Print this page
David Welzman, who Colin interviews here, is an Exhibition Infotainer, author and sales
and marketing consultant.
David's based in Sydney, Australia and he contracts his crowd-drawing services to exhibitor
clients at trade and consumer shows throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Some of the testimonials he’s received from delighted clients really are to die for, such as:
“As a direct result of using Welzman’s Services, we generated over 500% more qualified
leads than the other exhibitors.” And another: “I’m happy to recommend him to my most
valued clients and have full confidence in both his ability and professionalism.”
His client list reads like a Who’s Who of corporate Australia, influential associations and
highly successful SME’s (small and medium enterprises.)
In addition to contracting clients at trade and consumer shows he also does conferences, after
dinner entertainment and road shows.
David has written two books. Creating Customers for Life is available now and Body
Language Magic is just finished and is not published as yet.
He has other expo tools too, including a report entitled “Creating Trade Show Success”
and also a tool for exhibitors entitled “Trade Show Return on Investment Calculator.” His
web page is www.TradeShowCrowdBuilder.com.au.
Best of Show™ assists Exhibitors to attain the highest ROI at trade and consumer shows -
anywhere. Our seminars and educational materials have been developed and are maintained by
Colin Green. Colin is a Certified Trade Show Marketer (CTSM).
Information on Best of Show™ seminars, workshops, eBooks, DVDs and CDs are on our
Or telephone Colin in Sydney, Australia (02)9589-2000.
Our New Zealand telephone is (04)570-2000 & re-directs to Sydney.
David, thanks for sharing your story today.
David Welzman: Hi, Colin. Thank you very much for
having me. I really appreciate this opportunity. I really love the Exhibition industry - that’s both trade
shows AND consumer shows. It’s very rare to find people that are passionate or indeed know anything about it.
So for me this is a special treat. Hopefully your readers will gain insight and ideas that will help them
make a killing at their next show.
David, I have to say, I’ve always been very cautious of entertainers at trade and consumer shows. We see
these people drawing crowds by entertaining with sleight-of-hand tricks that leave everyone wondering just
how they do it. They often involve the audience and they’re certainly clever and interesting. But do they
actually positively impact the exhibitors’ objectives?
I shared this perspective when we first spoke and you corrected me when called you a
“magician”, preferring to be referred to as an “infotainer.” You claimed that you really do deliver solid
results to your clients. Would you like to share your thoughts on this, please? And incidentally, what
exactly is an infotainer?
David Welzman: One of the main, core reasons I
put “trade show crowd builder” on my website, is because people just don’t know what an infotainer is. I’m
going to get to that in just a bit, but I’ve got to be honest with you, you’re 100% correct—entertainers
serve no purpose on Expo floors.
One thing I’ll correct you on, sorry, is that most entertainers don’t actually draw a lot of people. They draw
maybe six people and that’s because they don’t really know why they’re booked, and they don’t really know how to
draw a crowd on the show floor.
When you book an entertainer, he’s doing at your show stand what he’d be doing if he’d got a gig at the pub down
the road and this is a problem. It serves no purpose. Even if they build the crowd size that I do, it still
serves no purpose unless they do what I do. So the question is: What do I do? Because I’m not doing a
I do a systematic approach to increasing leads. An infotainer, which is “information entertainer” is just that.
The core and focus of my presentation is presenting information and I use entertainment as the sugar that makes
the medicine go down more easily. Entertainment makes the information sessions more enjoyable and the audience
My system is exactly the same as designing a magazine advert, the core difference being that I do it live. With
a magazine advert, you have a header - an attention-grabbing device - which stops readers. Then you have the
body, which conveys the message and at the end you have a call to action. “Call now for your…”
I do the same. I stop traffic at the trade show en masse, not one on one and to be honest, no one creates the
crowd that I do. I convey the message and I enrich the presentation with entertainment, interactivity and
The focus of my presentation is the message and sometimes I’ll spend up to three months developing a unique
sales presentation for that individual exhibit which will motivate their desired customers. I use the
entertainment to help make the presentation an experience to remember.
