitative and qualitative exit interviews for Dremio at the 2019 Strata Data Conference in San Francisco, CA. Don immersed himself in the Dremio marketing landscape, then wrote and delivered iPad surveys and subjective interviews to learn prospect engagement needs and desires. The project culminated with a comprehensive 22-page report with recommendations to increase lead count, qualified conversations and demos.
Don acted as trade show consultant at Strata Data occurred from April 26th through 28th, 2019 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California.
San Francisco, CA- It was 2017, and I was working at the Black Hat Conference at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. A charismatic sales engineer on a makeshift stage had a crowd spilling out of his booth and blocking the aisle. His prospects were transfixed- cheering on his command, eagerly leaning forward, ready to do anything he asked. No, he wasn’t doing a raffle, he was using the principles of rhetoric to persuade and mesmerize his audience. These classic principles can offer huge power to trade show professionals who wield them effectively. Below I’ll define rhetoric and give three tips on how to use it in your booth presentations to maximize your booth results.
Rhetoric on the Expo Floor
Aristotle defined Rhetoric as "the ability, in each particular case, to see the available means of persuasion.” He defined the three means of persuasion as ethos (credibility), pathos (emotion) and logos (logic). Most trade show presentations rely too much on logic and can be far more effective by utilizing emotion and credibility/shared identity to persuade groups of prospects in their booths. The “group” aspect is critical. Whereas a sales deck may be presented to a single person, a trade show presentation will be presented to a group of 8-30 people, and groups behave much differently. Just ask Sigmund Freud, one of the first trade show consultants! According to Freud, when individuals are part of a group, they have a tendency to be infected by any emotion within the group, and then to actually amplify that emotion through what he called, “mutual induction.” So, if you can elicit a group emotion through your presentation, it will become self-sustaining and grow on its own accord.
Emotion can be powerful, unpredictable and not terribly bright. Psychologist Jonathan Haidt described a model of emotion as an elephant (our emotional side) and a rider (our rational side.) Chip and Dan Heath elaborate in their book “Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard”:
Anytime the six-ton Elephant and the Rider disagree about which direction to go, the Rider is going to lose. He’s completely overmatched.
Admittedly, in the business-to-business space buying decisions are made with input from many stakeholders over time. However, each of those stakeholders is an emotional human being, and on the trade show floor we should utilize the most effective tools in our marketing arsenal. So, here are three tips to use in your presentation to speak to the emotional elephant, rather than the rational rider.
Identify with your Prospect
Most trade show presentations quickly attempt to establish credibility (Aristotle’s ethos) by overwhelming prospects with accomplishments and social proof in the form of testimonials and case studies. A more efficient and effective method can be to establish common ground and a shared identity. Strive to create an inclusive group which includes both your prospects and yourself. A quick way to do this in your presentation is by defining a common problem that “we’ve all faced,” opening the door to inside jokes and lamenting- only to be solved by your solution later, of course!
It helps here to passionately give voice to your prospects’ common sentiments, complaints and aspirations. The word “demagogue” generally holds a negative connotation, but it deserves a second look in the trade show setting. Google defines the word as one “who seeks support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than by using rational argument.” Many trade show presentations are simply rephrased sales decks, loaded with highly technical demos and statistics. A quick stroll around the expo floor can show that it’s a tough place for careful, nuanced thought and evaluation. While hard features are important, establishing common ground with your prospect’s identity can also be very effective when used with restraint.
Limit the problem carefully
After successfully establishing credibility through shared identity, its time to frame the problem which your solution solves. Government wartime propaganda offers a useful example here. During times of conflict, news outlets consolidate multiple enemies into one, and portray complicated situations as black/white and good/evil. This is highly effective as a means to create group identity and motivate action, and this technique can also be used in the much lower stakes world of trade show presentations. Consider reverse engineering your problem to clearly point to your value proposition. In his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” social psychologist Daniel Kahneman describes an overriding cognitive bias that humans share, abbreviated as WYSIATI, or “What You See Is All There Is.” Essentially, those problems which are most recent and easily accessible seem most important. Consolidating the problem can also further create a shared identity and increase receptivity to your solution. Save those complicated use-case specifics for one-on-one demos.
