How Trade Shows Work

Training Your Booth Staffers

One of the most important steps to take in order to have a truly successful exhibiting experience is the training of your booth staff. Your staff accounts for 90% of the "positive feelings" that show attendees have about the show and your company, making the people you send to represent your investment extremely important. Trade show attendees usually go to shows to get detailed information about products and services they need, so they expect your booth staff to be very knowledgeable.

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It's really not enough to just send your top sales reps and hope for the best. Engaging a trade show attendee takes a different approach than a typical sales call. For instance, you have to engage the attendee very quickly and in a way that pulls them into a conversation. Simply saying "Hi. How are you today?" opens up the opportunity for the show attendee to say "fine" and keep on walking.

The First Cut
As we mentioned previously, you want to send your most "people-oriented" representatives, as well as those who know the most about your company (and if you're lucky, they'll be one and the same). You should also look for enthusiastic, high-energy representatives who have a naturally positive attitude and an air of confidence about them. Because a large part of any type of sales presentation includes an element of consulting, your selected representatives must also be good listeners.

Sending the Message
As we discussed earlier, part of your show planning process is setting the objectives for the show. Do you want to take orders on the spot, build your brand awareness, introduce a new product and gather leads, etc.? Whatever your goal for the show may be, make sure your booth staff understands exactly what the goal is. You should arm them with the message you want to send, along with specific details to back that message up. They should also be armed with information about your competition and the competitive advantage your product/service has. Examples and stories they use to illustrate should be about people (whether fictional or not) rather than abstract ideas. Finally, make sure they can emphasize the benefits of your product or service instead of simply regurgitating the product "features" list from your brochure.