SMILE at your customers. You must look alert, helpful and interested, so the booth visitor will feel comfortable approaching you. If you look bored, tired, and generally unapproachable customers will avoid the booth.
Watch you body language. Folding your arms in front of you is a “closed” body position that appears to say to the customer, “don’t bother me”. Leaning on counters should be avoided too, as it makes you look bored or tired. Stand up straight, look your customer in the eye, and keep your arms relaxed.
Always stand facing the aisles. That way you can see when a customer is approaching the booth. If you keep your back to the aisle, you look like you are sending a message to the customer that says, “I’m busy”, or “not interested”.
Greet customers at the edge of the booth rather than in the center of the booth. This helps you draw them into the booth. If you can engage them in a conversation, you stand a better chance of getting them to stop, enter your booth, and learn about your product. If you stand in the middle of the booth, they may not be motivated to enter.
Never eat or drink in the booth (except water make sure it has a top and keep out of sight). Eating in the booth looks tacky, makes the booth smell bad, and can often make a mess. It is totally unprofessional. Even coffee should be avoided, as it is easily spilled and can ruin equipment, clothing and/or your rug.
Dress professionally, either in booth “uniform” or business attire. A business suit is always the best solution. But many companies now use “booth uniforms” that usually consist of a nice polo shirt, or long-sleeve shirt emblazoned with the company logo, and semi-causal Docker-type slacks and comfortable shoes. Either solution is acceptable. Mini skirts, shorts, jeans, sneakers, leggings, sandals, tank tops, or high boots are not.
Do not “customize” your booth uniform by cutting, tying, or trimming. Believe it or not, I have seen booth staffers cut off the bottom of their company shirt, tear out the sleeves, tied the shirt in a knot to expose their mid-section, and “pegged” the pants so that they were skin-tight. The point of a booth uniform is to present a consistent, PROFESSIONAL image to the customer. When you have your company name plastered on you, you are a walking billboard for the company, and you need to act accordingly. Exposing too much flesh or appearing raggedy or tacky and unacceptable.
Do not chew gum in the booth. It looks tacky.
Don’t stand in groups, talking to each other. Groups of company staffers talking together sends several bad messages: too many staffers assigned to the booth at one time; not enough booth traffic; you are ignoring customers in order to chat with your buddies. Not to mention that potential customers are usually shy about interrupting a huddle conversation to ask a question. Remember that you are there to sell your product, not to socialize.
Don’t have personal conversations or phone calls in the booth. If you must make or take a personal phone call, leave the booth. If a friend from another company stops by, make an arrangement to see them later, after the show or on your lunch break, and politely get them to leave the booth.
Don’t sit. Any chairs in the booth are usually for client meetings or booth visitors to take a quick rest. Sitting makes you look bored and tired, which you may very well be, but you don’t want your customers to think so. If you need to take a break, do so. Most shows have an exhibitor lounge, often with free sodas and coffee, where you can relax for a short break.
Be punctual for your booth duty shift. Your teammate is waiting to be relieved, and is probably tired and hungry. You would expect the same courtesy. If your shift is the first morning shift, it is even more important to be punctual, as the booth needs to be prepped for show opening. Brochures should be refilled, computers turned on, card reader tested, water cooler filled, etc.
Never leave your station unattended. If you have to leave the booth for a customer meeting, or a break, get someone to fill in for you. Also, let the booth manager know you are leaving. She/he is responsible for booth staffing and will be held accountable there is not sufficient staff to man the booth.
Always wear your name badge where customers can read it. Hanging it off your purse or your belt makes it difficult for your customer to see and read your name.
Do not show up in the booth drunk, hung over or over tired. The person drags into the booth smelling like a distillery, with red eyes and a blistering headache. What kind of an impression does this make to the customer? Or your boss? Employees who act this way on a business trip run the risk of being fired.
Watch your behavior after hours. Even when you are out to dinner or at a bar after the show is over for the day or full event, you are representing the company. Remember that someone, a customer or a competitor may notice you if you are engaged in inappropriate behavior.
Trade Shows are very hard work. You spend long hours on your feet, talking to customers and generally being “on”. The days are long and the nights are too, with company entertainment, customer entertainment, and sometimes staff meetings. It is important to be able to relax, see the sights, and have fun too. Just keep it in moderation and you will be fine.
———Getting Ready for a Trade Show:
• Contract with Show Management for booth space. Pay deposit.
• Submit EAC (Exhibitor Appointed Contractor) Form to show contractor
• Contact exhibit house for floor plans, list of equipment needed
• Submit Electrical order to show contractor
• Order any specialized lighting – like gobos, spotlights, ballyhoos
• Order carpet, rental furniture, bag and coat racks
• Order phone lines, internet connection
• Order card reader
• Order wastebaskets, booth cleaning service
• Order water cooler, catering if needed
• Order any special handling, like overhead hanging signs, from show management
• Get permission for unusually large or tall signage.
• Place flower/plant order
• Order AV equipment
Microphones and lavaliers
Graphic Panels, vinyl signage, posters
Dura-trans (back-lit transparencies)
Booth property repairs, décor
Desktop signage, plastic sign holders
• New product brochures
• White papers
• Data Sheets
• Catalogs & price lists
• Ad reprints
• Business cards for new employees
• Schedule meetings with key industry analysts and editors
• Build Press Kits and press releases for booth meetings and show press room
• Order “gifts” for key industry analysts and editors with whom you have
• scheduled meetings
• Have product samples available for media testing and review before and during show
• Line up company executives for at-show media broadcasts
• Get CEO or company executive a speaker role at conference (long lead-time)
• Place staff housing order
• Make transportation, rental car and airline reservations
• Order name badges from Show Management
• Contract with carrier for shipping materials from company
• Contract with Van Line for shipping exhibit booth property
• Arrange for staff dinner
• Order booth giveaways, bags, gifts
• Contract for photographer (can be arranged through show management, or you can hire your own talent)
• Order booth uniforms
• Arrange for booth “talent” if needed
• Create demos, PowerPoint customer presentations
• Schedule pre-show staff training meeting
• Create show binder for all company attendees which includes staff cell phone numbers, city and convention center maps, booth diagrams, restaurant lists, hotel diagrams, flight arrangements for all attendees, press releases, city information/sights ñ any information that company attendees might need during the event.
Advertising and promotional activities
• Run ad in show program
• Web-site ads on show web site, major sponsor sites, your own company site
• Investigate sponsorship opportunities at convention center/expo like badge lanyards, shuttle bus signs, attendee badge inserts, message center sponsorship, coffee station sponsorship, attendee show bag sponsorship, kiosk advertising panels, etc. Each show will have different opportunities based on the city location and show management
• Send pre-show mailer to attendee list
• Run ad in national trade magazine for month of event (often 3 months lead time)
• Explore off-premise promotional opportunities, like local transit ads, in-hotel closed-loop TV ads, sponsored entertainment events, graphic decals on rental cars, movable billboards, banners, signs, giant inflatable’s, etc
Reference Matterial above for Do’s and Don’ts can be found – http://tradeshowbuddy.net/list.html