Marketing Book Worth a Look: Three Feet from Seven Figures, by David Spark

August 27, 2016

One of online marketing’s biggest challenges is holding our audience’s attention. We want more than a click and a bounce—we want to begin a relationship. That’s hard to do in a digital environment full of distractions. It takes solid content marketing strategy to attract an audience and keep them engaged.

Now take that problem, shrink it into a microcosm and bring it into the real word. That’s what you get at an industry trade show. The people attending the show paid to be there—they have already expressed an interest in what your company does (at least tangentially). But as they walk the halls, there are hundreds of other vendors competing for their attention.

You want more than a nod from people as they walk past your booth. To justify your trade show budget, you need to entice people to stop.  The last three feet from the aisle to inside your booth can make or break your trade show ROI.

Few marketers have more experience closing that distance than Spark Media Solutions Founder David Spark. David has spent years practicing and perfecting the art of trade show domination. On the Spark Minute blog, he shares tips on everything from creating real-time content at a trade show, to effective in-person networking. 

David has seen the good, bad, and the ugly of trade show behavior in the past decade. He brings his experience—both sterling examples and cautionary tales—to bear in his new book.

This Month’s Recommended Reading: Three Feet from Seven Figures: One-on-One Engagement Techniques to Qualify More Leads at Trade Shows.

In Three Feet from Seven Figures, David demonstrates just how much potential there is at trade shows, and how the majority of that potential is wasted. He aims to help marketers channel their invested time and energy into more effective engagement—and keep them from watching helplessly as possible customers walk on by.

What Inspired David to Write Three Feet from Seven Figures

David was inspired to write the book after years of observing bad, timid, or indifferent vendors at trade shows. “For my work at Spark Media Solutions, I spend a lot of time on trade show floors interviewing people on camera. I am stunned at the fortunes people spend on trade show booths and giveaways, and how absolutely no money is spent on training the people who will actually work the booth,” David says.

“Companies are spending thousands if not tens of thousands per hour to be at a trade show, and yet people stand around and stare at their phone or work on their computer. Who wants to approach a person who is ignoring the audience?”

For David, the problem is not just the people on the convention floor—it’s a systemic lack of strategic planning. “Companies have no system for how to identify a prospect, stop a stranger, engage with them, determine if they're qualified, and have a systematic personalized follow up process. The reality is most people stand around their booth with absolutely no specific objective other than to answer questions from people who approach them. Problem is most people don't know who you are and therefore are not going to approach you.”

David wrote the book to teach a more proactive approach. “Booth operators need to approach the audience. And they need to practice how they're actually going to do it. Unfortunately, nobody ever does that, and they need to, because it costs so much to be at a trade show, and you have a limited window to be successful. You need to learn everything you can to capitalize on that.”

Why You Should Read It

We asked David what marketers can learn from Three Feet from Seven Figures. “The number one thing marketers have to gain from reading this is to realize that this is an enormous problem,” David says. “Most people simply do not know how to behave at a trade show, don't understand the gravity and value of it, and don't realize that there needs to be incentive to perform. If you're truly working correctly at a trade show you should be exhausted by the end of it.”

But, David says, the book does more than just increase awareness of the problem. He aims to provide a set of tactics marketers can use to optimize their trade show presence. “This book will offer tips on opening lines, how to move to qualification, and explain why you shouldn't have your sales people working the booth,” David says.

It’s more than learning how to be more assertive, though. In a way, trade shows are hours-long performances. “Most marketing professionals know that you need to train an employee to perform on camera,” David says. “Same is true with trade shows. Being on camera or working a trade show are both surreal environments. At a trade show, the exhibit floor is like a miniature city of compressed time and space. You need to train your people to perform in your booth as well.”

The stakes are high, David says, but the rewards are substantial for those who get it right. “Those who perform well are engaging in fast-paced communications with more than a hundred people in a day,” he says. “Read the book and practice yourself..”

Three Feet from Seven Figures is a master class in corporate showmanship from a marketer who knows his stuff. Not only that, David is a naturally engaging, frequently hilarious writer. If your business involves attending trade shows, you’re sure to learn some solid tactics to be more effective, and you will be entertained while you learn.

You can grab your copy in multiple formats at threefeetbook.com, and follow David on Twitter @dspark. To hear for yourself how entertaining David can be, check out our interview on the Sophisticated Marketer’s Podcast.

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Photo by Sam Greenhalgh

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