So you’ve booked for your next exhibition and it’s a big investment. Lots of time, money and effort has gone into this, making sure you go to the event with the right message and purpose. On the actual day (or days) though, it’s down to the staff – they need to deliver for you. Good stand training can significantly improve the performance of, and return from, your show.
WHO MAKES UP THE EXHIBITION TEAM?
The stand staff shouldn’t necessarily be 100% made up of Sales. Sales staff are great for some roles on a stand but the ice breakers/ qualifiers may be better as receptionists or admin staff who are more open and less pushy or “sales-y”.
Plus it’s always good to have a Marketer on the stand – they can engage with the audience to get feedback as well as assess the competition and the industry.
BRIEF YOUR TEAM A WEEK IN ADVANCE
You need to brief your staff on the show. This brief should be delivered verbally, and then backed up with a written overview afterwards – so the team can review it. You should aim to meet with everyone, collectively, in the week before the event. If you can’t meet physically then conference call or video conference.
1) BASICS FIRST
Start with the hygiene factors first. Make sure everyone knows where and when the event is, and what your stand number is.
2) CLOTHING & ATTIRE
Set a dress code. Exhibitions are quite physically demanding, and you can get quite dirty from lifting boxes and things. You’re also on your feet for many hours, which can be tiring so we recommend comfortable clothing. If you’re providing branded t-shirts, let people know. Otherwise you might want to set a colour code or standard dress code.
Depending on the industry and show depends on what that will be; many trade shows are smart-casual, but some industries will require smarter and more business-like attire.
3) EVENT OBJECTIVES
The team need to be clear what the objective is. This could be launching a new product and generating new leads, or it could be to raise brand awareness and to book new appointments. Whatever your objective is – make sure everyone is crystal clear so you’re all working to a common goal.
4) SET TARGETS & KPIS
If you really want to make sure you get the best from the team, set some targets! If your event goal is to generate leads, for example, then set a target on how many .Give every individual a target – so everyone knows what they need to deliver.
5) EXPLAIN THE EXHIBITION STAND
A really important one – and this is often overlooked. Your exhibition stand has been designed with your audience and message in mind.
It’s important to show your team the stand, explain the way visitors should flow through it, ideally where the main traffic flow will come to the stand from based on cafe/ conference/ entrance locations etc. Practically, as well, the staff need to know where the toilets are and where they can charge their phone when on the stand etc.
6) TRAIN THE TEAM ON THE PRODUCT
The team need to know what they’re selling. So if there’s a new product, service or customer offer – then the team need to know everything about it and be confident talking about it!
7) STAND ETIQUETTE
This is super important! To maximise your presence at the show, your staff need to work really hard. You’ll be surprised how often we visit trade shows and see stand personnel on their phones, behind a laptop and even eating their lunch! Everyone has to be alert and ready to engage with passers-by. Set some basic rules. Here are some for guidance:
- Budget for 25% extra staff – this will cover breaks.
- Make sure there’s appropriate cover at all times.
- This might be, for example, ensuring there are always a minimum of 2 people (or whatever is a suitable minimum for your stand/ show)
- Make phone calls away from the stand
- No laptops/ no working on the stand. If you need to do work, go and take a break.
- Keep a sharp eye on the traffic.
- Engage with the traffic! Say hi first – don’t wait for them to approach you!
- Collect the leads/ data using the tight process
8) COLLECTING LEADS
However you’re collecting your data or leads from the show, the team need to know what they’re capturing and how to do this properly. If it’s a form, take them through it. If they need to submit information electronically, then demo it so they’re familiar.
Be really strict about this lead or data gather process. There’s nothing more disappointing than coming back with a bunch of data that has missing information.
9) SET A ROTA
To make sure the stand is appropriately staffed, set a basic rota. For long shows, you may want to create shifts so that not everyone is required to work the entire day. Also, creating a lunch rota is important to make sure that you have cover during this period.
10) BRIEF AGAIN THE MORNING OF THE SHOW
We think it’s good practice to do another brief on the morning of the first day. Ask everyone to arrive in good time – at least half an hour (and up to an hour) before the show starts. Run through the brief again – refresh and remind everyone (go through the eight steps above). Then you can ensure everyone’s ready to go from the first hour.