Successful Exhibiting Training Seminars

 

  

Lindy Lear, who Colin interviews here, attended a Best of Show Seminar and was subsequently highly successful in applying some of the tips and ideas from that workshop.

In this interview Lindy shares some of her methods and successes.

Best of Show™ assists Exhibitors to attain the highest ROI at trade and consumer shows – anywhere.  Our seminars and educational materials have been developed and are maintained by Colin Green. Colin is a Certified Trade Show Marketer (CTSM). 

Information on Best of Show™ seminars, workshops, eBooks, DVDs and CDs are on our website, www.bestofshow.com.  Or telephone Colin in  Sydney at (02)9589-2000.  Our New Zealand telephone (04)570-2000 redirects to Sydney.


Colin:              Lindy, thank you so much for joining us. Tell me about yourself and Rocket Property Group, please.

 

Lindy:             Sure, Colin. I’m Lindy Lear and I’m the training and sales manager with Rocket Property Group, a real estate agency, one of the leading independent agencies in Australia. We virtually “rocket” people into investment properties, I guess, is one way we could say it! We help people find and buy an investment property and we take all the stress out of it for them.

 

We help them find where to buy it and educate them on the process all the way through to completion—the contracts and the sale. All of our clients love us. They come back and we help them build their portfolio, so it’s what we say, “rocket” them into the top five percent of people in Australia, who are growing wealth through property.

 

Colin:              It sounds like an effective and very safe way to get into property!

 

Lindy:             Yes, well, with most people, their biggest problem is they don’t know where to buy, how to do it or how to start, so that’s how we help people. We talk to groups, run seminars, and show them that our motto is “investing in property is easy” - certainly easier than you think. We’ll hold your hand, help find the right property, help you buy it, and make sure it’s in the right area so that you can then launch yourself into your next one.

 

Colin:              Sounds great! Tell me about your exhibiting experiences. Why did you exhibit in the first place?

 

Lindy:             This year is our first time exhibiting, as Rocket Property has never done a property expo before. Because we’ve decided to expand and have taken on a lot of new, independent agents that work with us, we wanted to be able to grow the number of clients that we can attract, so we decided to try the property expo.

 

Colin:              You came to a Best of Show Exhibiting Training workshop. Why did you do that?

 

Lindy:             I remember your email coming in soon after we decided to book. It was a fairly late booking and I felt that if we were going to pay all that money to do it, we needed to make sure we were going to get the results that we would expect.

 

Your email discussed how to make sure that we made the most of the property expo and I thought, “Why wouldn’t I go and find out how to do it to the best of our ability and make the most of it?” So I said to Ian, who is the director of the company, “I would like to attend,” and he backed me all the way. I was very, very glad I went.

 

Colin:              What exactly did you want to achieve there? Was there any particular outcome or solution that you were seeking?

 

Lindy:             Yes. Because we hadn’t done it before, we didn’t know how to make the stand look, how important it was, or how to brand ourselves properly. We knew that people had to be attracted to stop so we wanted to make sure that we knew how to get people to stop at our stand without doing what a lot of people do, which is stand in front of them and become annoying.

 

                        I went through all of the topics that were in the schedule of what the course offered, and they were all the things that attracted me, like “what was your goal” and “what were you trying to achieve.” That made me sit down and think about it.

 

Also things like how to set the stand up and where to actually pick the stand—we didn’t have much choice in that, but it certainly showed me that a corner stand was definitely a good way to go. How to actually promote that we were going to be in the expo—that was one of the things I wanted to find out, how we could do some pre-show promotions.

 

But I was really interested in how to get people to stop and how to make sure that the staff would be the right people to get people to stop. Everything that was in the course looked like what I needed to know.

 

Colin:              So stopping prospects was particularly important to you as was establishing your exhibiting objectives.

 

Lindy:             Yes. I knew we wanted to be there to obtain lots of leads, but it made me think there could be other objectives. I definitely wanted to find out know how to make our stand and ourselves look so that people would stop.

