What is your company’s biggest asset? – Hopefully you answered “the team”.
At any exhibition your team will be your biggest asset – however, without preparation they could also be a liability.
We notice frequent faux-pas at shows when we are building, and most of them could easily be avoided with some communication and planning.
Preparing your team
Initially, the first point is to ensure you have clear objectives for the show – what does success look like? Leads? Purchases? Brand Awareness? Once agreed, make sure you bring your team on board to understand those objectives, months before you exhibit. Once your team are onside, they will be living and breathing that vision, and can harness all their creativity into how to achieve the results you want from the show.
We’d suggest organising monthly meetings from the moment you book the space at the venue. 8 weeks before the show, start bi-weekly meetings where you keep everyone up to speed with the progression of the exhibition planning. A month before the show, we suggest the core team meet weekly to discuss the finer details and logistics.
Get everyone involved in the central marketing campaigns leading up to the show. Particularly your social outreach, any new products coming through, and highlighting prospects that can be invited to visit your stand.
If you are hiring staff to work on your stand, allocate a budget that allows them to come in to the planning process early on. It really benefits the professionalism of the brand if the hostesses are fully briefed on company history, products and the names of their colleagues.
We noticed that some brands fail to recognise the importance of presenting a themselves professionally on the stand. Avoiding some of these things listed below, could encourage more people on to the stand to talk with your team.
Some of the frequent errors we’ve encountered :
Don’t – allow your team to chew chewing gum – nothing worse than talking to customers whilst chomping gum.
Do – keep breath freshener and paracetamol on the stand.
Don’t – create a human wall. Your team may like the idea of being away on a jolly, but looking accessible when someone comes on to the stand is important.
Do – look receptive, engaged, welcoming.
Don’t – stand at the edge of the stand creating a block to anyone wanting to look at products. It will create an environment where they may feel pressurised.
Do – stand a few feet in from the edge encouraging the visitor to wander on and look at the products or talk to the team.
Don’t – have coffee cups and food on the stand unless there for the visitor to consume. Nothing worse than crumbs or coffee spillages, or the stand personnel drinking and eating in front of prospects.
Don’t – create a group of stand personnel chattering and laughing, and most definitely DO curb language on the stand when talking with colleagues. More people than you think can lip read.
Do – have Lanyards or Badges or a branded uniform that identify your team apart from the visitors.
Do – have enough lead forms, methods of collecting data.
Do – reward your team for a job well done. Recognising the teams collective and individual achievements in achieving the company objectives, goes a long way. It’s hard walking the shows, being on your feet all day, and working longer hours. Saying thank you after the event goes a long way to create good feeling amongst your colleagues.
Do – a stand rota so everyone has comfort breaks, and time to go off and get something to eat whilst leaving the relevant cover on the stand.
Do – Make sure the Stand Manager runs through the briefing every morning.
Do – make the most of positing show relevant content to your social media platforms. Brand guidelines should be agreed in advance – much as we encourage putting a personality behind the brand, it should be the right personality!
Do – stress “smart and professional” Ensure there are enough clean clothes/uniform for the event.
Do – manage your literature and potentially use smart literature. There are plenty of people that collect literature at the show, but then ditch it soon after.
Do – make sure all of your team have Business Cards, and that they are current.
Do -limit the time spent on mobile phones – the team are there to SELL not to catch up with friends.
Do – take an emergency kit. Typically a stock of pens, staplers, blue tack, polish, batteries, and notepads. We also add in paracetamol, polish, tissues, breath freshener, battery chargers, hand cream. . .
We encourage communication every morning of the show, so that positives are applauded, and any issues are countered, prior to the start of the show.