Before getting to work on-site, people of different professions spend years of training and simulation. Selling on the phone and selling on the exhibition stand is quite different, and though it doesn’t require the firemen preparation, there is always a lot you can do to get your crew prepared. Here are a few things we believe would be best to consider before leaving for the show.
Having all of the exponents wear outfits that echo the company branding could enhance the recognizability and to strengthen the overall impression. However you should be discreet when designing the company uniform – it should flatter all of your colleagues and it’s not an easy task. You could prefer an option where everyone wears different designs united by the same idea. For example, if your company colors are orange and black, you could modestly use orange as an accent color. Anyway, the dress code should be discussed separately, even if you don’t plan to order various branded outfits for everyone involved.
When going camping, there’s naturally someone in charge of the fire, someone responsible for the tent and so on. To avoid any possible misunderstandings you should appoint the roles on the stand – who is going to be responsible for greeting the customers, for working with VIP-clients, for distributing the POS-materials etc. The number of roles depends on what your exhibition objectives are.
There for sure has to be someone to deal with emergencies, because it just happens. This person should have all the emergency phone numbers on speed dial – the exhibition organizers, the stand builder, the electricians and so on. It is important to appoint someone so that should anything happen the exhibition crew won’t lose precious time on figuring out who is ought to do what.
In order to stay productive, your exhibition crew should have their time to have rest, to drink a cup of coffee or to have a snack – you don’t want any workaholic faint there. You need to make a schedule so that everyone will know when it’s his or her time to leave the exhibition stand for a little refreshing walk. The same goes for lunchtime – there should always be people on your stand so there has to be a rigid schedule for it too.
Find a scheme to motivate your exhibition crew. The KPI should be clear and easy to establish, but don’t forget quality over quantity. All of the participants should know the rules of the game before the departure.
You will not be able to foresee everything that could happen on your stand during the exhibition. But some scenarios are quite predictable. It would be great to have your people prepared to respond to these situations.
“Your product sucks”
You can’t make everyone happy – that’s a law. There are probably customers who waited for too long for the support, who dislike your product, who aggressively don’t enjoy your service and so on. Their dramatic appearance on the stand could confuse the new visitors, so this drama should be ceased as soon as possible in the most polite and professional way. Discuss the possible flaws that could be attacked and be ready to answer and to solve the unsatisfied client’s problem if possible.
“Do you have a moment to talk about Jesus Christ?”
Well, this is, of course, an exaggeration, but there will be people who will approach your exhibitors with some irrelevant questions and offers. There is of course a subtle chance that you will meet a new supplier or get some useful connection, but most of the time they will be a variation of SPAM in person. You should have a short scenario for that case too – like, “Please, fill in the form, our Buyer is not on stand now, we’ll give it to him when he’s back”. Prepare the forms too. Your exhibitors should be instructed how to act and how not to waste their incredibly expensive time on handling things that have nothing to do with your exhibition goals.
Your exhibition crew should know who your target audience is and how to engage them. Design different sales processes for different groups of customers. Ask a few open-ended questions to define who is who. A huge wholesaler deserves more time and attention than a one-time potential purchaser. Anyway, you shouldn’t spend too much time with anyone, as the main point of any exhibition is getting the leads. You can always make tailored offers later when you’re back in the office.
There will be dead minutes on the stand when no one will approach or pass by. It will be very tempting to read, to have a snack on the stand, to browse the social media on the phone and so on. All of these should be strictly prohibited on the stand. If a person passes by your stand and sees someone busy, he or she won’t disturb in most cases – besides, there are plenty of other stands ready to answer all of the questions he or she may have. So, everyone should follow their schedule of work and breaks not to miss anything.
Some of the things that we’ve covered here may seem intuitive, but we believe that it is always better to discuss them in advance than to have an unpleasant surprise during the exhibition.