One of the keys to trade show success is the training of your booth staff. Each trade show requires a specific marketing message targeted to a unique prospect and an exhibiting staff that can communicate with that audience. To take advantage of your trade show appearance, it is crucial to have a knowledgeable, qualified, and highly trained sales staff at your trade show booth.
Before the trade show, rehearsals and training sessions for your exhibiting staff are essential to maximize the leads and visitor sales potential at a trade show.
Here are the basic tips for grooming your exhibit staff:
- Hire an exhibit staff trainer before the trade show.
- Have a trainer in the booth to set up procedures and monitor booth activity.
- Provide incentives. (To stimulate trade show booth traffic, give out a gift coupon every hour.)
- Be good custodians of your (and your visitors’) time. Proactive learning on how to engage and courteously dismiss visitors in a professional manner is critical.
Staff the trade show booth with personnel who match up well with prospects; for example, engineers from your firm if prospects are engineers, etc.
There are basic “do’s” that attract attention:
- Have a warm smile and a welcoming persona.
- Display enthusiastic behavior: Make direct eye contact, and confront prospects by greeting, then engaging, and, finally, qualifying them.
- Be professional and courteous
- Have authority and a solid knowledge about your product or service.
- Treat visitors like they are guests at your company or in your home.
- Demonstrate receptive body language. Have your arm motions under control and your posture erect.
- Be proactive.
- Maintain a neat, clean, and tidy appearance at all times.
- Your name badge should be on the right side of your body, so when you shake hands, people see it clearly.
Here are some “don’ts” in your trade show booth:
- Do not eat, drink, or chew gum.
- Do not make or accept phone calls. (Leave the trade show booth to make calls.)
- Do not sit (except in conference area of your trade show display to conduct client business).
- Show up on time, and be considerate of your boothmates.
- Never leave the trade show exhibit unattended.
- Don’t visit socially in the trade show booth with your co-workers or neighboring booth staffers.
Engage visitors with effective sales techniques and tactics:
- Greet and engage prospects and clients (30 seconds).
- Probe prospects with questions memorized from a lead sheet—who, what, why, when, where—to determine their requirements and their timing. This is the positioning and pre-qualifying stage (1 1/2 – 2 minutes).
- Determine if the trade show prospect is qualified or not. If not, professionally dismiss them.
- If they are qualified, begin a demonstration, lead to deeper dialogue, answer questions, present details on services/products (up to 5 minutes).
- Get permission to proceed, dive deeper into a subject, or schedule further dialogue.
- Wrap up, and inform the prospect of where you go from here. Set a time to reconnect. Swipe their badge or get their business card. Plan to follow up by sending materials to their office, so the package is there when they return to their desk immediately after the trade show.