Increase Sales At Your Trade Show Booth
Your trade show exhibit staff can make the difference between your trade show exhibit being successful or being an unproductive exercise. The Center for Exhibit Industry Research (CEIR) says that 80% of what visitors remember most about their visit to a trade show booth is their interaction with the exhibit staff. In fact, CEIR sites that 75% of the effectiveness of any trade show is traceable to the performance of the exhibit staff. Although you can find almost any information today on a company’s website, trade shows are popular because, unlike the Internet, they give people a chance to talk face to face. Your trade show display staff can thus make the difference between trade show attendees having a positive experience or a negative one. By employing well-rehearsed trade show booth people skills, your staff will be better able to ensure that every visitor to your trade show booth has a gratifying experience.
And, by learning important people skills, your staff will generate better sales. Visitors come to trade shows to learn what is new in their industry by attending continuing education sessions and by gathering information at trade show exhibits. Your staff not only needs to have knowledge about your product or service but they also need to be enthusiastic and know how to professionally and politely handle any situation that may arise. By being prepared, your staff can anticipate the questions they will be asked and thus be better able to manage conversations on the trade show floor. Being able to control the conversation will help your trade show staff in selling their products or services to the visitor.
According to Matt Hill, a trade show trainer and president of The Hill Group, in San Jose, California, in order to engage and qualify trade show booth visitors, your trade show staff needs to master the following people skills. How to: 1. Engage and Greet By having eye contact, being friendly and approachable, asking opened ended question (one that does not have a yes or no answer, such as “What bought you to our booth today?”) your booth staff can break the ice and easily initiate a dialogue. 2. Ask qualifying questions to decide whether the visitor is qualified or a time waster Learn what questions to ask to find out if the visitor has influence in buying your product, has a time frame that is acceptable to you, and has an adequate budget or financing available. 3. Either dismiss or present a product demonstration To end the conversation and to disengage from your visitors, you can shake their hands, thank them for their time, communicate that you need to move on to someone waiting, and then turn away. This will politely signal that your conversation is over. It is called pattern interrupt. Since you are not a talk show host such as David Letterman or Jay Leno who rely on commercial breaks to end their guest ‘s appearance, you must learn pattern interrupt techniques to politely end your trade show booth conversation.
4. Generate a lead After qualifying the visitor, you need to ask if they want to be contacted further. If they are a hot lead, they will want to be contacted either right away or within the next 30 days. Be sure to get the necessary contact information on the visitor and then follow up. A favorite technique of Hill’s is teaching exhibit staffers how to work with groups. He cites that when you are presenting at your trade show booth and engaged in a one on one conversation and another person approaches, there are people skills you can use to open up your conversation to include an expanding audience. First, take a step back or to the side to make room for more people, ask your initial guest if it is acceptable to open up the conversation to others, and then bring those new visitors up to date on the conversation. If you are not the right staff person to answer your visitor’s questions, Hill advises you to escort that visitor to a qualified staff person in your booth. If he/she is already involved in conversation, you can politely interrupt by asking if it is okay to join the conversation. If not, ask how long he/she plans to be.
If the conversation will end in a minute or two, then you can wait with your visitor until your staff person is finished the conversation. Realize that a private conversation at a trade show booth can always be politely interrupted. Hill has conducted trade show trainings for many companies for shows around the world and close by to home at the Henry J Kaiser Convention Center in Oakland, the Moscone Center in San Francisco, and the Convention Centers in Santa Clara and San Jose. He has trained Silicon Valley companies headquartered in Fremont, Hayward, Cupertino, Milpitas, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, San Jose and beyond to Sacramento and throughout Northern California. He believes that people skills training for a specific show is essential for all the trade show booth staff. After an advanced formal training, a quick refresher before the show helps reinforce the people skills your staff will use over the course of the trade show so that every visitor to your trade show booth has a positive experience. Your sales will dramatically increase as a result.
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