Getting your exhibition staffing right can be a real challenge. Their attitude, appearance, knowledge and body language are just as important as having a great booth. However exhibiting is a unique kind of marketing that requires someone a bit more David Niven than David Brent.
Over the years we’ve been lucky to be able to learn from the best, our clients, so here are our ten top tips for getting the most out of your stand staff.
Choose people who want to be there
The key ingredient for anyone to be motivated to work a show is simple: they need to want to be there. All too often employees are told by management to “just show up” to work a particular show. However, given a choice, they would often prefer not to.
For those who have never been to an exhibition it is easy to pre-judge the environment they’ll be working in. Exhibition halls can vary, but it is important for staff to wear appropriate clothing and footwear and eat and drink properly during the show. Breaks are also important and should not be overlooked; if staff are overworked and hungry they will easily lose concentration and this will be detrimental to your image.
Leave negative attitudes at the door
Sales people frequently feel that working a display stand interferes with their normal selling routine. When employees have a negative attitude about being at a show, their body language lets everyone around know they feel “this is a futile and unimportant exercise.
Realise everyone is an ambassador
Remember that everyone representing your company is an ambassador. If your staff are seen to be talking on their mobile phones or playing Angry Birds on the stands iPads rather than welcoming visitors then, unsurprisingly, this may damage your brand. By being helpful, courteous and having a professional attitude, they can strengthen the company’s image and gain new customers. Select your team carefully on personality as well as their excellent product knowledge.
Encourage personal goals
Everyone should have at least one personal goal they want to achieve. This increases accountability, changes unproductive habits, increases productivity and also builds motivation. At pre-show meetings they should be encouraged to share their goals with others and report back on their achievements at the debriefing session.
Keep the team informed
A critical element of motivational success is letting the team know what is expected of them at the show and then providing any training necessary for them to do their job effectively.
Create a positive, fun and reinforcing environment
It is management’s responsibility to create a positive, fun and reinforcing environment and to realize that it takes more than an incentive to succeed. Rewards and personal recognition provide an effective way of encouraging higher levels of performance.
Everyone should be working together as a team, helping each other out whenever and wherever necessary. If there is a large number of staffers, split them up into teams with technical people working alongside sales people. As a team they need to have time prior to the show to get acquainted, develop a level of trust and get to know and understand each other’s strengths.
Get top management support
When the directors and/or the board are supportive of the company’s exhibition activities and demonstrate their feelings by attending the show, helping in the stand, taking part in training sessions and pre-and post-show activities, their enthusiasm is contagious.
Each day, conduct debriefing sessions to review performance. Every team members should be encouraged to give and receive feedback from colleagues to look for ways to improve performance. Managers need to remember that individual achievements are worth group recognition.