I had an amazing experience of another trade fair. Unlike the previous fairs which were held at Kingston University, this was at Eden Walk shopping Centre, Kingston town outside the university. Because of the unfamiliar environment and access by the general public, this particular Fair was more nerve wrecking. The idea of holding the trade fair outside the confines of school was to give students a practical experience by exposing them to a wider audience, judges and to also sell our products.
With the D-Day fast approaching, preparation was vital so we hyped the event on social media to raise awareness, printed out 300 fliers for customers to remember us in future and one prototype which was very expensive because of the urgency. We further decided on a uniform dress code for visibility and then strategized for the trade stand.
Our product was called the ‘Journal of Memoirs’, a highly interactive book of activities for the elderly that are at the risk of being lonely and depressed. The concept of the journal is to enable the elderly to recall their life memories and share with the current generation for posterity. Spread throughout one year, the tasks therein keep them mentally engaged and reduce their loneliness. For this trade fair, we were going to display a prototype because the final product was still work in progress.
The day of the trade fair was here to test and strengthen our entrepreneurial drive and skills which is where the selling process comes into play, refer to my blog post on “the selling process”
Terrified at this point but quickly remembered that selling should be an interactive process between the seller and the buyer and it starts with becoming customer oriented and having a good attitude to deliver exceptional service that is very vital to closing a sell for business growth. As a team, we agreed that a good attitude and client-centeredness was going to be our strategy to deliver an exceptional product.
Throughout the day, we approached and interacted with many customers from youth to elderly people while also many approached our trade stand showing interest in our product. The secret to selling our product was matching the product features to the benefits and as the day went by selling became a lot easier and more interactive. At the end of day many, customers showed interest in the product and requested to buy the final book while others gave us great feedback for improvement.
Overall, the experience tested our selling and interpersonal skills as well as objection handling skills because there were instances where some customers did not appreciate the product and we had to professionally display a good attitude through persuasion and dealt with their objection.
My overall reflection on the trade fair is that fear hinders most of us from selling and yet the customers when approached are willing to listen and make their own sense of judgment whether to buy a product.
It is vital to sell while matching the product benefit to the product features for the customer to understand the product and make their own judgment if it is what they want.
In the absence of the final product, we took down customer details under confidentiality to share updates and Follow-up on the customers who are vital for us to build relationship and later sell the book to them.