Tradeshows are one of the most effective ways to connect with customers and with others within your industry. However, you can’t just show up at the show and expect things to come together with no serious effort on your part. You need a fabulous booth rep (or team of reps) ready to make things happen. We’ve put together some tips that will help you choose the perfect person and also help you understand why this choice matters so much!
Sales Skills Are Not the Only Thing to Consider
When you are working at a sales-focused event, you may immediately think about sending your best salespeople. However, working a trade show is different than getting on the phone or interacting at a sales meeting. Choosing a rep based on sales figures could be a big mistake. The same salesperson who is used to working with purchasing managers may not know how to work with designers, CEO’s and engineers. Instead, use a variety of considerations to decide who should work your booth. Some of the skills you’ll want your reps to have include:
• Know how to capture and qualify leads
• Knowledge about the technical aspects of your product
• A professional appearance
• Stamina to work the entire event
Match the Event’s Audience
Even within the same industry, there are many different types of events. You must look at the culture of the tradeshow and choose representatives that understand this and who can connect with the attendees. Is your event technical in nature or brand-focused? Will it be laid back or straight-laced? Look at coverage of past shows for hints about the type of people who are most likely to attend.
With this information available to you, it will be easier to choose representatives who can match the audience. No matter who you decide to man your booth, you may find that your reps are out of their comfort zone if the attendees don’t match your typical customer profile. By working with the event attendees, you won’t need to worry about that problem.
Choose Reps Who Are Approachable
While sales experience and customer-savviness is necessary, one thing you can’t teach is approachableness. Having reps that seem to ooze character and warmth is important. After all, tradeshow visitors are likely to be already interested in your company, so make it easy to ask questions and check you out. Because tradeshows are tiring, think about bringing along someone who can keep a smile on his or her face for the whole day.
Experience is Important
As we’ve mentioned, the tradeshow environment has unique conditions. So, don’t allow your reps to get caught off guard. Make sure you have at least a couple of people around who have experience in the tradeshow circuit. You don’t want to spend the whole show generating leads that don’t go anywhere. Reps that have worked in the trade show scene before will likely be better than others at determining which visitors are likely to become customers. Also, reps who have experience understand the environment and will adjust more quickly. When you have experience present, it means you’ll have someone interacting with participants right away and doing things like running your iPad contest app.
If Your Event is Large, Put Together a Team
A small event may not take much effort for you to put together the right people for the job—especially if the audience is clearly defined. However, for the big events with a diverse audience, you will need to put together a larger team so that you have people chatting up CEOS and others operating the offline trade show app. Diversity is essential. Look at every person you add to your team and make sure they bring unique skills to the table. Each rep should appeal to a different attendee. Combine this complementary knowledge, and you’ll have a team that is greater than the sum of its parts.
There is a lot to look at when developing your tradeshow team. As you attend more and more shows, the process will get easier. Once you get there, relax. Spend your time mingling and connecting with leads yourself and do things like run contests and giveaways on an iPad lead capture app. You’ll figure out where you are lacking and find it easier to fill any holes next time.
Also published on Medium.