Connect to basic human needs
Finally, connect the dots from your feature, to your benefit, then all the way back to your prospects’ basic human needs and desires. Sure, your solution is easy to install, but what does that mean to your prospect in his day to day life? More time, saved money, or a longer lunch? Daniel Kahneman offers another tip here from his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow:” Humans have been shown to be primarily loss-averse. In other words, your prospects are more likely to act to avert a loss than to achieve a gain, so showing avoidance of bad outcomes is more effective than showing gains when pitching your solution.
Handle with Care
Using these three rhetorical techniques will have a measurable effect on your qualified booth conversations. Their power has been leveraged for centuries for both good and nefarious ends, so its important to use them with care. Keep in mind what good old Uncle Ben said to Spiderman: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Aristotle himself also had something to say about that:
If it is urged that an abuse of the rhetorical faculty can work great mischief, the same charge can be brought against all good things (save virtue itself) such as strength, health, wealth, and military skill. Rightly employed, they work the greatest blessings.
Any use of persuasion techniques can cross the line into manipulation, and I’m fascinated by where we choose to draw that moral boundary. Please post your thoughts on this historically controversial issue!
San Francisco, CA- Professional trade show presentation writer Don Colliver created the trade show presentation for ObserveIT’s retro 80’s themed booth at the 2019 RSA Trade Show in San Francisco, CA. Don wrote the fun, effective 8-minute presentation and developed the PowerPoint deck which was presented by professional trade show presenter Jennifer Canale. ObserveIT booked Don in partnership with Magnet Presentations, a trade show presenter agency.
Carey Thiels, Director of Marketing at ObserveIT said, “Hire this guy to write your trade show presentations! For RSA, Don took our marketing and sales materials and efficiently created a prospect-engagement focused booth presentation with a generous dose of humor. Don really made my part of the script writing process effortless. With a very small marketing team, it really counts when you have vendors who can make your life easier. Hire Don! “
RSA 2019 occurred from March 4th through March 7th, 2019 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, CA.
Photo credit to Magnet Productions.
Dallas, TX- Professional trade show presenter Don Colliver drew crowds of qualified prospects as presenter and emcee for Pure Storage at the Super Computing 2018 Trade Show in Dallas, TX. Don wrote and presented 6-minute presentations, gathered crowds, emceed for subject matter expert presenters, ran trivia contests and handled giveaways.
From November 12th through November 15th, 2018, Don presented at SC18 at the Kay Bailey Convention Center in Dallas, TX.
Los Angeles, CA- Whether you know it or not, you've been captivated by what's known as the "Hero's Journey" for as long as you've been captivated by stories. Joseph Campbell codified this common template of tales that have engaged humans for as long as we've been around on earth. In its simplest form: a hero leaves home, goes on a journey, faces a decisive crisis, then comes home transformed with the 'elixir.' Think: Star Wars, Forrest Gump, The Lion King, The Matrix... But you can leverage this eternal model of engagement right in your trade show booth, by taking your prospects on your own "Hero's Journey." Here are three tips to help:
1. Create your Prospect's "Journey"
Cognitive Psychologist Jerome Bruner said that humans are 22 times more likely to remember a fact that's been wrapped in a story. Your trade show booth can utilize this fact by wrapping your messaging in a physical journey through incremental stations, qualifying questions and give-aways. I was lucky enough to attend a presentation from the Live Marketing creative agency describing their collaboration with tech company CenturyLink. Their booth utilized the "Hero's Journey" model to acheive award-winning results, taking prospects through a literal tunnel and deeper into CenturyLink's marketing messaging.
Can you break down your prospect's journey into 3 or 4 info-rich stations?
2. Challenge your Prospect
Each station on the journey provides an opportunity to illustrate your prospect's pain points, and gives them an opportunity to engage. By involving your prospect in the story, they relate emotionally, releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine, which has been proven to make associated information easier to remember and with greater accuracy. A professional Trade Show emcee can guarantee that your booth challenges effectively anchor your messaging.