Finally there’s a call to action where I get customers literally lining up to fill out the enquiry
This is not a sales plug for me, but it’s my belief and in my personalized training (which is something for your
readers to think about when it comes to their show).
Exhibitors need three things in order to be successful at their exhibit and if they fail at any one of these,
then their experience at the show is not going to be very good.
It’s the three C’s. The first is Capture attention. You can achieve
this pre-show, with direct-mail, magazine ads or phoning up serious potential/existing clients. And you can
capture their attention at the stand, which is what I do.
Once you’ve got their attention, the second C is Conveying the message.
Customers have to find out what you are doing, what your business stands for and it’s got to make business
sense and be memorable.
Finally there’s Collecting
leads. It’s all for naught if you capture attention, convey the
message, but collect no leads!
exhibitor fails at any one of those, Capturing attention, Conveying the message, or Collecting the leads, the
whole system fails and they are going to have a really unsuccessful
exhibitors fail at one and three—they fail at Capturing attention and Collecting leads. They’ve got all of the
plasma screens and banners to tell people what their product does and they spend a fortune on brochures. But
they failed to capture people’s attention in the first place. They fail to actually generate leads.
people just collect a bunch of business cards yet don’t follow up, often because they don’t have enough
information to follow up. They have got to have a system set up for each.
about that instead of just turning up, setting out your stand, and hoping people come up. You’re not going to
motivate people with candy at your booth.
How do you filter out the exhibitor’s target market so that your client predominantly connects with them and not
simply people interested in your performance?
Welzman: When I first
started doing shows, I was also doing cocktail parties and after-dinner shows—and I was changing that content
for exhibitions. But the truth of the matter is that the entertainment was overpowering the
People were really interested and I would attract everyone - and that was a problem! You don’t want to attract
everyone; you want to attract customers! So now my focus is to do a presentation on the product, on the
services the client offers. And I add window dressing, which is the entertainment.
Firstly to keep people around and secondly to change the moment. People are usually walking around like zombies.
They may have been in a boring seminar or trudging the aisles and they’re sitting down, slumped over. You want
to wake them up! People are more receptive when they’re energized and that’s what I
It’s very interesting, David, because one of the things we discuss at Best of Show training is what we call
“exhibition glaze,” and I think this is the “zombification” you’re talking about. People do have exhibition
glaze by virtue of the fact that there’s a lot of background noise, a lot of messages coming at them, many of
which they simply don’t want to accept. So they tune out and get tired. Is this what you
Welzman: Yes. Humans are
bombarded with messages and develop personal systems to filter out information. So you need something to cut
through that clutter and shake them out of apathy. That’s me!
got to wake up the dead really, and a lot of exhibitors rely on a banner or a plasma screen.
people - even a zombie - three seconds to walk past your expo stand, yet people are forking out thousands of
dollars for a 30-second video demo. Unless they’re walking past that demo at the right moment, that’s a complete
waste of money.
It’s quite interesting that you say people visit the stands they want to visit and they move on from there. In
fact, studies from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research in Chicago say that 76% or thereabouts, of buyers
have must-see lists. So if you’re not on the list, this is a beautiful way to ensure that you do interrupt their
thinking, wake them up and get the message over. I find what you say interesting.
Welzman: You asked the
question “how do I filter out the exhibitor’s target market”. At the end of the presentation, I’ve got a crowd.
And I do this two to three times per hour, depending on the show and the traffic flow and of course depending on
the client’s needs.
the presentation, I qualify people. For example, if I’ve got 30 people outside the stand, I’ll say, “Hands up if
you’re after the XYZ solution,” or something more qualifying. If 15 hands go up, then I’ll get those people to
come close to me as I’m doing the presentation. Why? So they don’t get away, because I know that these are more
inclined to be potential customers.
end of the presentation, I split the crowd in two, moving the people most interested in the services to come and
speak to the professional sales team and the other half - the people who are not immediate customers - to come
in to drop their business card into the competition bowl, which is located on the opposite side of where the
sales people are.
people who do put their business card into the bowl - who don’t want to talk to the sales people right now - I
have follow-up strategies to connect with them after the event.
