You’ve put together the perfect exhibit, you’ve done the preshow marketing to let couples know that they can find you at the show and you’ve put together a great promotional piece so they remember you at the show. All things point to success, but the determining factor for success is often the staff you select for your exhibit.
Think of how your staff engages with prospects at your place of business. Are they welcoming and attentive? Do they know the features and benefits of doing business with you? Then foster that same at-your-service attitude at the shows. First, staff your exhibit with people that want to be at the show. Nothing diminishes your brand more than staff that doesn’t have the right attitude. You need the right staff with the proper skills. The exhibitors that excel at the show are excited to be there, and are energized to show their talents to each couple they encounter. For smaller businesses it’s not uncommon to ask friends and family to help out, but make sure that they represent your brand, are knowledgeable about your products and services, and present a professional face to your company.
Each interaction is an impression of your brand, so educate your staff not to make assumptions. While this awareness has become more prevalent with the introduction of same-sex weddings, we are discovering there is a bias based on age. With nearly one-third of marriages occurring with couples over 40, don’t just assume that the 20-year-old in the group is the bride.
Most exhibitors want to identify who is getting married, but savvy exhibitors ask pointed questions to get there. Blurting out ‘Who is the Bride?’ signals to the rest of the entourage that they aren’t important, and is even more awkward when the wedding doesn’t have a bride. Teach your staff how to qualify the attendees quickly so that you can talk with as many qualified prospects as possible.
Also remember that just because some of the attendees are there to help the couple with their wedding plans, does not exclude them from being your future prospects. Your interaction with sisters, friends, and members of the bridal party not only creates good will with these important influencers, it may make enough impact that they consider you in the future.
Make sure you are specific about what you want your staff to wear. This is a great opportunity to help extend your brand, either through a specific aesthetic or even branded ‘uniforms’. This helps attendees identify who is ‘working’ the booth so they can more easily engage with your staff.
Provide expectations for exhibitor etiquette that includes; not eating or drinking in the exhibit, chewing gum, or talking and texting on their phone. These are all cues for attendees not to stop at your exhibit.
Have your staff review the talking points for your products and services so that they can be prepared with a rehearsed, practiced, and polished sales presentation which tells the couple who you are, what you do and most importantly, the benefit that you provide to them specifically.
By working to showcase a professional and prepared staff at the event, you will significantly increase your ROI from the show.