If you plan on exhibiting at an industry-specific trade show, such as MTIA for medical transcription services owners, the19th Annual NNBA Conference for nurse staffing entrepreneurs, or the 30th Annual AAPC Expo for medical coding consultants, here are some helpful tips provided by Skyline Exhibits:Talk to EVERYONE that comes within shouting distance of your booth. Approach everyone with a smile, have no fear and you will be amazed at the results.
Just because you have spent big bucks on your display, people may still not understand what you are selling. Draw them in and tell your story.
Most people are wandering through the exhibit hall because they are looking for something new. They cannot come home and face the boss without a sack full of exhibit hand-outs….it is a “seller’s market.”
Once I pull them from the aisle and into the booth, I always go into the long version “chat.” People will give off enough clues pretty quickly if they feel you are wasting their time, which in turn, is wasting your time. If the clues are present, I quickly fall into just the overview talk, wrap it up with a “thanks for stopping by,” and let them move on.I have had many successes with people I “drug” into the booth, and explained our product. These are the same people who told me that they were glad I made them stop because they had no intention of visiting the booth until I began the “chat.”
– Warren Hand, Institute for Healthcare Advancement
One of the most often-heard objections from booth staffers is their concern about losing touch with their clients while attending the show and putting their time in at the booth. One means of helping to relieve this concern is by creative scheduling as the next reader’s tip points out:
Schedule your sales people according to what time zone their territory is in. If the show is on the West coast don’t schedule your East coast sales people in the mornings. Put them on in the afternoon, that gives them an opportunity to take care of their clients back home during the AM on the West coast, which is still working hours on the East coast. That way you won’t have cranky sales people whining about taking away their ability to meet their weekly goals.
– Traci Browne, Red Cedar Publicity and Marketing
To all our readers who are sales folk, just kidding about the “cranky” and we know that you never whine . . . Moving right along, the next tip offers the suggestion that the responsibilities for booth staffing are not confined to the hours that the exhibit hall is officially open. . .
When setting up your display at a trade show and before the doors open to the conferees, you may, from time to time, get interrupted by someone just walking around looking. That person could be a future sale and is worth receiving a personal invitation to come back and see your product when your display is completely set up.
– John Conti, President, Continental Covers
Or when you are within the boundaries of your exhibit:
No matter if you are in the booth or not, any time you spend at the show dressed in your company’s attire – you represent your company. This includes your breaks, lunch etc. I have made many quality contacts while on lunch or in the break/smoking area, just by initiating regular conversation. This leads to the inevitable question: “What does your company do?” I always use this as an opportunity to invite people back to our booth.
– Kris Magnotti, Hahn RaceCraft
The theme of creating an inviting and comfortable environment for your guests runs consistently through all the readers’ tips about booth staffing. The thought is nicely expressed by this reader:
Make sure to dress appropriate for the conference or show – too dressy or too casual may not work for the type of show you are at. You want your attendees to feel “at home” in your booth. Remember to always invite attendees into your booth with a warm smile and friendly greeting; the rest will take care of itself if you are prepared. Just be yourself, relax and remember its okay to have fun. We always have a big jar of chocolates in our booth – no one can resist! We find it’s a great way to start a conversation.
– Jan Wyatt, MECO Engineering
We close with another sentiment that has been expressed by many people who have sent us their thoughts about succeeding on the show floor:
Love what you are selling. The client or customer can tell if you are faking it. Be knowledgeable about all areas of the business, not just your product. You never know what questions you might be asked.
– Kate Getty, Stephens College