How do you know that people are not popping their card into the bowl are the target market? Sure, you’ve split
the crowd, but then how do you induce them to comply?
Welzman: I’ve passionately
motivated them, I’ve entertained them, I’ve given them free gifts during the presentation. I’ve given them
something they’ve never experienced before and they do as I ask. It’s my specialty and I’m good at that! You’ll
see people lining up after each presentation.
In the video on my website, you’ll see the whole crowd move as one unit. Once you’ve got a crowd, they tend to
move as a unit, so it’s very important that I split them up into two crowds. Predominantly, I use the business
card promotion as a way of filtering people.
I want customers in the booth, talking to our sales staff, so I want to have the business card people on the far
end of the booth, no matter how big the booth is. So people that are not interested in doing business go into
the business card draw and those people who are potential customers walk into the
I mentioned in my preamble that one client said you delivered 500% more leads than other exhibitors. In fact, he
stressed that these were qualified leads. Others have made similar comments. How did they measure
Welzman: If they’ve
exhibited before, it’s very easy to find out how well they did last year and compare the results. But I go
beyond that too.
I have two pre-show training seminars with the client where I train them on how to generate leads and how to
qualify quickly. Remember that I get a lot more people in the booth than they normally
I tell my clients the quickest way of getting rid of an unqualified non-customer is to tell them where to go. So
if you know other products or services around—the other exhibitors—and an attendee is not after your product,
you can say, “Go to this booth right here. They’ll be able to help you.”
You look like a nice guy because you’re helping both the attendee and the other exhibitor - and you’re getting
the attendee you can’t work with out of the booth. What happens is that the other exhibitor returns the favor
and you develop relationships with these people.
That’s where you can start to find out how successful the other exhibitor was too as I ask them! And I compare
results. It’s not prefect but it’s a very useful indicator.
There are always dead parts of the show too and I ask my clients to walk around to the other exhibitions to find
out how they’re going and network.
Using these methods I do have a guarantee, which is I’m going to increase leads by 55% or the client doesn’t
pay. As of yet, I’ve never failed. If you’re marketing, you’ve got to be confident in what you’re doing.
This is a
systematic approach that’s been proven over time. I learned it from Joel Bauer in the United States. Joel’s a
great trade show infotainer.
hand-picked me and trained me up. He’s retired now. He used to work Vegas and he’d have 200 to 300 people
outside the Client’s stand.
My training was also done in Las Vegas at some very large shows. One was Comdex, which was at the time, the
largest IT trade show in the United States, so I know exactly what you’re saying. Who exactly have you worked
with? Would you like to give some examples?
Welzman: On my website,
people will see that I’ve worked for Accor Hotels predominantly their gift card division, but also individual
hotels. They use me several times a year at the Gaming Expo for example.
business is Pattens - an accounting firm. Only three people work in their office so they’re obviously a very
small business, but they’ve already re-booked me for the Import-Export show.
say that Pattens is fantastic and that’s not because they’re my client. Their job is to ascertain if there’s a
government grant for your business and if so they will find it and obtain it for
I’ve got them in mind for a project I’ve got coming up on my www.buyaussie.com
Welzman: They promise that
they don’t get paid unless you get paid. I like that because they’re sort of the same as me. If I don’t generate
results, I don’t get paid. If they don’t generate results, they don’t get paid.
Who else have you worked for?
Welzman: IBM, Hahn
Healthcare Recruitment - many companies. Many require that I sign confidentiality agreements, so I can’t
disclose their names or their marketing strategies. That’s getting more common now.
to sign anything with the client, that’s fine but you do want to shout to the heavens, “I’m working for this big
company!” but you can’t!
Fair enough. They say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so what sort of proportion of these
companies get you back on a repeat basis?
Welzman: To be honest,
they’re all re-booking me, even the small ones that were very skeptical about my craft. I’m not the cheapest guy
in the world, but also I’m not the most expensive when it comes to my services at shows.
Due to the financial crisis I’ve included some small business prices on my website so I’m more acceptable for
People who were thinking, “Gee, he’s expensive,” the first time around are jumping at booking me the second time
around which is very gratifying!