 

Colin:              We spoke about how to stop prospects at length; what did you actually do with the information we shared to improve your exhibiting performance and results? When you went back to your office, what immediate actions did you take?

 

Lindy:             I remember the first thing I did was to set up the manual. I remember you said, “Make sure you’ve got a manual with all your information together.”

                        You also said to make sure that whomever you choose from the staff, train them so that they know what our company objectives are, and that when they’re there, they are being effective.

 

                        So when I got back, I set up a training night with all of our agents and they came once a week for the four weeks before the expo—gave up their own time at night. We did role playing and all the sort of things that I knew they probably weren’t aware of—how to look for a customer that might want to stop, but some people actually need to be approached.

 

                        They want you to stop them and help them, so we needed to know how to identify them from the people who are sort of saying, “No, don’t come near me; I’m just walking past.” I found that learning how to talk to the clients, the questions to ask, all the training I set up was one of the main things.

 

                        I thought if I could train the staff, if they knew what they wanted to achieve and what we wanted to achieve, we were more likely to get what we wanted. The main thing was to sell investment properties on the day and try and get as many qualified leads as we could. We also had brainstorming sessions.

 

As soon as I got back from your course and implemented the training and set up the objectives, we got on our way and everything followed from that—the design of the stand, what we were going to wear—and everything flowed from going back and taking some action straight away.

 

Colin:              I’m really interested that you managed to get the staff to actually come on their own time. How did you get them to buy into your ideas and your program? That’s fairly remarkable—you must be very persuasive.

 

Lindy:             Well, the expo was for them. It was a win-win situation. If they’re there and they’re all sales agents, then any leads that they cold generate would be their own. So more leads means more clients and more properties we, as a company, sell, but that also grows their database of potential clients. So they were more than happy to give up their time.

 

They came to the expo as volunteers because from that, they were going to virtually be able to grow their database and grow their sales, which motivated them because that’s their goal. They love helping other people buy investment properties.

 

Colin:              How did your management take to it? Often management can be a little bit cautious about expos.

 

Lindy:             I’m on the management panel, but it was our business consultant who saw the opportunity and said we should be there because we hadn’t before since we didn’t have the staff and the company was much smaller. All of our clients had come from referrals and I think the company had enough referrals and sales.

 

But since we took on and trained a whole new sales staff to grow the company, we need to give, I think, responsibility to them to grow their database and leads, and they took to the challenge by giving up their own time and coming to training. They took it very seriously and they wanted to be there, which was excellent for us.

 

Colin:              So basically you took the material from Best of Show, adapted it, and re-presented it on the evenings for your staff.

 

Lindy:             Yes. Just focusing on your key points, which were the importance of having objectives, being professional, why it was important that they had a goal, and they all set their own personal targets of how many leads they wanted. I made them aware of some of the things you taught me such as how to recognize who our target market was.

 

                        Particularly, we did a lot of role plays on how to engage people with questions as they walked past or stopped and glanced, and how to present so that people would be attracted to and want to talk to them.

 

                        You know what idea we came up with? We normally would have had a name badge with just their name.

 

                        We decided to put their name and the number of properties that they have invested in because all of our sales agents have investment properties themselves. So they very proudly had their badge on which said, for example, “Brian—I have six properties.” That was the real talking point when they were introducing themselves to people.

 

Colin:              I think that’s fantastic! It’s a really good twist and a really good idea.

 

Lindy:             It really worked well and just made it natural. The questions we role-played, which were all of the open-ended type questions, they all came up with their own groups of questions, things like introducing themselves and the Rocket stand and saying, “What’s your interest here at the expo today?” and “What sort of investment properties are you looking for?” “When do you want to start investing?” They had all of that practiced and they did role play them. There were a lot of laughs.

 

Colin:              They used open-ended, qualifying questions—that was great.

