This is number 6 in a series. Check the previous articles here:
So you’ve got a great booth. You’ve done a fair amount of pre-show planning and marketing. The products are terrific. Yet at the end of the show, your results fell flat. Not sure why, you say, you just can’t put your finger on it!
What about your BOOTH STAFF? Is there a chance you don’t have the right people? Or that you don’t have people that are properly trained in working a tradeshow?
It’s entirely possible that the success of your show depends on your booth staff. And if your staff is under-educated, ill-informed or simply not prepared, your results will show that.
So what do you do?
First, make sure you have the right people. A booth staffer should be outgoing, intelligent, approachable, friendly, knowledgeable – and trained in exactly what the company’s goals are for this show.
Which means that many of the people that you send to the show are not a good fit. Salespeople? Well, you’d think so. But if you have a salesperson that is used to a typical sales situation, they may not be prepared for a tradeshow floor, which is by its very nature, chaotic, fast and distracting. A ‘typical’ sales situation may mean that the salesperson has set up an appointment, makes an office visit and the prospect has scheduled 30 minutes, an hour or more for a meeting.
That won’t work on a showroom floor, and any salesperson who thinks it will work should be dissuaded of that attitude. Instead, a tradeshow booth staffer must learn to quick qualify or disqualify a visitor and move them on to the next step in a few moments. This doesn’t mean that the staffer must hurry someone along that is clearly a prospect, it’s that they must learn to recognize who to spend time with (and still limit that time), who to pleasantly thank and move on from, and how to steer prospects to the right people if appropriate.
This means that every tradeshow booth staffer can probably use a good training session. A good trainer will help a staffer to ask the right questions, and do a little role playing. It might mean that the staffer needs to be educated more fully on the company’s products and/or services.
At the bottom line, it means that the staffers – as well as anyone in the company involved in the tradeshow marketing effort – must expand their KNOWLEDGE BASE. The more information that people have, the more understanding they have and the more effective they’ll be on the tradeshow floor.
Another significant part of training will help inform staffers of the top no-no’s in a booth: eating, talking on a cell phone, standing with arms folded (which is body language for ‘don’t talk to me!’), and more.
Research has been done for years in the exhibiting industry, and multiple surveys and studies show that the more ‘buy-in’ a staffer has, the more effective they’ll be. The better-informed that all parties are, the more they’re able to work outside of their normal areas, which means that when a visitor shows up at the booth, the chances go up that they’ll be able to get an answer to their question, no matter what.
So: is your booth staff prepared? Do they understand the products and services? Are they capable of discussing them with visitors? Do they have qualifying questions ready for visitors? Are they able to greet people with a smile?
I would wager that no matter how good your staff is, they can be better at the next show by undergoing a training session. It’ll show in your bottom line.