Susan Friedman asked:
Tradeshow exhibitors have something in common with the rest of humanity: Weâ€™ll do what is easy, but avoid what those things we find to be or perceive as difficult. It doesnâ€™t really matter what sphere weâ€™re talking about: human nature dictates that more often than not, we seek out the smoother path, the gentler grade, the easier climb.
So in order to appeal to human nature and improve your tradeshow performance, I offer you this: Eight Effortless Exercises you can do with your team. Nothing here is particularly difficult, yet all are devastatingly effective. If your team can implement what they learn during these exercises on the tradeshow floor, I can guarantee that youâ€™ll be very pleased with the result.
1. Go Over the Goals
Booth staffers function best when they have full knowledge of what as an organization, youâ€™re trying, to achieve at the show. A show where youâ€™re launching a new product and want to raise brand awareness is, in some ways, a fundamentally different exercise than a show where youâ€™re simply attempting to reinforce existing relationships and move as much product as possible. Meet with your team and spell out exactly what you hope to accomplish. This is a good time to let them know what you expect on an individual as well as an organizational level.
2. Play Trivial Pursuit
How well does your team know your products and services? How about your companyâ€™s structure, organization, and public image? You might be surprised. Test your team with a friendly game modeled after Trivial Pursuitâ„¢ or Jeopardyâ„¢. Instead of random trivia questions, use questions centered on your products and services. Make sure these questions range from the everyday — detailing features and benefits — to the relatively off-topic — are your products manufactured in the country? If not, where, and under what conditions? This exercise will reinforce product knowledge and help your team be prepared for whatever questions come their way.
3. Body Language Bingo
This is a fun exercise. Snap pictures (or use pictures you already have) at a tradeshow and industry event. You want images of people slouching, eating, ignoring attendees, chatting with peers, and otherwise behaving badly at shows. (I wouldnâ€™t recommend using pictures of your own people, in the interest of company harmony, but thatâ€™s up to you!)
Create little bingo cards detailing the bad behaviors, and distribute them to your team. Display the images on a screen and have them identify problem behaviors. Again, this will reinforce to your team what they shouldnâ€™t be doing. For a little fun, give the first person to call â€œBingoâ€ a prize.
4. Sew Their Pockets Shut
Ok, you donâ€™t really want to sew their pants pocket shut — but consider distributing double sided sticky tape that your staffers can use to close their pockets. This will encourage them to keep their hands out of their pockets, a behavior that tradeshow attendees consistently identify as unattractive and off-putting.
Remember to play fair. Give your booth staffers something productive to do with their hands to overcome the natural tendency to fidget. Often, having something official to do with their hands relieves a lot of anxiety.
5. The Name Game
Relationship building is easier and more effective when you use the other personâ€™s name. Study after study has shown that people universally respond positively to hearing their own name, as long as it doesnâ€™t seem affected and forced.
Do role playing exercises focused on learning the other personâ€™s name and working it naturally into conversation. To make it more realistic, have both parties wear fake â€˜show badgesâ€™ with a name thatâ€™s not their own.
6. Do the Demo
Before the show, have your team members actually practice the demo you expect them to perform during the show. This gives them time to familiarize themselves with the equipment — critical, as many salespeople generally arenâ€™t â€˜hands onâ€™ with the merchandise — and become comfortable demonstrating it.
7. