This topic has come about quiet organically. Recently, one of our clients came to Nimlok Chicago looking for effective exhibit design options, but walked away from that initial meeting having discovered that they had much bigger problems than design on their hand. They had sales staff that did not do the design justice.
Going through a recent issue of Exhibitor Magazine March issue,“Eight Habits of Highly Ineffective Staffers” by Charles Pappas stood out. It had a great overview of all that can (and often do) go wrong with sales staffers at any trade show, for any industry.
Top 5 that can be easily fixed:
- Not paying attention to the attendees.
- Not dressing appropriately.
- Checking out before the official closing time.
- Talking down the competition.
- Lack of training.
As a fix for not paying attention to the attendees, the Exhibitor article recommends implementing a no-cell-phone policy by making a few exceptions for work-related calls made privately, outside the booth. Another recommendation is in pre-show training clearly communicating the important role each staffer plays in making the show an overall success, as well as mentioning the investment it takes to have them in the booth.
Also, in your pre-show training provide your team with pre-canned of opening lines they can have at their fingertips. The Openers can include:
- “I see you work for [insert company’s name]. Tell me what you do.”
- “Do you currently use our product?” If yes, “How are you using them?” If no, “What products are you currently using?”
- “What has stood out for you at the show so far?”
Most importantly, the lack of training is easy to fix with if you have a clear plan for training your booth staff covering the following areas:
- Goals for attending this particular trade show
- Clear understanding, knowledge of products/services your company offers
- Customer base – know your customer
- Lead Recording/distribution
Don’t expect staffers to act the way you want them to. You deliberately have to spell out the expectations and consequences for not following them. If all else fails, you can do what one of the clients did at the show that his company was exhibiting in. He routinely found the engineers doing all the heavy lifting, so he started putting-in hidden camera inside the booth and brought about changes in behavior that way.