Would I lie to you?

Exhibitors fail to follow-up sales leads – fact or fiction? Jim Curry, founder of Exhibitor Smarts, puts his detective skills to the test. Two hundred. That’s the average number of lies we are told or hear every single day of our lives. The research study, published by respected social psychologist Jerald Jellison, means we could hear a whopping 73,000 lies every single year – and it’s only going to get higher. It’s fascinating when you start researching the subject of lying because you find out things you never knew. I found out that there are more than 30 different types of lies, stretching from little fibs right through to big, pathological ones. For example, former US president Bill Clinton’s assertion of, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” by definition sits somewhere between a dissembling lie and utter bull****. But let’s not get depressed about the darkness of human dishonesty – there is hope. You see, not all lies are negative; some are kind and playful like a surprise birthday party. And then there are the lies told for our benefit and enjoyment such as the story of Father Christmas. Other lies are told out of politeness or to spare our feelings. Do you really think I laughed out loud at that email? Please. Sometimes we tell lies to elicit a response from our audience. An example of this in the exhibition industry is the one we tell exhibitors about leads. “70/75/80 per cent (delete as applicable) of exhibition leads are not followed up.” This is a lie and we use it to shock exhibitors about the wasted opportunities at an exhibition in the hope that they don’t make the same mistake. It’s not a bad lie because it has good intentions and by definition is a combination of a little white lie, a half-truth and an exaggeration. Nonetheless it is a lie – or at least nobody can provide me with a burden of proof about where the ever-changing statistic comes from. The nearest people get is a research project by CEIR nearly eight years ago. All the way back to 2008 with the fading memories of the Beijing Olympics and the fallout of subprime lending. Times have changed drastically since then and none more so than the technological advances of lead management software used by exhibitors. A more recent study, by the American Exhibitor Media Group (2015), showed 69 per cent of exhibiting companies have a formal lead follow up plan in place for leads collected at trade shows and events. Furthermore, the majority of leads were followed up between two to five times. Not bad, huh? I think we can assume that the UK is tracking at roughly same rate if not higher. When you dig a little bit deeper it is no surprise that email (45 per cent) was by far the most popular initial follow up channel with direct mail (25 per cent) and personal phones call (24 per cent) a distant second and third respectively. You see, when you are prepared to challenge a lie the truth will come out, but that’s not the end of it. The mere discussion of this statement uncovers two issues that we need to address as an industry when it comes to the exhibitor community. The first is obvious. There is an absolute dearth of research about the single biggest revenue stream of the exhibitions industry – the exhibitor. In my experience research has always been slim on the ground in the UK exhibition industry and yet the wheel still turns, so perhaps we should just accept that there is no appetite for it amongst the power players. Personally I think having to rely on US research to justify a UK opinion is embarrassing, but I’ve never been a proud man. I also think that industry-wide exhibitor research could bring knowledge, insight, learning, opportunities, growth and ultimately revenue, which can only benefit each and every stakeholder in the industry. The second issue is altogether more worrying and even more subjective than the first. I think we lie to ourselves when we blame exhibitors’ poor lead management and performance traits on the very businesses that fund our industry. Across the board we are sending out analogue signals to exhibitors who switched to digital receivers a long time ago. There is a massive disconnect between the exhibitor communities and their objectives in comparison to the service, management and training we provide collectively – and that’s the truth.   This article was first published in the August issue of EN. Any comments? Email Jamie Wallis
Jim Curry
Posted by Jim Curry
PopularComments
Twitter Facebook Google+ LinkedIn

Related Stories

Others on EN

This time, it’s personal

This time, it’s personal

Christine Martin, marketing director EMEA at GES, discusses how the live events industry can get ahead of the mass customisation curve.
The price of free speech?

The price of free speech?

RefTech’s Simon Clayton says letting speakers pay to host sessions might work once, but in the long term visitors will feel disappointed and duped.
Positive challenges ahead

Positive challenges ahead

Chris Criscione, ESSA board chair and managing director Equinox Design looks ahead to ESSA’s next decade.

CONFEX 2017 LIVE

Most Read Stories

Lourda Derry: Making the connection

Lourda Derry: Making the connection

Lourda Derry, director of Easyfairs UK addresses the science behind operations and the profile of our audiences.
Steve Monnington: The Dealmaker in March

Steve Monnington: The Dealmaker in March

Steve Monnington of Mayfield Media Strategies, runs the rule over the latest global exhibition deals.
Helen Lowe: Marketing déjà vu

Helen Lowe: Marketing déjà vu

Helen Lowe, events and marketing manager at Europa International, talks about the importance of keeping up with the creativity amidst the chaos.

Latest News

Searcys collection launches event showcase

Searcys collection launches event showcase

Searcys, a collection of UK restaurants, bars and venues, has announced a series of summer pop-ups and event spaces designed to showcase several of its 29 venues.
Circdata reveals launch of new Organiser Portal

Circdata reveals launch of new Organiser Portal

Event registration specialist Circdata has announced the launch of its Organiser Portal, as part of the new Fusion 2.0 event technology platform.
Blackhawk to sell off Grass Roots Meetings & Events division

Blackhawk to sell off Grass Roots Meetings & Events division

California-based Blackhawk Network intends to sell the Meetings & Events division of Grass Roots, a company it acquired in 2016 for a reported US$118m.

Latest Features

My Working Life by Richard Jarvill

My Working Life by Richard Jarvill

The managing director of JMT talks furniture and floorcoverings, his first foray into events and being an extra in a Brad Pitt film.
2 Minutes With Emily Shaw

2 Minutes With Emily Shaw

The new strategy director at FreemanXP talks rigour, empathy and Sharpies in all the colours of the rainbow.
The Wheel Deal

The Wheel Deal

What do you get when you cross a Hollywood film studio with a UK event organiser? A £25m deal and the launch of Fast & Furious Live of course...

Latest Galleries

London Book Fair 2017

London Book Fair 2017

From 14 to 16 March, more than 25,000 visitors from over 130 countries visited Olympia London for the 46th edition of The London Book Fair. A year of celebration, highlights included a tribute to The Wizard of Oz’s yellow brick road, the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter, 70 years of Indian independence and much more.
LondonEdge celebrates 35th show

LondonEdge celebrates 35th show

Alternative fashion show LondonEdge returned to the Business Design Centre on 12-13 February, celebrating its 35th edition.
Crufts 2017

Crufts 2017

Pedigree dog show, Crufts, once again celebrated all that is great about dogs when it returned to the NEC on 9-12 March. The show attracts around 22,000 dogs annually from around the world, competing for a place in the prestigious Best in Show final.