Professional entertainment for your wedding
It was a great pleasure to work with ECCS Ltd at The Workplace Event held at the NEC near Birmingham in April. The three days went by in a blur, and the stand was constantly busy. But firstly, lets look at the bigger picture of why a company (like ECCS, or yours) would attend a show:
Quality Vs Quantity of Leads
The primary purpose a company will exhibit at a show is to generate business, and with business to business transactions that is rarely done on the day. What attending an exhibition will allow you to do is showcase your company to potential clients; highlighting your brand, products and services. Once people are interested the lead is ‘captured’, giving you access to their contact details so you and your team can follow up afterwards to progress the relationship.
The service that I offer as an exhibition magician is to create that very first step. No, not of capturing the lead – but turning the delegate walking through the exhibition into a lead. This is often overlooked, and when it is thought about a marketing department’s solution may be to order some branded giveaways to draw attention. Your perfect customer could be walking past your stand and neither you or they will know it – especially if they aren’t interested in a branded mug.
And if you offer a service or software solution it can be even harder to stop delegates as they meander through the maze of booths and displays. (Admittedly it is easier with a product as samples can be displayed and demonstrations given). And that brings me onto ECCS.
When working on an exhibition stand it is almost a cliche as a magician to finish a trick and say “but the real magic here today is…” and talk a little about the product or service on offer. However, ECCS’s facilities and asset management solutions is seriously bordering on real magic. (Really, and that’s not a sentence I’d ever thought I’d say!) They have access to a range of different software solutions of packages; allowing real-time monitoring of facilities and assets, and then tracking and allocating ongoing maintenance. It was really impressive seeing real-life demonstrations, but in order for a delegate to understand the product on offer they need to dedicate a little time to it – and that’s more time a passing glance at a display board.
So there were two broad strategies ECCS could take for their lead acquisition: Quality or Quantity. As a professional close-up magician and mind-reader I can help with both – each have their own pros and cons.
Quantity Lead Generation
This essentially boils down to getting as many names as possible. This is what a typical Marketing Director will want from an exhibition. It’s a number that is immediately quantifiable (just total the number of rows on a spreadsheet) and gives an immediate overview of how the exhibition went. With only a little more number-crunching it is easy to ascertain which salespeople generated the most, and what days and times were premium. To summarise:
- Works well with products
- Works well on high foot-traffic areas
- Works well on recognised brands
- Quick turnover
- Minimal pre-qualification of leads
For this type of Lead Generation I use “quick tricks” – these are designed to quickly get the interest of passing delegates, explain the product/service and captures the lead. This works well with giving branded freebies (once the details have been captured).
Quality Lead Generation
This method will sacrifice quality because it takes longer. Delegates will spend longer on the stand, the downside is at busy periods when all the stand staff are busy delegates will walk past – missing potential leads. However, the benefit is the leads taken will be more qualified, and have a better understanding of the products and services being offered.
- Works well with more complex services and software
- Works well with lower volume of delegates
- Gives time to build the brand
- Slower turnover means less leads
- Leads have demonstrated an interest
With a lower volume of traffic the tricks can be a little more involved, with delegates spending more time stood on the stand before the service on offer is even mentioned; building trust and rapport. The delegates feel compelled to find out more as they’ve already invested something valuable (their limited time) on the stand. Often the delegate won’t even want a freebie, their takeaway is the knowledge they have about the product/service they have learnt about – plus the experience of high quality close-up magic.
Working with ECCS Ltd
With ECCS it was definitely a case of generating quality over quantity. Before each show I spend time researching the company I will be working with, and ask them to complete a questionnaire helping me to ascertain their goals and requirements of the exhibition. From that I can work out how I can best fit within their stand (both physically and as part of their strategy), and what material will work best. It was immediately obvious that the solutions ECCS offers are technical, and also varied depending on the needs of the client.
However, one of the ironies is that many of the delegates of the at the Workplace Event really would benefit from using ECCS – but without first knowing how they could benefit they would never know. And the “first knowing” isn’t a quick and easy process – it required slightly more than a snappy slogan, but a chat about the company (including an overview of their facilities and assets), and a demonstration of the relevant services. This was something that needed to be done directly with the ECCS team, and even then each specialised in their own area of expertise.
But with close-up magic I was able to stop people as they walked with a quick display of close-up magic. This enabled me to do the hardest (and most important) part of exhibiting at an exhibition: initiating dialogue. From there I could use my limited knowledge of ECCS to make some initial assessments. Sometimes it meant letting people walk away, and others to spend more time with.
Once it was assessed that there could be a fit between ECCS and the delegate I could then show some more magic that was a little more engaging and personal to the delegate. Though turnover (ie quantity) is important, ECCS main goal was quality. During the process of doing a trick more information about the delegate could be taken, helping to define their potential needs and what solution would be best for them. A further benefit: with a limited number of staff on the stand there would be times when all were busy with others – being able to keep someone engaged until one was available was critical.
The Workplace Event wasn’t standalone, and was part of four shows, with registration to one giving access to all four. Delegates naturally register to attend the show that fits their needs, but whilst at the NEC will look around the stands of the other allied shows. It was great to see people who hadn’t even considered facilities and asset management before stopping to see a trick, and leave the stand thinking it was one of the most important of the entire exhibition. It happened multiple times each day – and regularly with delegates who weren’t even there for the Workplace Event.
The Importance of an Exhibition Magician
During this case-study I have been focusing on how the magic was used to directly generate quality leads for ECCS to follow up, but it is important to remember that good quality and engaging magic will relate directly to the brand.
Primarily this is in initialising the dialogue with a passing delegate, building rapport and familiarity, and getting to the stage that the delegate returns to the office not only expecting a follow up email; but looking forward to it because they already have a relationship with a representative of a company who can help make their life easier.
But with strong and well presented magic it creates so much more. I make an effort to bring emotion into the magic, and that results in people getting emotionally involved and invested in it. This can be as simple as fun and laughter (and not just from some cheesy one-liners), expectation and surprise; but even crying tears of joy. And this emotional connection will link back to the exhibition, stand and company where they experienced it.
And this linking back isn’t just in the delegate’s memory, but nowadays on social media. Delegates will openly and publicly say what they like (and don’t like); not just that, they will also take pictures and link back to the original source. A couple of weeks after the Workplace Event I did a few quick searches on LinkedIn and found references and pictures to delegates talking about the magic they experienced, and linking it back to ECCS. (Remember I’m there to promote ECCS, not myself).
During this article I have included photos and screenshots of the comments. Bear in mind that these weren’t requested, or made by myself or ECCS; and that these were only on one platform – no doubt people also shared on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.
Now the hard work must start for ECCS, they have to contact those leads generated and continue the dialogue already started. Following up with ECCS I have been told that a number of high quality leads has already led to some very positive conversations, and a high proportion of the of those potential clients were people who would have carried on walking by if they had not been asked, “Would you like to see a quick trick?”
Email me ([email protected]) or call (07930 420257) to discuss your needs directly.
Many thanks to Laura, Katy, Rich and Elaine at ECCS Ltd.