Editor's note: This article was originally written in Italian and translated by M. Giulia Biagiotti. You can find the original article here.
The most exciting travel and tourism trade show of the Italian industry is BIT! Are you going to the next one? Hmm... okay, maybe not so much. Your boss has decided that it's not worth it to let you participate.
"If we all go we'll be behind on scheduled activities"
"Your presence at the tradeshow is not necessary"
"If you are not in the office, the evil monkey in the locker will conquer the place and fill our PCs with bananas"
Who knows how many objections you have received when you've asked to participate in events and tradeshows? But there's still time to act! Whether you want to participate for personal professional reasons or for your business, you can still convince your boss to let you go. Today we'll tell you how.
A persuasion process is exactly like a sales process. You are the seller. The product you want to sell is the value of the results you can achieve by participating. And your boss? He is your client. You should listen to him, understand his reasons, and finally come up with good points to convince him.
1. Knowledge is power, so let's go crazy with numbers!
As every manual will tell you, the first step to convince someone of something is to present its clear and practical benefits to the person you are talking to. Don't limit your list to the benefits related to your professional life. Try to list all the possible benefits for the company you are going to represent.
Don't forget to mention the opportunity to grow sales opportunities, the variety of thought leaders you will be able to bring back and all the news and updates that all tradeshows bring with themselves. Nonetheless, you may already know that all the best start-up pitches start with numbers: potential market, investments needed, project timing, etc.
When communicative skills are not enough, numbers can do the difference. Start by thinking to the past edition, where [BIT] counted:
- 2000 companies
- 1500 buyers from over 60 different countries
- 1500 journalists
- 100 bloggers
- over 50000 visitors
Not bad, huh? Which one of those numbers could be your starting point to convince your boss it's going to be a great opportunity?
2. When ROI matters
Think about your boss as your client: he will believe you and your value proposition only when he understands the value of your offer. Those are the results you can bring to the table from the investment in the product. How can you show him the results in a language he will understand?
He will want to know what he gains in letting you go to the trade show: literally. As for each business plan, marketing strategy and so on, never forget to think in terms of tangible results and more specifically, in terms of return on investment (ROI).
How to calculate the ROI of your participation to a trade show in the travel and tourism industry? Easy! You have to consider 2 main pillars:
- Investment: the working hours spent at the trade show (hourly cost of your work at the trade show), all the expenses related to your participation (for instance, transportation, accommodation, ticket) and the opportunity costs of being there (e.g. the revenues because you were not in the headquarter, if any).
- Return on Investment: what are your goals for the trade show? What do you want to achieve by participation? Are you trying to increase the number of commercial partners? Define a maximum of 3 trade show targets and translate them into achievable data (e.g. find 3 new social media influencers); then try to determine the monetary benefits of it for your company. For instance, increase the number of bookings from your website from social medias in 3 months.
3. The secret of the perfect sale is the sense of urgency
Think about it – what's missing in your company to express all its potential? Is it being able to stay up to date on the latest tourism trends? A system that allows you to manage your bookings more efficiently? Some new ways to optimize your tourism marketing strategy? A specific partnership to distribute your tour and activities?
Think about this from your boss' perspective and what matters for him. I am sure the first thing that comes to your mind is money. Then ask yourself:
How much revenue is the company missing out on because it has not started that specific strategy/partnership/channel?
The need of expansion that he is looking for can easily find satisfaction in a trade show, especially one like BIT or WTM, thanks to your valuable participation.
4. Take advantage of the 80/20 principle
The 80/20 law, known in economics as as Pareto principle, also has considerable applications in management. In summary it says that "80% of the effect is due to the 20% of the causes".
In the working life of those who run tours and activities every day, we can say that 80% of your success comes from 20% of your activities.
With respect to the event in question, you should be able to think: What can I get during the event (20) that can have a positive impact on the majority of my annual results (80)? It's simple, you might learn about an industry player that allows you to make your business processes more efficient. You might meet a travel blogger who will serve as an influencer. You could meet people who affect the deepening of the dynamics of the niche tourism market.
This principle established by our friend Pareto will help you frame your "trade objectives" in an even more practical and focused and create a plausible scenario of the expected results to be presented to your boss.
I hope that our advice will be useful!
Tell us what you think in the comments!
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