How to Train Your Staff to Deliver a Strong Performance at a Trade Show

We have prepared you how to design your trade show booth to attract more visitors and we have spent some time on how to best approach an exhibition as a first-time exhibitor. But we have yet to talk about once you’ve made you’ve made your way to the exhibition centre and need to talk to prospect buyers and handle business negotiations. You might not be a stranger to proper business and trade show etiquette, but you can’t expect the same from your staff.

A team is only as effective and successful as their weakest link and etiquette directly reflects on your brand presentation. Say the wrong thing at the wrong time and you’re in for a social headache, if not a more serious wound on your reputation. The last thing you want is to generate bad rumors about your company because of the unprofessionalism displayed by a staff member at a business conference. Then what are the basic rules of to keep in mind?

No Gum

Do we need to say this? Chewing gum may be allowed in the office, but there’s no excuse to be caught talking to a client or a prospect with gum in your mouth. Yes, having a fresh breath is crucial, but there are better ways to achieve it. Wash your teeth directly before coming to the event, using a tongue scraper for better results, and take a mint once you’ve eaten. You still get the benefit of a gum without the chewing as mints dissolve.

No Hands In The Pockets

It’s a common pitfall. Not many people know what to do with their hands and the easiest solution is to stuff them into your pockets. You’re not doing yourself any favors as that’s not only an unattractive sight to see, but also conveys a sense of casualness that’s seen as disrespect by certain people. You want hands firmly out of pockets.

No Didgeting

The same principle applies to fidgeting hands. One – it’s distracting and will steer conversation off course. Two – it’s unprofessional, especially if you’re playing around with a small item like a coin, a pen or keys. Three – it communicates nervousness and that’s not energy you wish to convey to buyers.

No Folding Arms

Another body language mistake that we see regularly is to fold your arms in front of your chest with hands tucked into your armpits. It’s a very defensive position that makes it seem like you’re not engaged with the conversation or are hiding something. It’s highly suspect behaviour to exhibit and it also ruins your clothing. Don’t do it.

No Smartphones

How do you expect me to stay in touch with my team? Relax – we’re not saying to abstain from cellphones and modern technology. It’s about not having one in your hand, while you’re talking to a potential buyer or checking it mid-conversation. For staff at the booth, it would be a cardinal sin to be caught having a conversation, when you should be open to visitors.

No Indie Smalltalk

You’re on a team with several colleagues that you get along with and you think – where’s the harm in chatting them up every now and then. Although we’re not saying to completely stay silent during the entire time, the focus should fall on attracting visitors to come to your booth. If we know one thing for sure, it is that there’s never a moment people aren’t walking past your booth – to be seen having personal conversations at your booth is a turn-off. Also, it’s a risky move to gossip about work in a place where you are surrounded by direct competitors.

But then what should your staff do?

Practice their sales pitch and how to talk about your brand and product in great detail. Knowing all there is to know about the company is the best approach to appearing competent and like they belong at the event as your representative. It also helps to practice a proper business handshake.