Alexander Graham Bell said “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” So we asked Margit Weisgal – industry veteran, Certified Manager of Exhibits and past President/CEO of the Trade Show Exhibitors Association – to share her tips on how to prepare your booth staff to succeed on the show floor.
You have a kick-ass trade show display, targeted graphics, and a brilliant promotion plan to attract visitors. You’re ready for the show, right? Well, almost. Despite this, if you don’t have the right people in the booth, you may have wasted all your effort because it’s all about the people.
Your staffers are the ones who greet booth visitors, engage them, interact with them, position your product in terms of their needs and wants, collect contact info and, then, determine the follow up.
So to have a great staff, you have to have great preparation. Look at all the work you put in for your trade show display, graphics and promos. A commensurate effort should go into your people.
Step by Step
Here are a six tactics you can employ to have a successful staff – and a successful trade show.
1. Explain why you exhibit. You are immersed in trade show exhibit marketing and all its elements. But your trade show exhibit staff only does this for a few days (or maybe weeks) outside their regular jobs. They don’t really understand why you’re there and the inherent benefits. So take a little time and let them in on why this is an amazing sales and marketing medium. Here’s are some key phrases to use:
- Trade shows accelerate the buying cycle. (Salespeople love this one.)
- You meet with current customers to ensure you remain their preferred vendor. (Salespeople like this, too.)
- You reach new, hidden buyers that haven’t been identified as potential customers yet and have an opportunity to educate them on why your product/service is the best choice.
- It’s a more efficient use of their time to meet with many buyers at one location which also reduces the cost of a sale by as much as 75%.
2. Explain why you chose this show. You know the demographics of the attendees so inform the trade show staff of who will be there. Based on the pre-registration list, mention key customers and prospects by company.
3. Explain your goals. Each event is a platform to push or focus on a product/service/message. Share your strategy with the individuals who will be manning the booth and serve as your experts
4. Explain your promotional plan. Since these strategies will drive traffic to your trade show display, you’ll want them to know what’s going on in the background and bringing all the visitors to your space.
5. Explain the layout. Inform your staff how to guide visitors to right areas in your trade show booth – from the reception counter, to different product areas, special demonstrations, a stage – so they can get the most from the experience.
6. Explain their role: Trade show staff should qualify visitors using prepared open-ended questions. Most important, they should really, really listen. Attendees will often tell you what you need to know to sell them. If they listen, they’ll be great. And practice. Remember, they don’t do this all year round.
Anne M. Mulcahy of Xerox said, “Employees are a company's greatest asset – they're your competitive advantage. You want to make them feel that they are an integral part of the company's mission.”
You value your staff’s contribution of time, energy, time, and commitment to the company. Say ‘thank you;’ it goes a long way toward showing your appreciation. Follow these few steps and you’ll have a great event. See you on the show floor. Contact Margit at firstname.lastname@example.org.