Do you have a preference as to the type of client you work with—large, small, commercial, non-profit,
Welzman: It’s not the size
of the company. It’s the people you’re working for—people who are excited, passionate and really want to
generate results. These are the people I wish to work for. Unfortunately, not all people really care about
built crowds at a tradeshow and conveyed the message, only to have the call to action fall to a sales team that
went out for a lunch break. I don’t work for that company anymore.
Where do you work? I understand that you travel outside of Sydney, where you’re based, but how far will you
Welzman: All over
Australia and New Zealand. The bulk of my work at the moment is in Melbourne, simply because they’ve won most of
the full-on exhibitions shows. At one point I was considering permanently moving down there, but all my family
is in Sydney, so for now I’m staying in Sydney.
worked in Brisbane a lot too.
In the pre-amble I mentioned that you do more than trade and consumer show crowd building. What are the other
things you’re doing?
Welzman: I do are
conferences and sales meetings. I get hired by companies who don’t know how to present a product effectively and
they’ll book me to do a sales meeting.
I do road
shows too, which are exhibitions on wheels. I go around the different states doing presentations for people’s
clients. Also, there are certain events associated with exhibition like client-appreciation cocktail parties and
after-dinner shows and whilst I can do what is known as infotainment with that, I usually just do plain
entertainment which is lots of fun!
clients don’t want me to be too sales-y—they just want their guests and customers to have a good time so then I
provide entertainment services.
David, I know that you’ve written books and reports on some pretty serious marketing subjects; one was entitled
Creating Customers for Life. You’ve also got your report, “Creating Trade Show Success.” Would you care to briefly outline
Welzman: Yes. “Creating Trade Show Success” is a two-page PDF report just to give you a
different perspective on your trade show exhibiting. It’s an interesting read, easy and quick to read.
Creating Customers for Life is the big one. The book is 270 pages and essentially it’s about turning
one-off customers into long-term customers, communicating with your customers and I’ve got to stress this,
ethically exploiting customers’ maximum financial potential. Not
cheating them out of money, but ethically getting the most out of them, especially in this day and age with the
What’s it cost?
David Welzman: Right now I’m selling it as a PDF
document. I’m not going to go through the process of publishing them again any time soon. I normally sell
them for $20, but your readers can get a free PDF version. There’s a form on the first page of my website and
they can get it free.
Why wouldn’t you charge for it?
David Welzman: When I’m teaching how to sell, I
like to give samples. I teach my clients to give samples if they can. Granted, it’s a book, but it’s a sample
of my knowledge. Giving gifts secures attention.
When will Body Language Magic be available?
David Welzman: I wrote it predominantly because I
do a lot of body language in my presentations and many clients wondered, “How do you do that?” So I thought,
‘Some of these clients book me over and over again, so I’m going to write something for them.’ That will be
out very shortly.
That will be up on your website also?
David Welzman: Yes, I’ll put it up on the
website. It’s really targeted for existing clients who want to know about, for example, body language in
sales meetings. How to pick up if someone is actually interested in your product or not.
How many pages is that?
David Welzman: About 25.
Okay. The final thing you’ve got is your “Trade Show Return on
Investment Calculator.” How does that work?
David Welzman: It’s an Excel spreadsheet and you
punch numbers into it and it will give you an approximate return on investment for your Show. It goes into a
customer’s worth to you one-off and extrapolates what that customer is worth long term.
Where can people find these products?
David Welzman: At www.TradeShowCrowdBuilder.com.au I’ll set up a form on my website to get Creating Customers for Life. If your
readers fill out that form, they also get the free report and the Return On Investment calculator.
If readers want to contact you to discuss your services and rates, how do they contact you?
David Welzman: The best way is to fill out the
form on the website. This gives me information so that I can start working on your enquiry before I get back
to you. I’ll ask for the Exhibition website you’ll be working at so I can investigate and get myself in that
mode as opposed to winging it on the phone call.
David, this has been extremely interesting and I really thank you for your time. I hope that readers
will click on over to your website www.TradeShowCrowdBuilder.com.au for the freebies
Transcription Services Provided by: Transcription-Team.com
© Best of Show P/L