There are plenty of lists and general practices that many of us assume are known to everyone. In a recent #expochat, a number of show organizers talked about exhibitor education. Stories of big-time errors told us it might be time for a refresher course.
A trade show has a unique environment. Here are some things to keep in mind when working a trade show floor:
- Initiate conversations with visitors. And SMILE. A happy, smiling face is much more approachable to the average attendee.
- Make the most of your limited time since information is shared at an accelerated pace. The average encounter often takes just 5-10 minutes, so make them count.
- Minimize environmental distractions and stay focused on folks on the show floor. Make eye contact and speak clearly to be heard over ambient noise and competing videos/booth displays
- Pay attention to the visitors’ interests. Follow the 80/20 rule: As exhibitor you should be listening about 80% of the time and talking only ~ 20% of the time.
- Place yourself near the aisle, ready to interact with passing attendees. If no attendees are coming near you, consider moving nearer higher traffic areas to entice and engage visitors more easily.
Be prepared. You should know:
- Your goals
- The hall layout
- Your role and why you are there
- General company information
- Product knowledge, or refer to another in your booth that can help them.
- Who the visitors are and what types of job responsibilities and experience they have
- What concerns they have and how your organization can solve them
- Your lead process so you or one of your colleagues can follow-up appropriately ASAP after the show is over
Definitely document conversations that you have in your booth. Doesn’t matter if you use an app, a custom lead form, with the lead retrieval system, the back of a business card or even in a notebook. Know who needs to take what action with each booth visitor. From product interest area to customer service, good documentation ensures a good follow-up that meets a need and nets you a positive impression. With so few exhibitors actually doing follow-up, this one thing can really set you apart from the crowd.
And now, a quick list of “Don’ts” that should be adhered to by every exhibiting company:
- Don’t sit, eat, or talk on the phone. If an emergency comes up, take a call elsewhere; never in the booth.
- Don’t form a line that keeps visitors out. Be engaging and welcoming, not a barrier.
- Don’t close yourself off with crossed arms or your back. Practice positive body language to show you are interested.
- Don’t hide behind your booth. Be approachable.
- Don’t be a shrinking violet. Be confident and self-assured.
- Don’t leave your place in the booth. A company’s investment in attending would be bad if you lost that one needle in a haystack. Ensure coverage at all times.
- Don’t talk to your colleagues. You are there to interact and engage with visitors.
- Don’t be afraid to work the aisles. Invite people into your booth.
- Don’t think you can remember everything. Document details of your conversations.
What are some of your booth dos and don’ts?