Trade show selling (or the process of interacting with attendees at trade shows to advance the sales process) can be challenging for professionals who don’t exhibit on a regular basis. However, these are precisely the types of professionals that most attendees would prefer to speak with. These executives, technical experts, and other important company representatives who spend more of their time in the office than at trade shows have the aptitude to learn the necessary skills to succeed while exhibiting, but need to be educated on the nuances of trade show selling to do their best.
When I encourage these types of representatives to step outside their comfort zones to actively engage attendees, I teach them about confidence first (which is very important for shy or nervous booth staff too).
Before doing this, I make an assumption: the trade show at which they will be exhibiting was carefully selected according to their goals, resources, and other valid criteria. This is the cornerstone to instilling confidence in your staff. If you are not certain your trade shows can help you achieve your goals (or are still trying to decide which events will be the best fit), you should reevaluate your exhibiting options… This free mini-series “How to Choose the Right Trade Shows” can help.
Once you believe that your events have been selected purposefully, you can convey this information to your staff in a helpful way. Here are three key reasons your team can feel confident:
1. Attendee Investment
To attend an event (and visit your booth), the professionals participating have invested their money (registration fees, travel expenses, etc) and their time (away from the office and their families). To receive their maximum return on investment, each attendee needs your team to quickly and clearly explain your value proposition. Your team can feel confident because they are in a safe space to excel – attendees want your representatives to do their best work so that those attendees can maximize their return (this means, visitors are likely to encourage your staff instead of nitpick minor mistakes or draw attention to nervous energy).
2. Attendee Interest
Many attendees participate because they are members of the hosting organization (which then follows that these attendees participate in the organization because they are genuinely interested in the industry, technology, or something about your company/offerings in particular). Each representative in your booth, therefore, can be confident because they have valuable information to add to the conversation. The attendees who visit your booth will be captivated by any expertise your staff can share simply because it comes from someone who is closer to the company than the attendees are.
3. Staff Selection
Just as you have carefully selected your events, you have also carefully selected your staff. Before contesting this point, remember that, even if your resources are limited (say you are a one-man-shop or the majority of your regular trade show team is unavailable), you could always hire a trade show expert to attend instead of a less qualified company representative… it’s your choice. Encourage your staff to feel confident because you have hand-picked each one to participate; be aware that the more specific attributes you can identify, the easier it will be to solidify this reasoning for each individual team member.
As mentioned above, confidence is a great place to start when helping non-trade show staffers do their best in your booth. Teach your team these three keys to exhibiting confidence today so you can enjoy their successful event execution tomorrow.
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