Make sure your trade show staff have initimate knowledge of your products
One of the most important aspects of your exhibit strategy, if not the most important aspect, is your trade show training of staff.
Without dynamic trade show staff your eye-catching exhibit; pre-show publicity; product demonstrations and excellent giveaways can be wasted. Trade show training is essential for a professional image. The number one reason for attendees feeling underserved at trade shows revolves around trade show staff issues and their lack of intimate knowledge of a product.
Attendees want to have spontaneous discussions with knowledgeable booth staff and with staff that know pricing and how to use the products. Trade show visitors claim they avoid booths that were too crowded and were seen as ‘selling situations’ rather than a place to learn about new products and services. Yet so many organizations continue to man booths with under-trained, under-equipped salespeople.
Research shows that attendees prefer to speak with people who have trade show training and a technical background (such as production/operations, engineering, scientific/technical, and R&D) rather than people in sales and marketing.
Trade show staff have the responsibility of pre-qualifying booth visitors and establishing relationships that convert prospects into leads and then into buyers. They represent your products or services as well as your company’s image. An exhibit, no matter how well conceived or executed, only comes alive as a marketing or sales reality in direct ratio to the caliber of its personnel.
Remember, the effectiveness of your trade show booth staff can make or break your success at a trade show. Trade show training should include product training, exhibition logistics, exhibiting goals, booth etiquette, meet and greet techniques, qualifying techniques, demonstration techniques, closing techniques, follow-up techniques and lead management.
Surveys have shown that an amazingly high number of companies do not focus on trade show training in vital exhibiting techniques such as meet and greet, qualifying, closing and lead management techniques.
In addition, they don’t spend time in their trade show training program on their exhibiting goals and objectives. However, those companies that did undertake trade show training and train their staff in exhibiting goals and objectives as well as qualifying and closing techniques had an increased number of quality leads obtained. The trade show staff’s attitude, body language, appearance and knowledge help to create positive or negative perceptions in the minds of visitors. That’s why trade show training is so important.
It’s also important to staff your booth with employees who have excellent customer relationship skills as well as being good communicators. Of course, they should also fully understand your objectives. You will need to appoint a trade show co-ordinator and booth staff early on in the planning process. You should also study the job titles and functions of who are expected at the trade show so that you can assign the right personnel to your booth. For example, have technical people on hand to answer questions if that’s what is required. Members of the exhibition team need to understand the rather special techniques that apply to handling enquiries on the booth and you should spend at least a full day of hands-on trade show training at your facility with your trade show display booth staff.
by Ken MacKenzie – 2010
Ken MacKenzie is a former Senior Consultant with International Public Relations and Marketing Manager with a U.S. Trade Center. He is the author of “The Trade Show Edge”.