22. June 2010 20:28
When was the last time you visited a trade show and you were really impressed by the proactive, professional, motivated and knowledgeable booth staff throughout the entire show? If the objective of your show is to collect a large number of leads, then choosing the right booth staff is your first task, training them is the second and making sure they deliver is the third.
Firstly, you need to pick staff who really want to be there. Look beyond your sales staff, to the people in your company who can open conversation and are resilient. Maybe even your customer service staff, PA’s and receptionists.
Then your team need to know exactly what is expected of them and they should be able to confidently follow the four step process with any visitor: approach, engage, secure and follow-up.
There are broadly three types of visitor at any show: the really ‘interested’; the ‘curious’; and the ‘don’t want to knows’. Most people are comfortable with approaching the ‘really interested’ and the ‘curious’, but they will be more wary of the ‘don’t want to knows’. Typically you will meet an average of five percent of the show attendance, made up of the ‘really interested and curious’. This leaves a massive 95 percent of ‘don’t want to knows’ who you are in danger of missing.
The art is being able to approach and engage in conversation with someone who is travelling past your exhibit at break neck speed, averting their eyes and going out of their way to avoid you.
Approach using a simple ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon’, which invariably gets a courteous response. You can then move swiftly onto open questions. Your job will be easier if you try to build in a ‘hook’ of some kind, where you offer the visitor something in return for their time. It’s called a WIIFM – ‘what’s in it for me’. Maybe a giveaway, prize draw or competition, but make sure whatever you choose is original, appealing and most importantly grabs attention.
Once the conversation is flowing don’t waste too much time with small talk, you need to clarify the business potential and agree the next step. Remember, if you’re not speaking to the right person, always ask for the name of the appropriate person in their company.
So how do you make your booth staff deliver on the day? Actually, if you have picked the right staff and trained them properly then the rest takes care of itself, because they will deliver.