Trade Show Etiquette - What First-Timers Might Not Know.

Trade Show Etiquette - What First-Timers Might Not Know.

Exhibit Dos and Don’ts

Don’t eat, drink, or keep food in the booth

Attendee attention will inevitably stray to the mess of wrappers, cups, and napkins. Even if these items are clean or untouched, they will relay as trash and give them an unprofessional impression. While staying hydrated is absolutely encouraged, designate a hidden area to store cups and bottles.

Do maintain product displays

If you’re selling a physical product, your product stacks or pyramids need to be maintained. If you put products out in a way that looks aesthetically pleasing, this will need to be maintained as booth visitors come by and interact with the display. Further, you want to be sure that supplies are restocked as products are sold or given away.

Don’t lounge in the booth

Standing visitors won’t be as comfortable interacting with seated booth staff and engagement will be less energized if staff members are lounging. Cut chairs entirely from the booth if the shifts are three hours or less. If sitting is necessary, try to opt for high chairs or stools where seated booth staff will remain nearly face to face with visitors.

Do care for booth components

Booth signage, tables, or any other components of the booth will need to be kept and used for many future events. Your booth is a major representation of your brand that can remain a useful asset for years, if maintained. Remind your staff not to sit, lean, or stack on booth components.

Tips for Staff Conduct

Minimize casual chatter

While it would be strange for exhibit staff to sit in utter silence between waves of visitors, staff should be more interested in engaging with passersby than chatting amongst themselves. Don’t give a potential customer the feeling that they are interrupting a conversation by approaching the booth.

Adhere to the schedule

Make sure every staff member knows their shifts and adheres strictly to the established schedule. Be sure that everyone is accounted for and that shifts match up with the movement of the event so that there is no lag-time where the booth is unstaffed.

Dress appropriately

This seems like a no-brainer but establishing a dress code for your exhibit – even if your company is loose with attire in the office – is a smart way to keep all eyes on your brand. If the event and your brand are both more casual in nature, opt for branded t-shirts and jeans or simple color coordination instead of formal business best. Magnetic badges with your logo and staff names can unify your team without a large cost. In any case, make sure event attendees can easily tell your booth staff apart from other visitors, so they know who to approach.

Attendee Engagement

Greet everyone

It’s important to make sure every passerby – even the introverted one – feels welcome to approach the booth, engage with the products, watch a demo, and ask questions. By greeting even those who aren’t planning to stop, you ensure that you don’t miss an opportunity that someone else was apprehensive to take.

Mind the script

If you have a script or plan for pitching products, demonstrating their use, or engaging customers in any way, make sure this is well-trained among staff and that staff can review these details throughout the event. Just make sure they aren’t reading from the notes in front of visitors.

Be an active listener

Make sure all staff members know that listening is just as effective as talking up the product and the brand. By understanding a potential customer’s problem from their own lens, you have a chance to inarguably match your product or service to their needs. Wait for that right moment to jump in.

Before you send your staff out to the show floor, make sure they know how to conduct themselves in a way that puts your brand’s best foot forward. Trade show etiquette is an ever-changing and multifaceted study but the most important thing is to decide how you want your brand to be perceived and encourage your staff to take that first impression out into the world.

For more on getting the most from an upcoming trade show, read our comprehensive Guide to Enhancing Your Trade Show Plan.

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