Trade show participation is an investment for you as a business owner, and the later rewards can be significant with the right approach to running an exhibit. A strong team of staffers is a vital component to generating sales leads. Some of the most common mistakes your booth staff can make are related to communication and networking during the event.
- Staying seated at your exhibit. Staffers who park themselves in chairs at your exhibit are sending the wrong non-verbal message to your potential customers. Sitting down, crossing their arms or looking repeatedly at the clock all signal they do not want to be there. If your staffers do not consider your trade show exhibit important, why would your customers? To prevent this mistake, institute a policy that your staffers need to walk around at your booth and talk to visitors at each opportunity. Sitting down can be limited to their shift breaks.
- Forgetting to acknowledge each visitor. Even while in conversations with others, your staffers still need to acknowledge each new attendee that stops by your booth. They can do so with a simple head nod if they are busy speaking with someone else. This simple non-verbal gesture makes a big difference because customers who feel ignored will leave with a negative impression of your business. Communicating this requirement to your staffers will prevent this problem, and reminders to them during the show will also help.
- Talking or texting on their cell phones. Good mobile phone etiquette is especially important for your trade show staffers because they need to be engaged with your potential customers rather than with their gadgets. Unnecessary time spent on their phones signals to visitors that your staffers have more important things to do. Enforcing a no-cell-phone rule for the trade show booth is a way to avoid this mistake.
- Failing to network with other exhibitors. Many booth staffers make this mistake of sticking only to your trade show exhibit. Networking with other exhibitors can yield you valuable business contacts. One person at a time can leave your booth for a brief time and talk to other exhibitors who are not busy with customers. This step can make a big difference as more people learn about your company. Other business owners you network with are likely to send you potential sales leads. If your booth staffers have not yet made contacts with other vendors, you can remind them during the show that it is part of their job requirements.
- Focusing too hard on closing sales. Some of your staffers may be overzealous about making as many sales as possible. While explaining all of your products’ benefits is important, your staff members need to take the time to answer customer questions and address any concerns. Failure to acknowledge these areas has a negative impact, and too-aggressive sales tactics can actually cost your staffers sales. When you observe your staffers’ sales pitches, make sure they are answering visitors’ questions and giving each attendee the chance to speak as well.
- Packing up your exhibit early. This mistake can not only give the wrong impression to trade show visitors; it can also present a safety hazard. Breaking down display pieces can get in the way of other exhibitors who still have their booths up near yours. Dismantling also gives the impression that your staffers have better things to do than to keep engaging with potential customers. To avoid this situation, set a firm rule they are only to start packing up after the designated end time.
- Being unprepared for presentations. Your staffers need to be fully briefed on the points they need to cover during product presentations. If some of them are unable to address all customer questions, you may need to require them to review the demonstration literature during downtime. The best way to prevent this problem is to hold thorough training sessions beforehand, in which you outline every point your staffers need to cover in detail.
- Simply handing out brochures. Passing out company information is an important component, but it cannot substitute for talking with potential customers. Some staffers may use brochures to avoid more in-depth communication. Setting up a rule for customer engagement and reminding staffers during the show will help curb this mistake.
A successful exhibit team focuses on your potential customers first. Actively engaging with both visitors and other vendors will cement your business reputation as a customer and industry focused company.