Your Staff Can Make Or Break Your Trade Show. Prep Them For Success!

posted Nov 17 2017

Exhibiting at a trade show could be tricky. You have to take care of research, getting a booth designed, investing in technology and giveaways, and hiring staff, not necessarily in that order though. While most of the exhibitors focus on the rest, they often miss out on an important aspect: the staff not only needs to be hired, but trained as well. Untrained staff could spell disaster. It is absolutely necessary to hold an exhibit-staff training session and save face.

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression

Most attendees will judge your brand solely on the basis of your exhibit. So it’s important that your staff is able to inculcate the brand’s ideologies in their behaviour. What is the character of your brand? Are they meant to be energetic, fast, smooth, funny?

Positive body language is a must

However, note that being hospitable is mandatory. If they don’t make eye contact or come across as rather uninviting, the attendees won’t give a second thought and would simply walk past the booth.

Neither should they stand with their arms crossed nor is it advisable to turn their backs toward the aisle; they are there to engage the attendees and gain commitment for follow up, and negative body language won’t let them do either. Needless to say that eating, drinking, or chewing gum at the booth – anything that can shoo away the visitors is a big no-no.

Prepare them for the madness

Start by making the staffers understand that selling on the show floor is not the same as selling in the field. They need to be clear on the fact that they won’t have the clients’ undivided attention here, and that they should be ready to engage in a healthy competition with the other exhibitors.

New show, new training

Every exhibition venue will be different–the staffers must be made familiar with the layout of your next trade show venue. If guests have questions about directions and your staff is able to answer, it will reflect positively on your brand and will be taken in goodwill.

More importantly, they should get acquainted with badge scanners, promotional items and collateral like data sheets, brochures and white papers, to avoid any last-minute goof ups. Just because they were there at your last exhibition, don’t assume that they already know everything about the next one – they need to be prepped.

Check the basics, tie all loose ends

If your staff doesn’t know how to get from the hotel to the trade show venue, wouldn’t it lead to a chaos? You bet. Tell your staffers about the shuttle service and ask them to leave the hotel in time. It may happen that the shuttle makes multiple stops, picking up other exhibitors on the way to venue and leaving your staff in the lurch. And if the venue is at a walking distance from the hotel, provide them with clear-cut directions during the training. Distributing booth uniforms during any such session is also highly encouraged. They’ll be motivated to attend the training, and once at the venue, would stand out.

As an exhibitor, you may be tempted to skip the staff training or conduct it only for the first-timers, but do keep in mind that staffers are the face and voice of your company, representing you at the exhibition. If their mannerisms or tactics don’t go down well with the attendees, you are sure to lose. Now that’s not a risk worth taking, right?

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