Booth design, marketing and promotional items are just a few important pieces for a successful tradeshow. But one of the most important aspects (and perhaps the most memorable) is your staff and their etiquette – or lack thereof.
Here are some reminders to review with your staff before hitting the tradeshow floor.
First impressions can start well before the show. So before you whip into the parking lot well over the speed limit to nab that last parking space or accidently slam the door in someone’s face because you were distracted by your cell phone conversation, remember that you are representing the company and customers are everywhere.
It’s not enough to just be there. You have to BE THERE. Customers and potential customers want to see representatives who are engaged and are truly excited to share information about the company’s products and services. So save the text messages for later, smile, make conversation and show you WANT to be there.
Be the Guru
One of the easiest ways to show a vested interest in the company’s success is by being knowledgeable about the products and services. Your booth’s design might stop prospects in their tracks, but it’s the knowledge that you can provide about what your company has to offer that will make them stick around.
Maybe a suit and tie isn’t the best reflection of your company’s easy-going and fun culture, but the appearance of your staff matters. A wrinkled shirt sends an, “I’m not a details person” message to prospects. Also, skip the cologne or perfume. Just like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what smells fabulous to you may be off-putting to others.
Mind Your Manners
This may seem like the most obvious of all tips, yet it is one of the most disregarded. Smacking you gum, chatting or texting on your cell phone, even making lewd comments about a co-worker or competitor can be a huge turn off to prospects. So if you wouldn’t do it at your grandmother’s dinner table, don’ do it on the showroom floor.
Stand, Don’t Sit
While your feet will probably be killing you by the end of the day, stay upright so you can greet attendees as they walk in or walk by. Sit down only when the prospect wants to sit too.
Stick to the Script
Prior to the tradeshow or event, share approved talking points will all booth staff members. Make sure everyone is singing from the same hymnal. If you don’t know an answer, don’t guess. Instead, circle another colleague into the conversation who would have the answer. If no one onsite does have an answer, offer to follow up after the show with the missing information. Most importantly, FOLLOW THROUGH on that promise.
Open Your Ears and Close Your Mouth
Mom’s advice holds true on the show floor as well. When it comes to potential client interactions, spend 80% of your time listening and only 20% talking.
Watch Your Body Language
It’s the same lesson everyone learned in Sales 101. Always lead with open and positive body language. Face the prospect and never turn your back, cross your arms or stand with your hands in your pockets. Stand up straight, roll your shoulders back and keep your chin up.
Don’t be the Used Car Salesman
There’s a fine line between attentive and aggressive. Don’t try to forge an inauthentic personal connection when their isn’t one. Ask open ended questions about how your product or service can solve their challenges.
About Peggy Swords
Peggy Swords is the founder and president of Excalibur Exhibits, a $10 million Houston-based exhibit manufacturing and production corporation. Excalibur Exhibits designs, builds, delivers, assembles and disassembles as many as 300 exhibits per year. Swords was named as a finalist for NAWBO Houston 2003 Woman Business Owner of the Year and 2005 Enterprising Woman of the Year Finalist. Additionally, Excalibur Exhibits is a five time member of the Inc 5000, a three time member of the LSU100 and a two time member of the Houston Fast 100, a list of fastest growing privately held companies.