So, you’ve got your trade show booth designed and the marketing program to compliment your efforts – but have you given the right amount of attention to your booth personnel?
When all is said and done on the trade show floor, ultimately everything, including your level of success, boils down to face-to-face interaction with the show audience. The preparation can help to improve your odds and make your show a resounding success
All too often marketers look at trade shows and say, “If we can get the product there and the booth looks great, the world will beat a path to our door”. But remember, there are hundreds of other exhibitors with the same hopes and aspirations…
The truth is that while they may be at the door, someone needs to invite them inside and share valuable information with the singular goal of meeting the buyer’s needs.
The Art of “Boothmanship” is Everything
Where else, other than in a retail setting, does the buyer come to the seller? And while retail and trade show settings have some commonalities, the pace on the trade show floor is at a much faster pace, thus requiring a systematic approach in order to effectively communicate valuable information.
Through proper planning, selection, engagement and guidelines – Boothmanship can help to create the approach, which separates you from your competition on the show floor.
Boothmanship Pre-Show Planning
Schedule informal meetings to discuss goals and objectives well in advance of the show date. During these sessions, outline what is expected of booth personnel and how to handle specific situations in order to obtain the desired information and results you ultimately want to gather from them.
During the planning session, the following should be researched in order to set goals for the show:
- Background on previous shows and their performance
- Status and changes in the marketplace
- Familiarize personnel with changes in the format of the specific show
- Distribute new information on products, competition, and pricing
- Review all current sales, marketing and product literature
- Identify technical support
- Analyze the lead gathering process used and follow-up procedures
Choose Show Staffers Who Are:
- People oriented
- Well-versed in product knowledge
- Keen listeners
- Empathetic to their visitors’ situations
How to Effectively Engage an Audience
This is the moment of truth. You’re ready and armed with a vast arsenal of information. Now it’s time to condense all that information down to a full day of six-minute presentations. They must be concise and systematic.
You will need to greet, respond to, and decide how to handle each prospect as they approach your booth.
Set Guidelines for Engaging Prospects
- Prepare 3-6 questions for engaging prospects.
- Be friendly and non-threatening. Build rapport.
- Ask open ended questions beginning with who, what, where, when, why and how.
- Avoid trite questions such as, “Can I help you?” “How are you today?” etc.
- Establish who the visitors are (Decision Maker, Supplier, Influencer, Competitor, etc.).
- Ask questions which will reveal their level of interest or need in your products or services.
- Inquire into their decision making process i.e. the prospect’s influence/authority in the buying decision.
- Explore time and budget parameters. Make sure the above information is gathered in the form of a conversation not interrogation.
- Set up a time to rehearse the presentation among booth personnel. Role playing will go a long way in making people comfortable with their part of the presentation.
Set Guidelines for Lead Gathering and Management
- Design customized lead cards that meet show standards and corporate goals
- Establish a prospect ranking system
- Conduct a debriefing session at the end of each day so that hot leads can be sorted and acted upon
- Make sure that the support staff at the home office is prepared to respond to hot leads every day
- Use a computerized database or CRM for tracking leads
- Make sale personnel accountable
- Measure results and compare them to goals
- Recognize and reward booth personnel and support staff for achieving the desired results or outstanding contributions
- Plan a walk-through of the exhibit space before the show opens to familiarize everyone with presentation processes
- Remind everyone of key goals, customers and prospects
- Set a rotation schedule for personnel so that they remain fresh and effective
- Check on competition and new industry developments
- Drink water regularly: it will help maintain your energy
- Dress appropriately and wear comfortable shoes
- Get out there and make great things happen!
Like to learn more about Boothmanship and how doing it right can help move the needle at your next trade show? The seasoned professionals at ColorCraft can help shape the success of your next event. Give us a call.