Prior to any expo or trade show, it's generally a smart idea to go over the "Do's & Don'ts” of working a booth. Indeed, even brilliliant sales veterans can value these delicate reminders. As they examine this rundown many understand that they have accidently slipped into some unfortunate habits throughout the years. The fast review is a decent reminder that working an expo show corner is an honor that helps or impedes their company's image and future revenue.
Trade Show Do’s
- Wear comfortable shoes. You will be on your feet a lot. You may have a chair to sit on behind your booth, but standing to greet attendees is a lot more personable and allows you to speak with them face to face instead of craning your neck to look up at them.
- Smile, smile, and smile some more. For many people this is natural. If it’s not for you practice it or don’t work the booth. No one wants to talk to someone that does not show warmth.
- Create a good first impression. Dress appropriately and professionally for the audience. Watch your body language and always start the conversation.
- Greet customers at the edge of the booth. This helps you engage them in a conversation and bring them into your booth-much like you would do to a guest to your home.
- Always be punctual. Booth shifts should start and end on time. Working a trade show booth is hard work. Be considerate of the next shift and keep in mind that they may have customer meetings scheduled.
- Always wear a readable name badge. Wear it on your person where it can be easily seen and read.
- Bring enough business cards. It’s simply inexcusable to run out of business cards at a trade show or to tell someone you do not have a card because you left them behind.
- Ask thoughtful, insightful questions. Simply asking “Are you enjoying the show?” makes you sound amateurish. Engage with atendees by asking about their business and how the two of you can work together in the future.
- Act responsibly after hours. Remember cell phone videos and photos capture everything.
- Practice good personal hygiene. Strong perfume or after shave, smoking, and spicy foods should be avoided at trade shows.
- Staff your booth with the right people. If it’s worth spending the money to be there then have the booth staffed with your best performers.
- Conduct a pre-show meeting before the show opens each day and another at the end of the day. The pre show meeting sets the tone and reminds everyone of the show objectives, meeting logistics and scheduled booth activities for the day. The end of day meeting reviews the number of leads, key encounters, immediate follow-up that is required and more.
Trade Show Don’ts
- Never read or use the telephone in the booth. This includes checking E-mails or texts or sending them. If you need to make a phone call, check your email, or post about how great the expo is on social media, have someone cover you and step away from the booth for a second. If prospects see you preoccupied, they will not want to disturb you and simply skip your booth.
- Try to sit as little as possible. Stand up to greet attendees with a warm welcome! When sitting you look lazy and uninterested in having a conversation. Plus you’ll be much more temped to pick up your phone and scroll through facebook when you’re sitting down.
- Don’t stand together and talk with your booth members. Most prospects won’t interrupt a large conversation. Keep in mind that most visitors are more comfortable approaching a booth to ask a question one on one.
- Never leave your booth empty. If nature calls or you need a quick beverage arrange for someone to cover for you. You should have at least 2-3 staff members working that day, but if your by yourself for a moment and have to step away, other exhibitors are always willing to help for a few moments.
- Never solely pitch product. Instead ask insightful questions to understand real problems and opportunities. Discuss specific product attributes that tie to the visitors identified needs. Be brief. This is not the time or place for a data dump. Your objective is to wet their appetite to the fact that you have a possible solution to a vexing problem, can help them accomplish an objective or avoid a problem. Focus on developing sales ready leads.
- Don’t wander. I have seen sales reps wander into the aisle, stretch and stand all while being completely oblivious that they are blocking show traffic.
- Never play the giveaway game. As an example this is done when the sales rep asks attendees that pass by their booth if they need a “bag” that has their company name on it? This activity may increase your company’s brand awareness because everyone is walking around with your company’s name but it doesn’t do much to engage prospects in meaningful dialogue. It does, however, prevent shipping back home all of those unused and paid for bags.
- Don’t fail to engage. At a recent trade show I stopped and picked up some product literature that was available. Instead of engaging me the sales rep got up out of his chair and handed me a bag and stated that the literature was inside. The message was clear-take the bag and move on. Never fail to engage in a positive manner. Even if he saw that I was a consultant he had no idea if I was picking up literature so that I could recommend his product or company to a potential customer.
- Never eat or drink in the booth. It’s too easy for food or drinks to get spilled on you, your equipment or your display. No one will engage with you while you are cleaning up a mess.