Do you train your staff?

What is a trade show attendee worth to your business? This is an important question to ask yourself before you exhibit at any trade show. Take a minute to imagine how much income a single attendee could generate for your company if they became one of your best customers. What products would they be likely to buy first? How might they expand their assortment to include more of your line in the course of one year? Think also about all the referral business they might generate for you in that year, and all the income those companies represent. Multiply that by the number of years you expect to retain that customer. When added all up, I’d imagine the total expected lifetime value of that customer is sky high.

Now that you have a sense of the immense potential that each of these attendees can represent for your business, consider your booth staff. Do they have what it takes to harness that potential? How are they attracting attendees to your booth, and do they know what to do when they get there? What are some common mistakes booth staffers make at trade shows, and how can booth staff training help change those behaviors?

Booth Staff Training: How to Attract Prospects at Trade Shows

To attract more prospects to your booth, there are a few things you’ll want your booth staff to be able to communicate to them:

“I’m here to help.”

Your booth staff should be standing at or near the edge of your booth, rather than the middle. This way, they will be signalling to attendees that they’re looking for someone to help. (One thing to avoid, however, is having all of your staffers standing in a line at the edge of the booth, which can create a physical barrier.)

“You won’t get ganged up on”

Standing in a group can instantly render your staffers intimidating and unapproachable. Make sure your booth staff are situated apart from one another to encourage attendees to approach.

“You’ll have my full attention.”

Think about how distracting it is to be talking with someone who’s periodically checking their phone or watch. Booth staff should never be holding anything that isn’t available to the attendee.

“I’m well-rested and energized”

Eating or drinking in the booth is a common mistake booth staffers make. First, attendees may not feel comfortable interrupting you while you’re snacking or eating a meal. Moreover, when attendees see you “fueling up,” especially with a caffeinated beverage, they may interpret it as a sign that you’re not at your best right now. Either way, they may decide that visiting your competitors across the aisle, whose staffers look ready and eager to engage with them, will be more enjoyable and beneficial than visiting your booth. Encourage staffers to eat lunch and take breaks in shifts away from the booth.

“I’m eager to talk with you.”

Remember how powerful a simple smile can be!

“I want you to get to know me”

Be sure staffers are positioning their event badges so that their names are always in clear view. With the standard lanyard, attendees will have to look down to a staffer’s midsection to find their name, and it’s invariably turned backwards, so they can’t even see it! Try tying a knot at the back of the lanyard, so that it’s in attendees’ line of sight.

Demonstrating and Pitching

Once you’ve attracted an attendee to your booth, it’s time to talk about your product and services. How do you do that in an efficient way?

Step 1: Get Buy-in

Always ask the attendee to make a conscious decision to follow you into a demo, i.e. the second part of the conversation. This is important because the attendee will have a moment to make that decision and feel like they are voluntarily continuing the conversation, as opposed to being pulled into it. This way, they will be more attentive to your pitch.

Step 2: Introduce the Product

You know your products so well that you may forget that attendees aren’t as familiar. Remember to provide product names and to explain how your offerings can solve their pain points.

Step 3: Differentiate

Pull out the one key differentiator that sets your product apart, and why that makes it the best fit for the attendee. This comes from asking attendees the right questions. Connect your offering to what that customer has told you they needed.

Step 4: Illustrate

Often, staffers are so excited to do a demo that they’ll dump all their products’ features onto an attendee at once. The better way to run a demo is to focus on storytelling. Human beings are wired to respond to stories. For instance, you can tell a success story about a customer in a similar situation.

Always remember––be in it for them! Your booth staffers will make the biggest difference in your trade show performance, and their interactions with attendees will determine the success of each show.