When it comes to trade shows, preparation plays a huge role in success. From preparing your exhibit ahead of time to briefing and training your team before the big event, the right pre-show prep can make all the difference between a successful event and an ineffective one.
Below, we’ve listed several tactics that you can use to better prepare your sales team for their first trade show, from selecting your “A team” sales reps to covering frequent questions before the event begins.
Choose your top-performing sales staff
Events such as trade shows can be high-pressure situations, making it important that you have an experienced sales team with you.
When you’re choosing staff for the trade show, focus on your most qualified, experienced sales reps. It’s important that your staff have “been there” before, from a sales perspective, even if its also their first time taking part in a custom trade show exhibit.
At the same time, trade shows can be great learning experiences for the new members of your sales team. Just make sure you don’t rely on them as essential members of your team, as they could feel overwhelmed by the busy, competitive environment.
Prepare for common questions in advance
You’ll be asked the same questions time and time again in a trade show environment, making it important that your staff have answers prepared ahead of time.
While there’s no need to memorize a script for every trade show question, it’s worth going over the most frequent questions you’ll receive at the event in advance and preparing a structure for your team’s answers.
To make sure your sales staff are prepared, try role-playing as a prospect. Your sales reps need to be able to provide the information you need right when you need it — something that’s often best learned through practice and repetition.
Trial run your product demos before the event
Are you planning to demo one of your products at the trade show? Avoid on-the-spot mistakes by doing a trial run (or better yet, several trial runs) of every product demo in the weeks leading up to the event.
Doing this lets you spot potential and solve potential issues before they occur, helping you avoid problems with your product during the event. From dead batteries to issues with Wi-Fi, it’s highly common for unexpected problems to pop up during product demos.
While you might not be able to spot everything, doing a series of trial runs and rehearsals will let you spot the most common distractions and issues before they happen, helping you hone your presentation and deliver a tighter, more effective demo at the show.
Set targets and motivate your sales team
Finally, it’s important for your sales team to feel motivated before the event. It’s also important for your sales reps to have at least some understanding of your overall goals from the show, whether you’re aiming to generate leads, close deals or increase brand awareness.
Motivate your team by setting targets before the event begins and monitoring your progress on the day. One great way to encourage your sales staff to work their hardest is to set incentives, such as a bonus for the top performer or volume-based rewards.
Finally, make sure you maintain a sense of fun during the trade show. Trade shows and other industry events can be rewarding experiences, provided you and your team go into the event with a positive, results-focused attitude.