Ready, Set and Roll: 8 Tips to Train Your Staff for a Trade Show
Your company prepared for its trade show, and the big day is now only weeks away. You’ve invested time and money into the project, signage is ready, and the ways to record potential leads are all worked out. But is your team ready?
It’s a straightforward question, but to many companies, it may result in the question being repeated again. “Are we ready?” While the logistics of the show could be all done and ready to go, the staff working the event may not be.
Any company at a trade show should have a prepared team of frontline ambassadors that know your product, company, product and service. But if there is a worry, how can you prepare and ensure your team is well-trained, coordinated and ready to engage the crowd? Some tips include:
- Create a List of On-Brand Behaviour: Your staff is a critical link to your overall trade show success. They are the ‘face’ of your brand, so there is a responsibility for ensuring your staff create a positive experience through their interactions. Floor etiquette, body language, communication are all important. Creating a small list of guidelines is a great way to ensure your staff understand what is expected of them. These types of guidelines also influence the overall company culture. Brand awareness, tone and language are important for any company, and these guidelines shouldn’t be anything new; but providing clarity for everyone involved can only work in your favour.
- Run a Quick Training Session: Well-trained staff will boost sales and the productivity of your trade show team. If they are informed about your product, it makes it easier to illustrate competence and influence a lead or sale. Before the tradeshow, run a quick meeting or training session to ensure staff feel prepared, or have an outlet for questions. It may not be needed, but allowing the chance to know what is expected ensures no one assumes anything about what their role requires during the show.
- Inform Them About Your Audience: Your staff may know your overall motives and objectives for participating in the convention. But just in case, be sure to communicate their role in the trade show and how it is related to the overall goals of the company. Who is the target audience, what leads are we looking for, and what roles or employee titles should they look for to determine decision makers? The idea is to make your team feel part of something bigger, larger and more important so as to boost their motivation, and therefore encourage their salesmanship.
- Test Their Focus on the Customer: This can’t be emphasized enough! Your team should know the customer or target before walking into the expo or convention centre. In training sessions, continuously test them on the customer including: pain-points, handling difficult scenarios, and creating a great experience by going above and beyond.
- Make Sure They Know Your Product or Service: If they don’t know the product or service, what are they going to sell? Train them on each and every part of your product line. This is especially important if they are not employees, but brand ambassadors hired just for this event. They must not only know what your product and company does, but how it functions depending on the business. Remember, the more clarity your team has about the unique selling points of your product, the better they are able to articulate it to your prospects.
- Brainstorm Product and Brand Adjectives: Your team must know the ‘feel’ of the product, and this sometimes comes by describing it with keywords to create an entire perspective. Encourage them to try the demo. Ask them how they felt after using it. Ask your team to add to the word cloud of existing adjectives to not only demonstrate participation, but ensure they understand your brand inside and out.
- Make Sure They Know the Length of the Event: Less about when your ambassadors can pack up and go, and more of a way to give them some power in their role. Trade shows can be tricky in their lack of clear hours, so this should be done to give your team structure. Clearly communicate hours, break times, and event and booth location. Show them the trade show booth layout and storage space for all promotional material, etc. Tell them about wi-fi accessibility, transit, and even give them time to see the show, if they like. Inform them about any networking opportunities organized by sponsors or affiliates. Ensure they know about fun perks like after-parties at the end of the conference. Anyway to create the work into one with incentive will lead to an impassioned employee.
- Lead Management: Train your staff to manage leads or prospect information. Whether it is filling up a fishbowl with business cards, writing notes on lead card — starring or numbering the best prospects — or entering lead data into the database, etc. Teach them the importance of recording a lead properly, checking lead quality, and entering useful comments to get the best ROI from participating in the event.
Are you ready to rock the floor by being the best, energetic booth at your upcoming event? The above tips will mean your team is prepared, excited and informed, but remember: customers also respond well to high energy people who are excited about their company and product. Be extraverted, fun and show your prospects why you’re the right choice. What will you do to stand out in the crowd? How will you make sure every lead is a valuable and relevant prospect? It’s up to you to decide — but we know you have it in you. Have fun!
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