You don’t get a second chance to form a first impression so you have to get it right the first time especially when you are on a trade stand for your business.  Potential customers form a first impression of you (and your business) within five seconds which is based on what they see, hear, touch or smell.  So how do you get it right?

1. Look good

Whatever you are asked to wear, make sure it is 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.

2. Open body language

Stand up and greet attendees to the show.  Smile and make eye contact with people and “lighthouse” to spot people coming from every direction.  No crossed arms or hands in the pocket to prevent any barriers between you and the customers but be mindful of the personal space rules and don’t go too close to customers – keep 1m space between you and the customer.  Even when you are not talking to customers, be aware of your facial expressions and don’t look bored.

3. Say the right things

Be yourself, show personality and enjoy your day at the show.  Take time for people who have additional needs or are from another country where English is not their first language.  It is up to you to take the initiative and greet people as they approach the stand but avoid tricky subjects such as religion, politics or your problems!  Talk about your products and ask open questions to find out what the customer is most interested in.  Remember that there are other potential customers passing your stand so don’t spend hours talking to one customer who may be just killing time!

4. Don’t use your mobile phone

According to a recent Ofcom survey, a staggering 78% adults in the UK have a smart phone and we use it for almost 2.5 hours per day!  We are very dependent on these mobile devices but when you are on a trade stand, this is not the time to catch up on your WhatsApp messages or review the latest stories on Instagram.  Your role is to engage with prospective customers and you should never use your mobile phone while you are physically on the trade stand.  If you need to make a phone call or write a social media post for your business, leave the stand and do this in another location of the exhibition arena eg a coffee area.

5. Do your homework about your products

Create a positive impression by really understanding your products and services and sharing your knowledge with potential customers.  Do your homework beforehand and conduct thorough research into your product range as well as knowing what are the latest trends in your industry sector.

Research about the event that you are exhibiting at too.  For example, if you are at Balmoral Show, know the locations of the toilets, exits, coffee shop, cattle ring and any other key attractions.  Get some copies of the show maps so you can pass them on to customers who may be a little lost.

6. Your positive attitude

Among all the employees in your organisation, you have been handpicked to represent the organisation at the trade fair.  It is a large financial investment and a fantastic opportunity for your organisation to showcase its products to new potential customers.  Make the most of the opportunity with your passion and pride in the company obvious to all.   “Talk up” the organisation in all of your conversations with enthusiasm, organisation and working as a team clearly apparent in your role as an ambassador for your business.

To find out more tips about attending a trade show, follow the link to our Trade Stand Training course.