You've spent a lot of time, money, and effort preparing for a trade show. Your company booth design is eye-catching, you've ordered customized branded giveaways that attendees will love, and you've invested in transportation and hotel rooms for your employees who will be manning your booth. Everything's set - so what could go wrong?
You may have missed one of the most important pre-show planning items: selecting the right team to man the booth and giving them proper training. Sure, they know their trade and they're good at their jobs, but that doesn't mean they know the proper etiquette or approaches to turn your trade show investment into solid leads and new contacts.
Don't let this happen to you - here are five trade show staffing mistakes to avoid:
1. Not setting clear goals
If your team goes to the trade show without knowing what specific goals they're trying to achieve, they won't be able bring back the results you need. Think about what you hope to achieve at this trade show - are you looking to generate solid sales leads, promote your company's new service or product, build brand awareness? Come up with a good strategy to accomplish your goals, and let your trade show team know what you expect. You may even want to assign different goals to each team member.
2. Choosing the wrong team members
Employees manning your show booth should not only be well educated in the product, brand or service you're pitching, they should also be personable, professional and communicate well with people they don't know. Knowing a product inside-out won't be worth anything if the information can't be conveyed clearly and understandably.
3. Not recognizing the real prospects
Lots of different types of people will be drawn to your booth - some because they're truly interested in your company and what it has to offer, others who feign interest to get some of those cool freebies. Your team needs the savvy to recognize the difference so they don't waste time pitching products or services to freebie collectors.
4. Not focusing on person-to-person interactions
Nothing beats eye contact and direct conversation. You can have brochures, videos, or even the greatest interactive display, but person-to-person interaction builds bridges that lead to relationships between your company and potential customers. Approaching potential customers rather than waiting for them to approach you lets them know they're valued.
5. Not knowing trade show etiquette
Your employees represent your company, so if they come across as disinterested or unprofessional, that's the impression potential customers will have of your company. First impressions matter a lot, so here are a few things your trade show team should avoid while manning the booth:
- Talking on cell phones for business or personal reasons can make interested parties move on so they don't interrupt your call...and many times they don't return. It can also make you seem like you're not really "present".
- Eating behind the booth can keep attendees from coming over because they may not want to disturb your meal. Take a quick break away from the booth in shifts, making sure at least one team member is always present.
- Ignoring newcomers even if you're talking to someone else. Just a quick greeting to acknowledge their presence and letting them know you'll be with them shortly can keep them from leaving.
- Dressing inappropriately sends an unprofessional message, as does inappropriate behavior, that can drive potential customers away.
- Gum chewing has a very unprofessional appearance, and we've all been annoyed by people who chew while talking. Keep some mints with you instead.
Sonas Marketing can help you get the most from your trade show investment; contact us to discuss the possibilities.