There’s one area surrounding trade shows that we haven’t talked much about. It’s who you decide to represent your brand at your booth on site and assist in selling your products to relevant buyers. The reasons behind the team you take abroad are often overlooked and more often than not, it’s unprofessional conduct or incompetence on the side of your staff that doom your performance.
Even the best laid plans fall apart, when your team doesn’t know what to do, doesn’t work well together and doesn’t know enough about the products. It’s not enough to assume that just because they work for you, they know your business in the intricate detail that you do and can sell the way you think they should. Take a good, long look at the staff in your office and think twice before you make a decision.
Who is the best candidate to join your trade show staff? It’s a big question that we’ll break down for you in several phases. We’re going to start with the simple, easy qualifications:
- Appearance – your booth team doesn’t need to consist of models, but you definitely want people who are put well together. Know how to dress themselves for business occasions and know how to groom themselves. Well-fitting clothes, a good perfume or cologne, beard or makeup that’s done to perfection. You have to understand that it all comes down to trade fair branding and your staff is your company’s first impression.
- Pleasant and welcoming – if you were to encounter a company representative during a trade show, who’s angry or sullen all the time, would you want to work with the company? No. Trade visitors have to be engaged and to that end, your booth workers have to be easy to approach, sunny and pleasant to have a conversation with. Trade shows are hectic and any visitor is going to need a serious reason to stay and pay attention. A warm smile delivers.
- Confident in social situations – it’s not enough to be a cheerful, energetic person to make the cut. You need team members who won’t have anxiety talking to a lot of people. After all, the idea is make sales and that’s not possible, if you’re uncomfortable talking with one stranger or a group of strangers.
These three criteria will reduce the pool from your office to a handful of people and, in all honesty, you don’t need a lot. Though this depends really on the size of your company and what you have planned in terms of marketing on site – demonstrations, contests, games, presentations, taking part in the support program. One thing you really need to pay attention to is the team chemistry. You definitely want to pick trade show representatives that have experience working together closely and are on good terms. Pro tip – pay attention to office gossip! Who annoys who, and which two or three people are best friends at the work place will have a direct effect on your performance.
You also have to think about the skill sets that you’re going to need, while you’re at the trade show since you’re not only need to have people to sell the products. There are several distinctive roles to consider:
- Sales Representatives – this is the type of role that people imagine most often that needs filling at a trade show. These are the people will work over the sales pitch, lay out payment options and all the details that convert visitors into buyers. They also take down sales lead information. Yes, they’re important, but not the only role you need.
- Educators – this is the type of person who will handle presentations at the booth, maybe talk somewhere else in the event’s programming, and take charge when there’s a live demo scheduled to showcase your product’s capabilities. They have to be confident in how your product works, is made and any other technical spec concerning manufacture, performance and upkeep.
- Hosts – these are the greeters and the first person trade visitors will meet. They’ll warm up visitors with personality and hand out pamphlets or business cards. They help with visitor registration and guide them to any particular area of interest.
- Crowd Gatherers – these are the staff members who break through the noise near your booth to catch the eye of visitors. Now, in some cases, these would be people who ask qualified questions as a hook to guide traffic to your booth. If you’ve settled on a fun theme, this function may be performed by an actor, playing a particular persona or who is dressed in a fur suit to promote games and contests.
Once you’ve made the final selection and know you have a killer team, it’s time to train them. You do not want to improvise at a trade show. Training your staff needs to be in your preparations prior to leaving. Every team member should know their responsibilities, practice at them and have their own script for different situations. But they also should know who on the team is responsible for what and how to perform those functions just in case!