Trash and trinkets – that’s what we used to call the various items of merchandise that were required when my marketing teams were organising a trade show for one of my previous employers. If you are exhibiting at a trade show, depending upon the type of show, you must plan what will be demonstrated on your stand and order the exorbitantly priced hard-wired internet connection and lead scanners. Along with that, and with equal importance, is the decision of what type of company merchandise will be given away on your stand. Merchandise is big business and every year you can see the new trends in company giveaways, from stress balls to USB sticks, iPhone covers to fidget spinners and even fidget spinner bottle openers but there is one staple item that keeps coming back year after year and it begs the question, “How do mints generate leads at trade shows?”
Why do people want mints? It is more for the people on the stands to mask their coffee breath or do companies believe that if you give a prospect small packet of mints that elevates your product or service above your competitors? Mints come in a wide variety of containers and sometimes those small tin cases are very hard to open. If your packet is easy to open are you subliminally sending the message that your product is easy to use? Some mint packets are so small that they don’t have any space for contact details or a call to action. So, what is their purpose?
Whenever I say to my son, I am going to a trade show he always asks me to bring him back, “some of those mints” and as any obliging father would, I always say “yes, of course I will get you as many different packets that I can find”. I do find myself at quite a few trade shows throughout the year. I might be supporting a client or just attending to meet new people with a mission of business development, but whatever ever the reason, I always have that requirement in the back of mind to “look out for the mints”. I am not a prospect because I am never likely to buy that companies products, but I will accept a free tin of mints for the kids.
Every time I go to our “sweeties draw” and pull out the mints, I don’t have an instant connection with the company whose logo is on the front of the tin. So, what is the point of ordering and supplying tins of mints at a technology trade show? Are they designed to sit on a prospects desk and depending upon the flavour of the mints the person then decides if they make contact and talk about their potential requirements? Do they call back and say, I was just eating your mints and they were so delicious that it’s prompted me to give you call and discuss my cloud telephony requirements?
I would be genuinely interested to hear if anyone has made a sale that they have been told started with mints. But then again, there doesn’t always have to been logic in making a new sales contact. Any method that starts a conversation with a prospect is beneficial. The science is then in making sure you have a seamless approach to follow-up, no matter where the lead comes from.