You know you have only a few minutes to convince Piscine Global Europe visitors that they should deal with you. It is vital to use this time to the utmost – or you could see your prospect escape to a competitor’s stand! So take a leaf out of the startuppers book. They use “pitching” to fund their projects! Here are some tips on how to pitch adapted to the swimming pool business!
Sales pitches definitely have their place at a swimming pool trade show!
Pitches are sales tools that aim to convince prospects that what you are selling is right for them in just a few minutes – and even a few seconds. They are concise and persuasive arguments widely used today by startups seeking funding, especially in the field of new technologies.
A pool trade show gives you thousands of opportunities to attract prospects to your stand. However, they all probably envisage visiting several stands, taking the time to compare offers and not spending all their time on yours alone! If the form and/or the basis of your sales arguments are ill-adapted you run the risk of losing a sale and compromising the success of your show.
First impressions are generated during the first seconds of your discussion and you will not get another opportunity to change them so your pitch has to be spot on!
How should you structure your pitch to make it work?
The more you have to synthesize, the more difficult it is to choose the right words. To put it together you need to take a step back from your pool business. It is not just a question of going all out on your new pool equipment on which you have been focusing for several months. You have to put yourself in the place of your prospects! That means understanding what they’re looking for and where they’re coming from.
There is a multiplicity of pitches adapted to your needs and those of your prospects but all include the following steps:
- the introduction, essential to catch the attention of your visitor;
- the presentation of the problem to be solved;
- the solution you suggest;
- the competitive advantage of your solution;
- the close, a phase often forgotten, but necessary to convert a prospect into a customer (see our after-pitch section below)!
How long should a pitch last at a pool trade show?
It all depends on how crowded the show is – which is why it’s so important to prepare several sales pitches!
- 18 minutes: it is the length of a TED conference, validated by neuroscientists. It is the ideal duration for information transfer without losing the audience. Ideal for when stand traffic is slack and for pre-booked meetings at the show.
- 90 seconds to 3 minutes: a classic duration defined during pitch contests. Use when traffic is high to multiply commercial opportunities.
- 45 seconds: this is the “elevator pitch” principle historically used at an impromptu meeting with your boss in an elevator – for example when you meet a prospect away from your stand (in the restaurant, during a cigarette break or even in the line for the toilets!).
Key pitch points to make your pool trade show a success
Given the short time you have, it is quite simply impossible to pass on everything you want to say to a prospect at your first meeting. Focus on the essential and keep the rest for your communications and detail meetings. That way you can meet and greet more visitors and maximize your pool and equipment deals.
Work on your introduction
See this phase as a “teaser” intended to catch the attention of a prospect while making it clear what you want to discuss. It is a crucial step in having a successful trade show because it lays the ground for the business generator – the sales pitch!
Mind your words
Being at ease with the words you use ensures the fluidity of your speech and the quality of your arguments. Keep sentences short, speak in a confident tone of voice and articulate. It is an error to think that you can say more by speaking more quickly. And above all don’t recite a text you’ve learned by heart!
Illustrate your pitch with something the prospect will remember
Prospects also want to make the most of their visit to the trade show and meet as many pool exhibitors over one or even several days. They will walk several kilometers (as a reminder, Piscine Global Europe 2018 covered more than 28,000sq.m net of exhibition space) and drown in the amount of information they absorb. Stand out in the crowd by personalizing and humanizing your time together so they will remember your pool company more easily after the show! One good way is to illustrate your pitch with a story featuring the problems you can solve.
Build up your sales arguments!
Give real-life examples, figures and a product presentation… Everything is grist to the mill to help your prospects project themselves into your universe including virtual reality. Moreover, this sales tool simplifies memorizing!
Rehearse your pitches time and time again
Since a good pitch precludes total improvisation and by-heart texts, you need to rehearse it – and all its variations. And do it often enough until you are sufficiently at ease to take liberties with your basic plan, without punctuating your sentences with “ers” and “ums”! Rehearsals are vital if you are nervous speaking in public. A good idea is to practice with colleagues before D-day – and even to record yourself to spot the points to improve.
There will inevitably be some, so prepare so as not to let your prospect doubt! If you are not the salesperson of your pool company, get closer to the people who are to list the most frequent objections. Out of ideas? Listen carefully to the discussions on other stands and study the way in which the other pool companies counter them. Also see our article on the main questions to which clients are seeking answers!
Envisage several pitch scenarios
This will enable you to face up to every situation both for timing and targets. You cannot present the same product in the same way to public authorities and pool installers!
Use body language
Do you know the 7%-38%-55% Rule? According to psychology professor Albert Mehrabian, 55% of our communications are visual (body language and facial expressions), 38% are vocal (intonation and the sound of your voice) and only 7% depend on the meanings of words. You must look your prospect in the eyes, smile, and avoid crossing your arms!
The after-pitch: a “must” phase to make a success of your pool trade show
After finishing your sales pitch and countering objections, do not let prospects get away! Exchange business cards and provide appropriate advertising material like a press kit, technical brochure, the catalogue of your pool products, etc. If your prospects do not seem to be convinced, ask them why. Feedback is always useful for developing your pool business – even if their answers can be a blow for your ego!
Last but not least, once the pool trade show is over stay in touch with the people you met by e-mail and invite them to follow your news on social media like LinkedIn.
Pitches are just one way to help you make sales. Particularly useful to make a success at trade shows like Piscine Global Europe, you can recycle them in other situations and change them over time. Remember: pitches are not engraved in marble!
© Photo credit: Elisabeth Rull