Training course to prepare for trade shows

Top tips for manning a trade stand

Manning a trade stand can strike fear in the hearts of even the most confident employees.  You may have worked in your organisation for many years and know all about your products and services but the thought of talking to random strangers and “selling” your products brings a chill to your bones.  So where do you start?

Determine the purpose of your company going to the event

Perhaps your business has a stand there every year and your customers expect to see you there so it may prompt them to make contact and place an order in the future.  Or it could be that you are aiming for a new customer segment and you know that there will be lots of potential customers at the show.  The event could then generate some solid sales leads or be used to develop a customer database which could be used for follow-up email marketing.

Having a stand at a trade show is expensive both in terms of building the stand, producing leaflets, providing competition prizes and paying staff to be there so it is essential that you establish why you are attending in the first place.

Research the event beforehand

Find out key facts about the event.  This will include:

  • Dates and opening hours
  • Likely number of attendees
  • Types of people attending
  • What’s on at the event eg cookery demonstrations, fashion shows
  • Where will your stand be? Is there a map of the event?
  • How will you get there? eg public transport links, car parking, etc
  • Available accommodation nearby

In short, you need to scrutinize the event website to find out everything about it.  There may be a separate section just for exhibitors which is full of lots of useful information.  Check out the Media Centre too as it is likely that there will be extra details about the event in recent press releases.  The event’s social media channels (eg Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube) will have other information which will help you to understand the size and type of event in advance.

Tell people that you are going to be there

Once the decision has been made to have a trade stand, start to tell your customers that you will be there.  Using offline communications channels, you could place an advertisement in your trade press or include a flyer when posting invoices to customers.  Write a blog and share it on your social media channels but remember to tag the event itself plus any other trade bodies and hopefully they will share it to their connections.  Remember to include the event hashtag too.

Decide what will be on your stand

Space and budget will dictate what will be on your stand.  If you have lots of space and a healthy budget, the sky is the limit as to how your stand will look but remember to get at least two quotes from exhibition stand companies.  Alternatively you may have a limited budget and you will need to use your budget wisely.  Brochures, product samples and props may help as well as an Ipad for competition entries.  Your stand is an opportunity to showcase your business to potential new customers and it is important that it looks professional and tidy.

Dress for the event

The trade stand is likely to be located in a large exhibition arena and you will probably experience extremes of temperature.  First thing in the morning, it could be very cold while later in the day, it could be overwhelmingly hot when the huge crowds arrive.  Wearing multiple layers is a good approach so that you can adjust your clothing to the prevailing temperature.

You may be provided with a uniform which should be clean and ironed with no buttons hanging off.  If an official uniform is not required, establish what the required dress code is eg white shirt, black dress, etc.  If you have a name badge, wear it too.

Wearing the right footwear is essential.  You will be on your feet all day so high heels are probably not a good idea even though they look glamorous.  Flat comfortable shoes are a better option especially as there may be a long walk from the car park to your trade stand.

Have a good breakfast

It will be a long tiring day so a cooked breakfast will give you a good start for the show.  Take regular snacks to keep your energy levels up throughout the day but don’t eat or drink on the stand itself.  While it is tempting to drink lots of coffee, water is very important to ensure you keep hydrated.

Revise your elevator pitch

Finally revise your elevator pitch ie what are the key things about your products that you need to tell customers.

Customer Sense can also help to prepare your team for manning a trade stand with their one day Trade Stand Training Course.  For more information, please email lynda@customersensetraining.co.uk .

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