When exhibiting at a business show you would like to think that the exhibitors know what they are doing but how wrong is that expectation.
Having gone to the trouble and cost of making the stand look inviting, why is it that the ‘staff’ on the stand in many cases have not been briefed as to stand etiquette, and fail to engage with the passing footfall
Would you stop at a stand where the staff are:
- Deep in conversation with each other
- Chewing gum
- Eating their lunch
- Drinking (ok having a slurp of water is ok) but having a cuppa!
- Sitting down
- Sending texts, email, or generally fiddling with phones, Ipads, Laptops
- Tucked away at the back of the stand
- Filing their nails
- Heard to be complaining about their feet, the boss, and even the last person they spoke to
The staff should be fully briefed, have a number of ways to verbally engage or at the very least make eye contact with everyone who walks past. Having a strong opening statement which is a bit different helps engagement….asking do you want a chocolate / sweet or pen, is just a stopping technique which needs a good follow up.
How many sweets and pens have been given out believing it is now OK to launch into a sales pitch? The art of conversation is it lost? Two ears and one mouth spring to mind – Attracting people to a stand requires the staff to know how to engage with the passing footfall and how to stand out for a good reason.
On the other hand as an attendee why go to a business exhibition? Having a clear reason for going is essential to get the most from the day.
- Have a look at the exhibition promo literature or website, know who is going to be there and whom you wish to speak to
- It is possible to find leads for you too –stand owners may well be in need of your product or service whether now or in the future so lead the questions about what the business is, what they do and who they are targeting. Can you match their needs with you or your contacts?
- Two ears and one mouth for a reason if you’ve asked a question – Listen to the answer!
- Take plenty of business cards and hand them out when appropriate
Whether you are a stand holder or visitor make sure you take notes about people and have a process to follow up whether you need them or they need you. Make sure there is a follow up either by phone or by email within a couple of days – but don’t send impersonalised blanket emails relate it instead to your conversation remember they will have seen 100’s of people that day – you need ensure you stand out to make your attendance as an exhibitor or visitor worthwhile.