Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Leads are walking by your booth by the hundreds - grab them!

I went to a "vendor show" at my University recently put on by Scientists Solutions Events.  This company puts on small 10-12 vendor lunch meetings at Universities and Pharmaceutical companies, where vendors show their wares to scientists right on campus.  Since I am indirectly involved with this company, I wanted to see how the vendors themselves interact with scientists and see how this compared with my experience at the ASCB meeting a month back.

For the most part the sales staff of these vendors were friendly and responsive to my queries.  Most were more than happy to give me the details of their newest product lines. I was surprised at how much prodding it took to get answers from some and, I got the feeling that others were more interested in getting my contact info for later.  I was right there obviously engaged, the perfect time to get to know me and my story.  And to be truthful some tried, but most seemed taken aback that I was interested in them and their story.

Admittedly, many of the "scientists" at these events are there looking for a meal and an ipod, but the decision makers are usually right back in the labs they are going back to later.  Here's how you can plant a seed with the 'lower downs'.

Engage them with a joke or quick funny story.  Then ask them, "Is anyone in your lab struggling with (techniques, kits, finding the right antibody)?".  If they say yes, give them a card and WRITE your number on it, even if its already on there.  Tell them to pass your contact info on to the right person, or better yet get the scientist's name, or better yet ask if they will introduce you later that day.  That is a hot lead.  That is a struggling scientist that will buy your product, because they need your help.

You see all labs have lab meetings every week, where scientists get up, present their experiments, and discuss all the problems they are having.  Every scientists from technician to PI that walked by your booth knows 10 scientists that are struggling with an experiment, because of these lab meetings.

Use this knowledge to your advantage! Write down and practice 10 questions to ask scientists that will lead to you to the decision maker that is struggling with an experiment.  Feel free to post your potential questions as comments below.

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