One of the recent surveys showed that trade show staff training is hit or miss, at best. Some companies conduct no training, and some only train before major shows.
A large part of your booth is made up of the people inside, so if they don’t show your best face to your customers, editors, and reviewers, you are wasting your money on the show!
Training must be mandatory, and should cover these fundamentals:
Trade show attire and conduct
Product training so that questions can be handled well
Media training – for handling editors and publication representatives that come by
Lead management and generation
Exhibit and demo logistics
Trade show objectives
One of the biggest areas that booth personnel consistently have issues with is booth conduct, or etiquette. If two members of the trade show staff are chatting together, will a customer feel comfortable coming up to speak to either of them? Arguing or creating negative energy in the booth is an absolute no-no, yet I see this at practically every trade show I attend. Chewing gum also should be strictly outlawed!
Attire is also part of the overall professionalism of the booth. Show shirts should be worn that match booth colors. The same color pants and shoes should be worn.
Booth personnel should be able to address typical product questions without hesitation. Creating an anticipated question and answer sheet for them ahead of time is a great way to make sure this happens.
This is also a strong argument against hiring professional models – who have no idea of what your product is or what it does – to man the booth. They may attract visitors, but they will not keep them. And skimpy costumes detract from the seriousness of your company and product.
Some marketing managers train personnel to simply refer all media contacts to them when they visit. Others provide more specific media training. Whatever you choose – remember that the wrong word to an editor can find its way into print, and can be disastrous!
You should have a way to generate leads, such as a badge scanner or guest book and ALL members of the booth should be trained to encourage ALL visitors to either sign the book or scan their badge. Giveaways should be made contingent on doing so.
If a potential customer shows interest, the booth staff should be trained on how to properly qualify him or her, so that you spend your time on the most likely to produce results.
ALL booth members should know how to give a proper demonstration of your product, how to lock the exhibit for the night, and little things – like where not to lean if the booth will fall down if you do!