Picking and training a good exhibit staff is a critical part of the sales and marketing process. Sales and marketing managers plan what to bring to the show floor. They also decide the message and focus of the show. The salespeople don’t usually take part in those meetings. They come from the local office or are hopefully out doing sales calls in between events.
You’ve been on the show floor, especially on the first day, and have seen some of the exhibiting companies having a pre-show meeting with all the staff present. Many times the team is dressed in matching outfits and the leader of the show will relay important pre-show information.
So what should be done to train the show staff? Here is a quick checklist of ideas:
- Booth protocol and manners – your staff should have a clear understanding of what to do and what not to do in the exhibit space. No sitting down, no eating in the exhibit area, no casual conversations between fellow staff, and whatever else the leadership decides.
- Everyone should have an overview of all offerings displayed at the show and know each other’s assignments.
I am going to stop here for a minute to make a specific point. It doesn’t really matter if you are two sales people or 30 sales people at the show. This information should be relayed up front and understood by the exhibit staff. Ok, back to the list:
- Clear goals and procedures should be explained. Everyone should be taught how to gather lead information and what to do with it. They should know what questions they need to ask (hopefully with a clipboard or a form to fill out with the questions on it). Everyone should also know which staff members should handle specific questions or product lines, and so on.
- How to use literature and giveaway items, including which items to give out and when. Incentives for follow-up meeting or purchases and what is required to authorize the use of an incentive program should also be addressed.
Bottom line: As Mike Gruenberg from GruenbergConsulting.com would say, “We are at the show to achieve specific goals.” When it’s showtime, everyone is an actor or actress on stage in your exhibit. They should know their lines and work together to achieve a specific outcome. That requires good casting and lots of pre-planning and training. Who is doing that in your company?