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Trade Show Marketing: Who You’re Putting on the Tradeshow Floor Could Be Hurting You

Many companies rely on trade shows to reach customers, partners, and distributors. The COVID 19 pandemic created some big challenges for businesses accustomed to this form of marketing. Luckily, the trade show industry has always been nimble in finding ways to adapt to changes in the market. Now many tradeshows are going online, or setting up safe practices that allow in-person socially distant networking. As the world changes around us, some basic principles remain constant. Your company’s trade show representatives are your ambassadors,  and present the all-important first impression to many contacts who may develop into important consumers. Here are five qualities to look for in selecting the right individuals suitable for trade show marketing to best represent your goods or services.

1. You’re Someone Worth Talking To

Whether your rep is an experienced salesperson or a new recruit, they must make attendees feel welcome to come and talk. A friendly smile is a critical part of the package. Trade show booth staff tread a fine line between being proactive and aggressive. It often takes experience to judge when to hone in on a prospect and when to let them make the first move.

Essential qualities for a good representative in any industry include being friendly, well-groomed, and alert.  If staff are talking amongst themselves too much or engrossed in their social media feeds, they are not paying attention to potential customers. They must appear engaged and interested in helping others, not wrapped up in their own personal concerns.

Make sure your trade show reps have a dress code that fits with your brand. They may wear branded shirts or business wear, but they should look polished and professional. Set guidelines for appropriate hairstyles, shoes, and outfits that set the tone of what you want to convey. 

2. Not Afraid to Make the First Move

Manning a trade show booth is not a job for a retiring wallflower. You need representatives who will engage strangers in conversations, and make lasting contacts. One never knows when someone passing by at a trade show may make a huge difference to the success of your company.

If passersby catch their eye or seem to be watching a display or presentation at the booth with special interest, your rep must engage. This means giving a friendly greeting and starting a conversation. If the person seems reticent, your rep must be skilled at drawing them out and seeing what they need.

Obviously, some prospects have more potential than others. Nametags and industry knowledge will give your reps a sense of who is really a possible moneymaker and who is just strolling by.

However, a good rep must treat anyone who expresses interest with respect and kindness. Don’t push aside a junior exec because you see the company president walk by.

3. Someone Who Knows Their Stuff

Trade show best practices dictate that anyone who represents your company needs to know your company like the back of their hand. Trade show reps must do more than just look attractive. They must be able to answer questions about a wide range of issues that potential customers may be concerned about. 

Often a top executive will spend some time at a booth at a trade show. Make sure he knows the minutiae of the product as well as the overall trade show marketing strategy.  

New trade show reps should shadow more experienced salespeople in order to witness the range of questions they may receive and see how they should be handled. 

Finally,  if your rep does not know the answer, she should know how to leverage that into a chance to follow up with responses.  Not knowing the answer can turn into an opportunity if it leads to a chance to reconnect with an interested party.

4. Get Up & Go 

Trade shows are like marathons. They require salespeople to be on their feet for hours at a time. They also require participants to be always “on”: ready to engage in conversation, answer questions, and pitch the product. 

You need staff who have the endurance and stamina to remain upbeat and outgoing for long periods of time. You need a manager who knows when to rotate the staff so that people get a chance to rest, eat and refuel before the next shift. 

How can you inspire this kind of energy in your team? Look for people who are naturally peppy and active. Create sales incentives to motivate them to keep going.

Make sure everyone is well-fed and caffeinated, with healthy snacks and lots of coffee throughout the day! 

5. Someone Who’s Got it Together

Not only must your trade show rep be able to engage with masses of people in a single day, but they must also be able to gather all the data collected and use it wisely. If they collect one hundred business cards,  they need to input those contacts into your database.

If people have questions,  the rep must be sure to follow up and maintain communication. If orders were made at the show,  the reps should be equipped to pass those orders along for fulfilment and confirm that the customer has received them. 

Your trade show staff is responsible for getting to the show on time and setting up the booth, displays, plus any giveaways or presentations. If they are on a tour of shows, they may have to arrange for shipments from one location to another.

Your company may pay a hefty fee to participate in one of these events. You need to make sure your reps support you well in order to get a healthy return on that investment.

Trade Show Marketing: Putting Your Best Face Forward

Hiring the right people to be the face of your product to the rest of your industry is critical for success. You want people who can represent your brand well, engage in productive networking, and get the most out of your marketing investment.

Make sure everything and everyone you use for your trade show marketing are top-notch,  from the booth and equipment to the people you hire. 

For more information on making the most of your trade show investment, contact us.

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