What messaging-related booth challenges can you create for your prospect to overcome?
3. Provide your Prospect the 'Elixir'
Of course, your product or service serves to help your prospect ultimately overcome their pain points. Finally, your prospect-hero can return home to headquarters, enlightened and ready to move deeper into your sales funnel. It's important to remember, your product or service is not the hero. Your prospect is the hero, and you are simply providing them with the tool to overcome their problems.
How can you frame your trade show prospect as 'hero,' not 'lead?'
By engaging the "Hero's Journey" in your trade show booth messaging, you can tap into your prospect's eternal fascination with this ancient model of storytelling. By creating a prospect journey, challenging them along the way, and providing them with your product or service as the solution, you may be surprised to find yourself a hero in your own marketing department.
Las Vegas, NV- Professional trade show booth presenter Don Colliver delivered effective and exciting Information Technology Security presentations for Varonis at the 2018 Dell Technologies World Solutions Expo Trade Show in Las Vegas, NV.
From April 30th through May 2nd, 2018, Don presented three 14-minute presentations per hour with powerpoint. Dell Technologies World was held at the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.
Varonis booked Don through Promo Talent, a trade show presenter agency.
San Francisco, CA- Professional trade show booth presenter Don Colliver drew crowds and delivered effective and exciting information technology security presentations for Trustwave at the 2018 RSA Conference in San Francisco, CA.
From April 16 through April 19, 2018, Don delivered 11-minute presentations with powerpoint, ran trivia contests, emcee'ed giveaways, and drew and pumped up the crowd before handing over the mic to Trustwave Subject Matter Experts. RSA 2018 was held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California.
San Jose, CA- Professional trade show booth presenter Don Colliver wrote and delivered effective and exciting Information Technology Storage presentations for Pure Storage at the 2018 Strata Data Trade Show in San Jose, CA.
From March 6th through 8th, 2018, Don presented three 10-minute presentations per hour with powerpoint, gathered crowds, and emcee'ed contests and giveaways. Strata Data was held at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, CA.
Los Angeles, CA- Want to bring some next-level passion to your next trade show marketing message? Book 'Bobby Expo-Hall,' your TRUE technology evangelist!
Don developed this character as a vehicle to emcee trade show booths, delivering the marketing message, while offering up much needed humor and energy to the trade show environment. Contact us to learn more.
Las Vegas, NV- Professional trade show booth presenter Don Colliver delivered effective and exciting presentations for Panasonic at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, NV.
From January 8th through January 12th, 2018, Don delivered four 7-minute presentations per hour, matched with existing video. CES 2018 was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Panasonic booked Don through CMT, a trade show presenter agency.
Los Angeles, CA- Professional Trade Show Presenter and Emcee Don Colliver reprised his role as the Tipsy Santa Emcee at the Yuletide Cinema's showing of "Elf" on December 16th, 2017 at the Saban Theater in Hollywood, CA.
This is the second year Don has kept the crowd laughing as Tipsy Santa. He has emcee'ed various events for Street Food Cinema with over ten, custom-created, and film and venue-related emcee characters.
Los Angeles, CA- Professional trade show booth presenter Don Colliver delivered effective and exciting Health Information Management presentations for Atos at the 2017 AHIMA Trade Show in Los Angeles, CA.
From October 9 through October 10, 2017, Don delivered 3 different 15-minute presentations per hour with powerpoint. AHIMA 2017 was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, CA.
Atos booked Don through Event-Pros, a trade show presenter agency.
Las Vegas, NV- Professional trade show booth presenter Don Colliver delivered effective and exciting information technology security presentations for Varonis Systems at the 2017 Black Hat Trade Show in Las Vegas, NV.
From July 25 through July 27, 2017, Don delivered 4, 13-minute presentations an hour with powerpoint. Black Hat 2017 was held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Varonis Systems booked Don through Promo Talent, a trade show presenter agency.