This past Monday I attended the 2011 National Safety Expo in Philadelphia, PA since we had a few clients exhibiting and I wanted to see how their booths turned out and, of course, make sure I’m updated on the current trends of their industry. I observed some wonderfully designed, creative booth layouts and graphics (not as great as ours, of course!), but couldn’t believe one key element to trade show marketing that almost every booth overlooked:
PROPER TRAINING OF TRADE SHOW SALES STAFF!!!
I was astonished at how many booths I walked up to, obviously observing their graphics and content, saw a staff member look over at me, and not come over to see if I have any questions or start casual conversation. I even walked through a booth where a company had rented both sides of an entire aisle, had close to 15 staff members, and not one person spoke to me as I casually walked through. Granted, I’m not interested in their products, but they don’t know that!
Working at a trade show is not about sending the prettiest women and well-built men, nor is it always appropriate to send the most senior team member or the one with the most knowledge. It’s about sending someone who has the personality to make eye contact, generate conversation, and draw someone into the booth. Someone that knows how to positively represent their company in a positive, friendly, and interested manner.
Trade show marketing isn’t cheap, but if done properly, can net a large return. Companies aren’t going to put out this type of expense simply for brand recognition; they’re expecting to generate new interest and new leads. Just a little bit of sales training for many of these companies could go a long way in yielding a much better return on their investment.
What one bit of advice would you give to a first-time trade show exhibitor?