The one thing attracting businesses to exhibiting at trade shows is the opportunity to meet your prospects and customers face to face (… fast becoming a rarity with everyone using on-line sales and marketing platforms). This being the case, it is imperative that any person representing your business at the trade show knows their role inside-out, and understands what it means to be an ambassador for your brand.
Your staff should be reinforcing a positive image of your brand at all times whether on the stand or walking about the hall …even during break times. On the trade show floor they are your most valuable marketing tool. They need to be well turned out, knowledgeable, professional and able to relate to and converse with strangers well.
One of the main aspects of the job of manning exhibition stands is the ability to relate well, listen to the customer and make them feel they have ‘come to the right place’. These are not necessarily easy or natural attributes for everyone. It’s entirely probable that this will not fit with the natural personality traits of your existing specialist or expert. So, by all means have your experts on stand-by for any tricky technical questions, but have someone who exudes confidence and affability as your first point of contact.
You may even need to consider hiring someone specifically as a ‘spruiker’ to attract people onto your stand, or at the very least spend some time and money on training existing staff on how they should professionally and adequately represent your brand in public.
And just as you carefully plan the appearance of your exhibition stand down to details such as colour, theme, branding, graphics, lighting and flooring to create a cohesive brand message, you’ll need to make sure your staff and their appearance tie in with your overall theme too and, just as importantly, with each other.
Some form of identity which ties in with your stand design whether an entire uniform, colour theme, individual clothing item such as a t-shirt or cap or even just a badge with your logo is better than nothing. It makes it easier for visitors to connect your staff with your stand and will augment their overall opinion of your brand.
Knowledge of your products, prices, specials, and particularly your goals for the event are an absolute must for all staff members. These are the people your prospective customers will be connecting with and asking questions of and they may not be willing to wait until another salesperson follows up their enquiries. (There will be plenty of your competitors in close vicinity who will be more than happy to jump on those prospects looking for an answer or a sale immediately!)
With all the planning and effort going into design and build of your exhibition stand, staffing can often be left as a bit if an afterthought but with the best looking stand in the world, it won’t make sales on its own. You won’t make any new customers without the personal touch.
Make staffing a priority from the offset and include a staff training budget as part of your overall exhibiting plan.