Training Your Exhibition Staff: Best Practices & Behaviors
The Purpose of Trade Show Training:
Trade Show staff training is a vital piece of exhibiting success, and yet is commonly overlooked. You wouldn’t promote a member of staff into a managerial role without giving them the correct training, so don’t expect your staff to be able to rise to the challenge of a trade show without some guidance. It is particularly important to stress this to first time exhibitors, because there is a lot to coordinate, and training is one of the first to fall by the wayside. You have three options at an event (Hint: #3 is the wrong choice):
This article assumes that you will be using internal personnel, but the points apply equally for any staffing agency you may hire. I will note that with temporary staffing at trade shows, getting the talent caught up on product/service offerings is the hardest part. They need to be knowledgeable enough to convincingly sell your product/service to your target audience without missing a beat.
Trade Show staff training is also important because it will help boost the confidence of your sales team, fine tune their skill sets, and create a cohesive goal to strive for. Be sure to educate them on the company’s overall exhibiting goals and objectives so everyone is on the same page regarding what is expected of them.
What Should You Provide?
- Product/Service Knowledge – This is the most important. Whether it is a group of your top employees or a staffing agency’s best talent, product knowledge is essential to winning business. All of the other skills in the world can’t overcome the lack of ability to communicate the unique features and benefits of a product or service. Dedicate a good amount of time to driving this home.
- Lead Generation Training – If your staff doesn’t habitually work shows, it is very easy to become rusty at in-person lead generation. The trade show floor is a much different arena than most and requires a highly refined lead generating skill set. Cover all the basis of attracting, engaging, qualifying, and converting on the trade show floor.
- Customer Service Training – Although customer service comes very naturally to some, it may not to everyone. This is a great place to run scenarios and test the responses of your exhibition staff. Help those whom have difficulty with customer service hone this valuable skill. Challenge everyone on your staff to better themselves from a customer service aspect, and this skill alone will warrant positive results even after the event has passed.
- Communication Training – Clear, engaging, knowledgeable, and humorous. If your staff can nail those four elements of communication you are going to have a very successful showing. Humor is by far the most difficult to master, but the other three should be easy to instill with proper training.
- Follow-Up Training – If the leads being generated aren’t going to the show staffers, then it is your sales team that should be receiving this staff training. However, this cannot be left out of the equation if you want to be successful. The best lead generation in the world is useless without proper follow up.
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Quality Exhibit Staffers Should Be:
- Attention Grabbing
- Assertive (Yet, Polite)
- Familiar with your Competition
- Good Listeners
- Knowledgeable about Products/Services
- Thought Provoking
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Behaviors to Avoid:
- Constant Communication Between Co-Workers
- Chewing Gum
- Drinking Alcohol (Even if it’s free, wait until after the show)
- Dressing Unprofessionally, or Forgetting Your Name Tag
- Facing Away from the Floor
- Eating at Your Booth
- Fidgeting or Overuse of Hand Gestures When Conversing
- Sitting, Unless You’re Meeting with a Client
- Talking on a Cell Phone or Texting
- Uninviting Postures (arms across, chest, hands in pockets, slouching, etc.)
- Using Vulgar Language