 

Lindy:             Yes. That was one of the important things to teach them, that you don’t want to intimidate people or ask, “Would you like to buy a property?” Of course, they’re going to say no and walk away. What I noticed, because I observed the stand a lot from looking up the aisle, was that our stand was always full of people. I think a lot had to do with the type of staff that were there.

 

They’re all very people orientated and lots of smiles and very friendly. I think our Rocket Property shirts were casual but professional. We didn’t have suits on and we found engaging and stopping people was easy. Some of our staff actually put out their hands and shook hands and introduced themselves. It’s just saying that our stand was an attractive, friendly stand that people wanted to visit.

 

Colin:              We’d spoken of what you did before the show and now you’ve gone on to what was happening at the show. How successful do you think the exhibit really was?

 

Lindy:             Extremely successful. I must admit, I have worked on stands for things like fitness expos because I was in the fitness industry for 20 years. The number of leads that groups of staff would get, compared to what we did, at other shows getting 50 leads in a weekend was considered good. Each agent probably got 50 on their own and some of our agents actually got 80 to 100 leads each.

 

Colin:              Excellent!

 

Lindy:             As I said, they each gave up their time. Some of them weren’t even there for the whole three days, but in total we probably got over 600 new, qualified leads. The beauty was that there’s no one person just having to follow them up because we run follow-up seminars and the invitation was to call the people and invite them to our property seminars.

 

Our success rates, not just from getting the leads, but now that we’re doing the follow up, are probably 60% to 70% to get those people to attend our seminars. I had a happy group of sales agents, I can tell you. Together, they set their own goals but as a company, it’s driven a whole new group of clients into our quarterly seminars.

 

We’re still booking them in. We have a seminar next week and we’re finding that the conversion rate to get the leads was high, but now to convert them into our educational seminars and then on to showing them how to get started into investing, we are over the moon.

 

Colin:              So as I’m understanding it, you have a two-step process. The first thing is to talk with the people, get them to come to the seminar. Then at the seminar, show them how they can be highly successful and then move them on to property. Did you actually manage to get people to purchase at the stand?

 

Lindy:             Yes, we did that as well. We had sales on the day and we did sales demonstrations on the day, so agents were actually showing them some of the available properties. The stand itself was very colorful, very bright, and had pictures of the types of properties that we market, which are high-end, beautiful looking properties, but in an affordable price range.

 

                        It was those sort of things and the design of the stand, which was another thing you really emphasized, the stopping power of the design. We had a wonderful man in our company who actually did the design and we had stopping power. The colour, the photos, and some of the simple statements really got across the message that we have what people are looking for, which is an affordable property and, “Boy, that looks pretty good.”

 

                        So we had agents bringing people into the stand and showing them through some of our property brochures and we did sell properties over the weekend. That was a goal and probably you mightn’t expect that many sales, but we were very, very happy that people did purchase.

 

Colin:              Of course people wouldn’t purchase if you couldn’t stop them in the first place. The big thing here was your ability to arrest people and stop them, and you did that very successfully with the open-ended, qualifying questions, the “what” question. Then also saying to people, “I know what I’m talking about. I own property,” and that was right on the badge.

 

Lindy:             I listened to the agents and I was also talking to people, but one of the first questions the person would ask them was, “Oh, you’ve got six properties. Where are they and how long did it take you to get them? How did you do it?” So we actually found that the potential customer was asking us questions and it was much easier to then show them what we have, give them information to take away and book them into the seminars.

 

                        We did have a giveaway as well and I felt that was a very attractive way for people to feel good once they’re in the stand. I remember you saying that if people feel good and you can solve a problem for them once you find out what their problem is, and if you can make them feel good about you as a company, they’re more likely to remember you.

 

                        Our giveaway was a weekend for two. When I’ve been calling people (and all the agents give me the same feedback), they remember us so well because they remember putting their name in the draw, but it wasn’t just doing it for the sake of it; they were all people who had an interest in property.

 

The fact that they didn’t win the draw, since obviously only one person could win, we had a bit of a laugh about it over the phone and then they go straight into, “Well, can I still come to the seminar?” and it’s, “Oh yes, of course you can! We’ll book you in.”

 

So the giveaway idea was a good way to make people feel good in the stand. It was something that they could potentially get from an involvement with us, which I liked. I liked the fact that people felt we were giving them something, giving them a good feeling, and good prospect of winning a weekend away.

 

Colin:              It seems then, that you’ve got a three-pronged approach to stopping people. You have staff which are personable and thinking very carefully about what they’re saying. You’ve also got a good-looking, bright stand. I remember it—it was bright red and you had some really, really lovely pictures of properties which makes one salivate.

 

The third, of course, was the ability to participate with that particular giveaway. As you know, I’m always cautious about giveaways, but they can be really, really powerful and obviously yours was because it was remembered.

 

Lindy:             Yes. Part of the idea was to qualify them first. It wasn’t a case of stopping people as they went past and saying, “Would you like to go into the draw?” That wasn’t the question. I don’t think any of the agents even had that in their list of qualifying questions. It was all about properties.

 

Then it was about, “Would you like to either look at properties or have more information on our seminars? By putting your name down to go to a seminar you automatically go in the draw to win a weekend for two.” So it was like the last step. People weren’t coming into the stand to go into the giveaway. You qualify first because that was the topic of conversation and the agents, in fact, qualified just about everyone who went in the door.

 

Colin:              That’s clever. That was good.

 

Lindy:             Everything worked well. Everything you said worked well!

 

Colin:              Lindy, let me ask you, did you encounter any challenges in achieving your outcome?

 

Lindy:             Not really - I had too many people on the stand, I thought.

 

Colin:              Staff or visitors?

 

Lindy:             We had eight volunteers to come particularly on Saturday and Sunday. We had a roster and they were meant to be an hour on and an hour off, and they self-regulated. I didn’t have to say, “There are too many.” If they found things went a bit quiet, perhaps when some of the free seminars were on, they’d automatically wander away and I never noticed.

 

That was one of the things that I was worried about, that I had too many people, but then when I wandered away and came back, I found that there could be up to six or seven of the staff there, happily chatting. We had a lot of brochure stands with very bright, colorful flyers and information packs on some of our properties. People would stop for that.

 

Even if everyone was busy, there would be somebody stopping to look at the information and then as somebody else moved on, it was really a wonderful flow. The main challenge was getting all the design of the stand ready on time because we only had a short period. Apart from that, I think everything went well because I thought we were very well prepared. I learned a lot.

 

Also, we changed the design of the stand overnight. On the first day I wasn’t happy with it and it looked a bit cluttered, so I came in early the next morning, moved the brochure stands around and created three little staging posts on each corner and it provided a lot more ability for people to flow through the stand and be around us without stopping the rest of the aisle.

 

Colin:              Were there any other spin-offs from your particular strategy?

 

Lindy:             We had a lot of associate-type people who approached us, developers who were there and we actually made a lot of business contacts apart from client contacts and potential customers. So yes, we made some very good business associations, which I thought were very worthwhile.

 

I went around and introduced myself to a lot of people, particularly if they were in complementary fields. A lot of people came and gave us business cards and made sure they became known. They followed me up and I followed up our own contacts, so that was a benefit.

 

We were so impressed with the Show Management and the way the whole expo was run. We were particularly impressed with the way our stand worked because it was in a very good aisle, so we instantly rebooked for the other shows in Brisbane and Melbourne.

 

We were holding off for that but we didn’t have to wait—we found that by the end of the show, we knew that this was going to be worthwhile. That was something we learned very quickly, if you’ve planned and have good staff, that you can make an expo work for you, even better than we expected. We exceeded all of our goals.

 

Colin:              That’s really good to hear. That brings me to something else too. You’ve clearly enjoyed huge success. Are you planning on implementing other strategies and ideas from the workshop?

 

Lindy:             Because I only did the training course with Best of Show just four weeks out from the expo, we didn’t have a lot of time to do pre-show promotion through to our own current clients. We did send out a lot of free tickets to our current clients and a lot of them did pop by and say hello, but I felt that we didn’t have a lot of time to do marketing of our brand, perhaps getting advertorial and things.

 

So next time, I would definitely be focusing on more pre-show promotion to our own clients and perhaps out into the public more, using that avenue of a little bit more advertorial. We didn’t do any advertising; we didn’t need to, I guess. But that would be an aspect—I’d spend more time doing pre-show promotion of Rocket, I think.

 

Colin:              It’s interesting that despite the fact that you came in so late and you could do no pre-show promotion, yet simply fixing so carefully on that strategy of being able to stop people at your stand, really make your stand and your people work so that it was all very stoppable, really achieved such amazing results for you. I shudder to think what you’ll achieve next time.

 

Lindy:             Well, as I said, we’re already booked for two more in the other states and we can’t wait to be there. The show was very busy and the people who did come past on the property side were all property people. They were very qualified.

                       

                        I would say 95% of the people who walked past us were there for property, which made it easy. Our hats off to the Organisers for getting the property magazines or wherever else—I saw it everywhere. I look for it because I’m a property person.

 

Colin:              How can people contact you if they want to know more about Rocket Property Group?

 

Lindy:             They can go on our website, www.rocketpropertygroup.com.au

It’s a very new website. Would you believe we’ve never had to market before—we’ve always had referrals for clients, but now we’re growing so we’ve started a good information-type website. We don’t sell properties over the Web; we’re very much a people-focused company.

 

                        Now that we’ve met all of these wonderful leads, we meet them again at the seminars and we find that going to the expo to actually get face to face with potential customers, they remember us. I don’t think I’ve met anyone that I’ve spoken to that didn’t remember me personally if I had a chat with them and the same with my agents.

 

                        We’re very much people orientated. People can contact us through the website. We see people at our offices, which are in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and they can call us or email. My address is lindy (AT) rocketpropertygroup.com.au. We’d love to talk to anyone who wants to find out about the show.

 

If they need some help, I’m very happy to talk to anyone to help them if they’re thinking of going into a show and giving them some ideas. If they’re interested in doing investment properties and finding out how they can get started, we’d love to invite them to one of our seminars.

 

Colin:              That, of course, would go for international people also because Australia is one of the key countries around which is really booming in some parts of the property market; is that true?

 

Lindy:             Yes. One of the interesting offshoots was that we were contacted by people who worked with the Department of Immigration who promote to people who are immigrating to Australia in the high-investor area. They come into Australia and have to make investments. So that’s led us to a huge new market that we’re going to be promoting to.

 

It’s the overseas market who come to Australia and virtually have to do an investment within the first 12 months. They come in with hundreds of thousands of dollars in their pockets. That was a huge bonus to us as well so we’re very happy with that one.

 

Colin:              Tremendous! Lindy, is there anything else you’d like to comment on?

 

Lindy:             Just thank you, Colin, because everything I learned when I went to your training made me believe that we could make the most of this opportunity. I think if we’d gone there without it, we’d have done okay, but you pulled everything together.

 

We were there to raise our profile, sell properties and obtain really good, qualified leads of people interested in learning how to invest and being able to help them start a property portfolio. If I hadn’t gone to your seminar, I don’t think we’d have pulled it off quite as well.

 

I don’t think we would have had that vibrant, bright red stand. It definitely had stopping power. So thank you to you, Colin. It was a very worthwhile day spent. I don’t regret one minute of it.

 

Colin:              Well, thank you very much for your time, Lindy. I really appreciate your agreeing to be interviewed.

 

Lindy:             You’re very welcome.

 

 

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