Preparing for the trade show is such a hectic process. You have so much to think about – preparing marketing materials, setting up the tablets you’ll have for customers to view brief presentations in the booth, working with the shipping company to get it all there on time, meeting all of the demands and deadlines of the trade show venue support staff, and so much more – you might forget the most important preparation of all.
No, it isn’t having Blazer Exhibits design you eye catching banners to display at the show, although that is pretty important! I’m talking about training your trade show booth staff, and if you aren’t devoting enough time to this important endeavor, you are missing out. By not preparing your staff completely, you are actually throwing away some of the money you’ve invested to attend the show in the first place. Turn this around and maximize your ROI by thoroughly training your staff! Attendees will notice the difference. How can you do this? Here are some training tips.
Why are we here? Although we can’t say for sure why the human race is here on this planet (though many a philosopher has tried!), you can explain in detail why you chose to attend the trade show and what you expect to get out of it. If you aren’t clear about your objectives, how will they know how to step up their game to pull in more leads? Don’t just set an overall goal, either. Just as if you were on the sales floor in a retail environment, set personal salesperson goals, such as a set number of leads each employee should be making per hour, or how many demonstrations should be taking place each day.
Know what you’re selling. People will be coming to see the new products you will be featuring at the trade show, and they will come armed with plenty of questions. Your booth staff must be trained in the use of these products and be able to answer any and all questions that might come their way as if they had been selling these products their entire lives! People buy products from salespeople that know their stuff, because confidence is contagious!
Know your audience. To effectively sell these products, your staff needs to know more than just what the products do. They need to understand why the customer needs it in the first place. You should offer training about the industry you are targeting in general – all of the challenges they face, their priorities, their needs, etc. This will allow your staff to become more in tune with them for more solid connections.
Draw them in, and keep them there. Let your display graphics draw people to your booth, but make sure that the employees you hire keep those people interested. Sure, you can go over the normal rules with your employees like no eating or drinking in the booth and keeping their cell phones in their pockets when they’re on the clock, but there are more important things to discuss.
Teach them the art of engagement – great conversation starters that encourage conversation, yet highlight the needs of the individual they are speaking with. Teach them that their answers to these seemingly simple questions (whatever they are) can reveal whether or not this makes a viable lead, or if they should move on to the next attendee. Teach them less is more, that they should only reveal information that is relevant to that customer, and not go into some long-winded presentation on each product you offer.
Lead logistics. Are you asking potential leads to enter information using a tablet? Do you have a place people can leave business cards? Whatever method you’re using, explain it completely to the staff so that they understand it.
Schedule. Assign a schedule to each staff member in order to have enough hands on deck, but also take care of scheduling out breaks and meal times.
Demos. If you are conducting demonstrations, you’ll want to do a number of run-throughs prior to show time so they are able to hold demonstrations that draw a crowd and get people excited and interested in your products. Again, presenter confidence inspires buying confidence!
Where is everything? Although it might not seem like a big deal at the time, you need to be sure to point out where booth storage is located and where they can find important things like extra brochures and handouts, staplers, and random supplies that your booth relies on to function.
Promotions. Explain promotions in detail so that there is no question in their mind whatsoever. They need to know the specs of the promotion – is it social media-based, or do all booth visitors have to enter at the booth on an entry form? Whatever the specifications are, make sure they are totally clear so that they don’t confuse attendees with misinformation.
If you properly train your staff, you’ll have an impressive booth. It will offer attendees an experience they will remember, and they will associate your company with complete professionalism.
What do you tell your booth staff is important? Is there anything you think is important that we left off our list?