7 Ways to Avoid Bad Trade Show Etiquette

Posted 20/07/2018
7 Ways to Avoid Bad Trade Show Etiquette

It’s a fact: we’re human. Sometimes we do the wrong thing.

What’s worth ruminating over? Bad behaviour from your trade show team that you could prevent.

Not all mistakes have to happen. With enough forethought and preparation, you can stop performance killers in their tracks.

This is a collection of the worst trade show staff behaviours we’ve witnessed. Your duty is to prevent them from ever happening on your watch to protect your investment.

#1: Sleeping on the Job

This happens more often than you’d think: in the last few hours of the show, a booth employee succumbs to their exhaustion. As soon as they sit down, they give in to tiredness.

When attendees see trade show staff dozing in their chairs, they might feel embarrassed or offended. Their interest in your business takes a nosedive and you lose their custom.

The Fix: Understand why your trade show staff have fallen asleep at the booth. This will help you take the right action.

Perhaps the exhibit is abroad and their sleep cycle has been disrupted from changing time zones. Consider flying your team over on an earlier date. If they are at fault – hungover from the night before, for example – you have to ask yourself: are they right for the role?

#2: Eating at the Booth

 Expo attendees want to know what you have to offer, not what’s on the menu for lunch. Eating on the job screams unprofessional and your brand image can suffer as a result.

The Fix: Booth time should be treated like stage time: your team needs to perform around-the-clock to stay on brand and on the ball.

The team captain is responsible for scheduling rotated lunches. Brief them in advance to ensure they understand their responsibilities and how eating at the booth can impact trade show performance.

#3: Engaging the Wrong Leads

 We’re talking about ten-minute conversations with attendees who have no interest in your business or can’t afford your offerings.

When you don’t use qualifying questions to determine cold and warm leads, you have less time to close sales or acquire new contacts. Your ROI takes a hit.

The Fix: Use qualifying questions to filter through leads: your goal is to determine how likely someone will do business with you.

A great question would be: “What products are you looking for?” The answer will give you an indication of the prospect’s buyer potential. If there’s none, politely end the conversation. (For more qualifying questions, check out our six-minute lead generation guide).

#4: Not Following the Dress Code

 You have a uniform for a reason. To keep your trade show team looking professional and on brand. If your booth staff decide to make their own fashion choices, they’ll stick out for all the wrong reasons.

The Fix: Discern why an employee isn’t wearing the right clothes for the expo. For instance, perhaps their luggage was lost in transit during their flight.

Preventive measures? Have your team pack spares or send your uniforms to the show’s location in advance.

#5: Breaking Trade Show Rules

 Where exhibiting is concerned, a lot of venues have strict guidelines. For instance, the CEDIA EXPO doesn’t allow outside food in the venue and has specific size specifications for booths. These are common rules for many sites. Break them and you might get the boot.

The Fix: The best course of action is to stop the prohibited activity immediately. The faster your team responds the less likely they’ll be asked to leave.

For future expos, always check the venue’s guidelines for exhibiting to avoid stepping on any toes.

 #6: Being Too ‘Salesy’

“The average salesperson talks over 81% of the time in a selling situation,” says Marc Wayshack, Entrepreneur contributor. If the prospect is only speaking 19% of the time, are they enjoying the conversation?

The short answer: no. Sales spiel is nowhere near as valuable as encouraging the other person to talk about themselves. It reduces their engagement and makes the conversation depersonalised.

The Fix: Have an impactful opening that gives the attendee the show floor. Like: “What’s the best thing you’ve seen at the show so far?”

The attendee gets to share their experience with you. In their reply, you’ll learn more than you would from ten product pitches.

#7: Forgetting to Take Notes

Even one trade show can offer a wealth of experience: lessons from mistakes, things that worked and things that didn’t, snippets of information that help you improve for the next round.

If your expo team forget to do this, it’s harder to progress.

The Fix: Discuss note-taking during the briefing and in any rehearsals (which should take place at least two weeks prior to the show).

Encourage staff to document their experience for personal development. The information will reveal areas for training to help the team grow.

 Your exhibition team can give a standout performance if they avoid these mistakes:

  1. Sleeping on the job
  2. Eating at the stand
  3. Engaging the wrong leads
  4. Not following the dress code
  5. Breaking trade show rules
  6. Being too ‘salesy’
  7. Forgetting to take notes

Put them on the right path and your trade show investment won’t go to waste. Not sure if you have the right team? We can help. We recruit talented and multiskilled exhibition staff to surge your trade show performance. Call us on 0161 834 9478 to find out more today.

Posted 20/07/2018