Innovative or Invisible….wait who?

What do you see?

Who goes to shows? Well crazy gypsies like me of course!

Generally speaking the folks are delegated by sitting in the wrong chair at the wrong time, or the right chair at the right time.  Sometimes it is a toss-up!

When staff is delegated to go to shows they should have at least more than 10 minutes’ notice. There should be a plan of action not a written action plan that no one reads! A plan of action that is discussed prior to the show defining who needs to be where when and then show up! Whether is sales staff doing booth-duty; marketing managing the press/analysts; or business development targeting new business; or last but not least your technical staff that are either on hand for those questions that only they can answer; or certainly your speaking VIP! Have plan of physical action to get from point-A to point-B without any incidents or lost staff or the ultimate in no-no’s an un-staffed booth.

In the booth, should there be too many attendants, this is often a deterrent for those shy attendees that feel intimidated by a herd of
trade show shirts stampeding the booth to get to that lone individual. Make sure there is an adequate number of staff on hand that have the “right stuff” – open personality, professional (I stress this one), and knowledgeable on the products. If you have a lead in person, which was me quite often, make sure they are approachable and can hang on to a customer if technical staff is busy with other attendees and that they know enough about the products to keep the attendee enthusiastic about learning more.

There is, NO SHY IN BOOTH DUTY!! Countless times than I care
to remember, staff was sent that would try to hide behind me. Ok, let’s just say I am average petite. Get the right people in the booth, if they are
uncomfortable talking with people without being prompted or shoved, then the wrong person is at the show.

If you know that more could have been done, bring up the
fact in a staff call that ROI can only be accounted for by the quality of the staff that worked the show.  Get some accountability with the leads, either electronically or written. This accountability can help determine who should be at the shows and who should be back in their office or only work in individual sales.  Establish a rapport with the Sales VP and let them know you will be submitting a report on how the show went; and then be honest in your report with your accountability stats. This helps everyone, including the individual as they generally hate shows.

Some sales staff loved shows and excelled, and others did
everything possible to get out of the booth or hide.  In some cases the staff would tag team and work well together to have a successful show, in others they were strangers and saw each other as internal competition.

Just know as individuals with those sixth-sense things,
attendees can feel when there is tension in your booth and they will not
approach or leave with the feeling that they were sorry they stopped by. If people are up and not complaining about their internal issues, that group has a good show no matter what.

I did a large show in Washington, DC where a company had
their booth destroyed in shipping with no time to get anything else. The sales staff rallied and put a big poster board with an X and a circle on their damaged box; crime scene tape around their booth with only a doorway opening (who knows what ingenious individual acquired the tape); with another poster board propped up against the crate with a note that said, “Booth Casualty, come in and sign up as a witness to this crime”! They wore black t-shirts and had sunglasses and gave away Kleenex packets with every brochure!  They killed every 20 X 20 fancy booth on the show floor and had no electrical, no booth, no carpet and were raking in the leads.  Did they have the right staff, ABSOLUTELY!

So get those people to the show that can rally in a crisis and get those individuals that will engage with attendees. This whole processes
improves ROI and is an accountable action that can add value to anyone’s performance appraisal, and maybe even be a way to help justify the future of show participation.

In a nutshell – send your performing gypsies to the party,
not the mystics behind the curtain!