4 Reasons Why Trade Shows Are Better Than Cold Calling

May 31, 2014

Timothy Carter

Timothy Carter is the Director of Business Development for the Seattle-based content marketing & social media agency AudienceBloom. When Timothy isn't telling the world about the great work his company does, he's planning his next trip to Hawaii while drinking some Kona coffee.
 
Knowing where to direct your efforts will help you get more customers who actually want to buy your products. This often leads to a big question. Should you focus on trade shows or cold calling? Here are 4 reasons that trade shows almost always come out on top.
 
Cold Calling Annoys People
 
Consider the mindset of people who get unexpected phone calls. They're either working, eating dinner, spending time with family, or engaged in other activities. They aren't sitting there waiting for you to give them a sales pitch.
 
When you cold call someone, you automatically have a disadvantage because that person sees you as a disturbance. He doesn't care what you have to say. He just wants to hang up and get back to life.
 
There's a reason that over 217 million people have registered with the Do Not Call List.
 
People Go to Trade Shows to Learn
 
People at trade shows have the opposite mind set. They're there because they want to learn more about products and services.
 
That means you get to meet potential clients on equal ground at trade show booths. You both want something from each other, and you're both willing to talk. No one is intruding. No one is being rude. You're engaging in the same activity. That makes people more cooperative and willing to listen to your pitch.
 
You Can't Educate People Over the Phone
 
Think of every cold calling script you've ever seen. They're all geared towards promising the customer something. Very few of them focus on educating the customer.
 
That's because it's difficult to educate anyone about anything over the phone. You can't use visual aids, and you can't gauge a person's understanding by watching facial expressions.
 
When you're on the phone, you're at a disadvantage that you can’t overcome. At best, you can throw promises and "facts" at the client. The chances are slim that the person will even listen to what you're saying.
 
Trade Shows Offer Great Educational Possibilities
 
With trade show displays, you have numerous educational options. You don't even have to talk to someone to teach them about your products and services. Some of your options include:
 
Signs
Videos
Brochures
Demonstrations
 
Of course, it's great to talk to people who pass by your booth. Unlike cold calls, you can have a real conversation with these people. You can watch their expressions, read their responses, and get a better sense of what they need from your company.
 
You can also send them on their way with printed information and giveaways that will remind them of the positive experience.
 
Cold calling has its place in the business world, but it's limited. In the long run, cold calling offers a cheap way to reach a lot of people. Unfortunately, it fails to generate the sales and personal connections that you can get from a trade show.
 
If you have tried both strategies, which have you found more successful? Are there certain techniques you'd recommend using at trade shows?
 

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