We recently wrote about the right people to send to a trade show, but what if you’re still not convinced? What if your team already has the trade show planning underway and the tickets bought for a group of people who may not be best suited for the boots-on-the-ground job of manning your booth? Before you just go ahead and send them anyway, take a look at the costs of sending the wrong people.
Cost: Damaged Brand Reputation
We all know first impressions can be everything, and the same is true at events. Yes, your booth will absolutely be a key part of a prospect’s first impression, but so are your people. Do you really want Steve the Engineer, who is scared to say hello to strangers, to be the first person from your company with whom a potential customer interacts? Or Billy Blowhard, the sales guy who only wants to talk (loudly) about himself? Or even Suzie Sarcasm, who may be a high-level executive, but lacks self-awareness, giving them their first taste of what your company is all about?
Of course, these are a bit exaggerated, but these types of people really do show up at trade shows all the time. Really think about the humans at your company who is capable of giving booth visitors the best impression of your organization. Members of the booth staff need to have the right personality, use the right body language and speak confidently. Sending the right people boosts your brand’s credibility, new customer acquisition, client trust, and sales. Sending the wrong people does the opposite, costing you far more than you might think.
Cost: Wasted Budget
The next time you go to a show, do a walkthrough. Who is sitting at the booth? Tucked back, away from the aisle? Looking at their phones? These seemingly simple things speak volumes about representatives’ commitment to the show and the people there. If this is how your team members operate at a show, you’ve wasted your money. Next time, you’d be better off not exhibiting at all.
Getting It Right
If you want to have a rewarding trade show and event program, you have a couple of strong options:
One solution is to hire people who are skilled in traveling and promoting. Instead of pulling your own sales team or staff members, put together the greatest show on earth by hiring real performers who know how to wow prospects at trade shows and already have that highly unique skill set.
Some owners worry the hired folks won’t be able to speak their business’ language well enough, but if you get true professionals, they can easily answer questions and direct booth visitors where to go for further or more technical information. What you gain in engagement will far surpass any ground lost by not knowing extensive industry jargon.
Alternately, you can figure out who is the highest performer you already have on staff, and duplicate their process. Train your other team members to that. Most companies don’t spend any time training their trade show staff, and it shows in their behavior and results. If you take the time to teach your other people what has worked well for your superstar performers, you’ll be duplicating what you already know works well for your brand.
If you get nothing else from this post, remember this: it’s better not to attend trade shows at all than it is to go with the wrong people. Ready to get your trade show planning, trade show marketing and trade show staff in order to create an optimized event program? Let’s talk!