Sales @ Tradeshows like NACA : The Advance

When we leap into a NACA booth, we’re not merely looking to entertain or perform; we’re there with a purpose – to create lasting connections and secure bookings. For magicians attending the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) tradeshow, the key to success lies in mastering the art of creating “advances” with every prospect.

An Advance is like getting part of a contract signed

An “advance” in the context of a trade show represents a proactive and structured approach to lead prospects toward the next stage of the sales process. It’s not about letting them walk away with a vague promise to think things over; it’s about giving them a clear path forward and helping them make a decision.

Why Advances Matter:

  1. Accountability: When we offer an advance, we hold ourselves accountable to the prospect’s needs and timeframe. We take responsibility for guiding them through the decision-making process.
  2. Clarity: Advances provide clarity. Prospects are less likely to feel overwhelmed or unsure when they know what to expect next. It empowers them to make well-informed decisions.
  3. Efficiency: By moving prospects forward with advances, we save time for both parties. There’s no need for endless follow-up calls or waiting for decisions to be made.
  4. Service-Oriented: Offering advances is a service to the prospects. We help them navigate their options, set parameters, and decide with confidence.

Steps to Creating Advances:

  1. Identify Needs: Begin by understanding the prospect’s needs. Engage in active listening to uncover their pain points and what they’re looking for.
  2. Offer Solutions: Present your magic act as a solution to their needs. Highlight how your performance can address their specific requirements.
  3. Set a Timeline: Discuss a timeline for decision-making. Ask questions like, “When would you like to finalize your decision?” This gives a sense of urgency and direction.
  4. Propose the Next Step: Clearly state what the next step will be. For example, “If I get back to you on Monday, can we discuss your options at 2 pm?”
  5. Confirmation: Ensure the prospect agrees with the proposed advance. Their consent signifies commitment to moving forward.
  6. Follow Through: After the trade show, stick to the timeline you’ve set. Contact the prospect as agreed and continue the conversation.

Advances: feel good

Purpose: Advances are about progressing the prospect to the next stage of the sales process. They provide structure, clarity, and accountability in decision-making.

Benefits: Advances help prospects make informed decisions, reduce ambiguity, and save time. They offer a service-oriented approach to guiding prospects.

Outcome: The outcome of an advance is a commitment to a specific next step in the sales process, such as a follow-up call or a detailed proposal review.

Continuations: suck

Purpose: Continuations involve letting the prospect go without a clear next step. It’s a vague promise to think about the offer.

Downsides: Continuations can be vague, causing prospects to feel uncertain and potentially resulting in prolonged decision-making processes.

Outcome: Continuations may lead to prospects becoming unresponsive or indecisive, requiring more follow-up and potentially wasting time.

Our only option in following up on a continuation is nagging the person.

Closes: good and also difficult on first meeting

Purpose: A close involves securing a contract or a definite commitment from the prospect during the initial interaction.

Benefits: Closes result in immediate sales and clear agreements. They are suitable when the prospect is ready to make a decision.

Downsides: Trying to close too early can be off-putting for prospects who need more time to evaluate their options.

No’s: kinda nice

Purpose: A “no” is a definitive rejection from the prospect, indicating they are not interested in your offer.

Benefits: A clear “no” can save time and resources, allowing you to focus on more promising prospects.

Downsides: Receiving a “no” can be disappointing, but it also helps you quickly identify prospects who are not a good fit for your services.

In summary, advances are a valuable middle ground between continuations, closes, and “no”s. They offer a structured approach that guides prospects through the decision-making process, fostering clarity and accountability. While a close can be ideal when a prospect is ready to commit on the spot, advances are a more patient and service-oriented way to move prospects forward. Continuations, on the other hand, can lead to uncertainty and prolonged decision-making, while a clear “no” helps you focus your efforts more effectively.

Written for folks who want to attract and energize groups

Scot Nery is an emcee who has helped some of the biggest companies in the world achieve entertainment success. He's on an infinite misson to figure out what draws people in and engages them with powerful moments.

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