You spend a lot of time, money, and resources preparing for your trade shows—so it’s important that you make the most out of your time there. No matter what your goals are for the show, you need to make sure your booth and your staff represent your company well. Customers, potential customers, the media, business partners, and competitors will be judging your company based on your booth, your collateral materials, and how your staff present themselves. Following are simple tips to project a professional and successful image:
- Don’t sit. Standing projects a welcoming, energetic attitude, whereas seated booth staff often appear bored or unenthusiastic. Booth staff should be standing beside or in front of the booth—standing behind the booth creates a barrier between customers and booth staff, making them feel less approachable.
- Smile! Smiling at customers is a visual cue and a simple welcome. Smiling booth staff are far more approachable than bored-looking, unfriendly ones.
- Greet people as they approach. This will make them feel welcome and initiates a conversation. If they return the greeting, begin a conversation—ask them what they think of the show so far, if this is their first time at the show, or if they’ve seen anything particularly of interest. Then, progress the conversation to a discussion about your company, products, or services.
- Try a direct approach—ask passersby if they’d be interested in speaking with you, or learning more about your company/product/service. This can be difficult for booth staffers who aren’t naturally outgoing—but it’s important! If necessary, practice beforehand with coworkers and try acting out several scenarios to become more comfortable with approaching strangers. Remember, people are attending the trade show because they want to learn about your company, products, or services!
- Use a team. Consider using two staffers at a time during the show. Having a partner can make them feel more comfortable—but limit private conversation together, as this makes show attendees feel unwelcome. Another option is to have one person staff the booth while the other walks the show floor, making contact with other exhibitors and networking.
- •Don’t eat in your booth. This is a turn-off to show attendees, looks unprofessional, and makes it impossible for staff to attend to customers. Plan ahead for the booth staff to be replaced for a lunch or dinner break.
- Make sure your booth is well assembled. Unsteady lights, crooked displays, or visible duct tape do not present a professional image.
- Keep your booth clean and uncluttered. Store excess papers, giveaways, and other items out of sight, yet keep them easily accessible. Consider bringing a trash receptacle or renting one from the show to help keep your area neat and clean.
- Consider having stools or other seating. Attendees will be appreciative of a chance to sit down—and this presents the perfect opportunity for a longer conversation.
Attention to booth details and to how your booth staff present themselves can make a big impact at a trade show. In many cases, your booth and show staff represent the first impression many customers will have of your company, so make sure it’s a positive one.
For help with your trade show, contact AVS Group.