There is a great deal of preparation for any trade show. There are the travel and hotel accommodations, displays, shipping, set-up, brochure design, merchandise, and technology. A big investment is made every trade show your company attends and return on investment is always a large concern. However, you can draw as many potential clients to your booth with your beautiful display, but if you don’t have quality customer service, those potentials may dissipate.
Quality training of your trade show staff is a step in preparation that many companies overlook, but it is one of the most impactful actions you can take to build trust in your product, company, or brand. Consider the next “5 Golden Rules of Trade Show Customer Service” as your guide to great engagement at your next trade show.
“5 Golden Rules of Trade Show Customer Service”
- It Is Up to YOU to Facilitate Conversation
An instant turn-off to a company is an awkward greeting where the attendee feels as though they have to facilitate the conversation. It is up to your staff to have questions ready to get a good idea of how your company will the perfect fit for them. This also allows for a consultative sales method instead of an abrupt hard-sell. Follow the 80/20 rule, by listening 80 percent of the time, and talking 20 percent with open-ended questions. Some sample questions are:
“What brings you to our booth today?”
“What would you like our products and services to do for your business?”
“What goals do you have for your business, and what could be standing in the way of you achieving them?”
“What do you see as a challenge for your business now and in the near future?”
- Know the Technology Inside and Out, Before The Show
A terrible first impression will be made if your staff member is fumbling around with an iPad or monitor, while unsuccessfully trying to bring up content for the booth visitor. “The use of tech products at trade shows has remained one of the most consistent trends for years,” states Indy Displays founder, Nathan Slavik. He says of the trend, “We offer a large variety of products that make it easier to use the technology, but also incorporate it into the look and feel of their booth space.” Products like iPad kiosks and monitor stands are fantastic ways to promote interest and engagement, but if a staff member is unable to work the device, the potential client is likely to believe this is what the company’s customer service will resemble in the future, slow and unreliable. Always train trade show staff on the exact applications and devices they will be using at the show.
- Say No to Distractions
A disengaged staff member creates a disengaged potential client. Phones should be off limits in the booth, along with any food or drink, besides water. It may seem like a strict rule, but it is vital to keeping your staff focused on your goal: Gaining new customers. There is a time and place for everything, and your employees will be able to eat and check their phones outside of the booth space. Even a glance at a phone or a bite of a sandwich looks unprofessional and rude, so make sure your staff is giving off the right impression!
- Keep Your Promises
If you make a commitment to follow up, that commitment needs to be honored. This is so crucial and a true reflection of what working with your company will be like, so it needs to be at the top of the “post-trade show” list. A large part of this is remembering exactly what was promised, and to whom. Make sure your staff is trained on an efficient way to keep track of each follow-up activity, so that no booth visitor’s request is forgotten.
- Smile, Arrive On Time, and Have a Well-Kept Appearance
These seem like no-brainers, but they are truly the most important aspects of trade show customer service. A trade show is a chance to give your company, brand, or product a living, breathing platform. You have your eye-catching, carefully curated display that draws people in, such as a trendy backlit trade show display, but you need to keep them there. Train your staff to look happy and engaged, as well as arrive early. Also, make sure there is a dress code that it is followed and all staff members are well-groomed. The number one reason people don’t buy/engage at a trade show booth? Bad breath. (Source: Bags of Ideas)
Orchestrating a trade show requires many moving parts, but the little things must not be forgotten. When training your sales staff, start with the basics! A little customer service goes a long way to make a trade show attendee feel valued, so never forget the “5 Golden Rules of Trade Show Customer Service”.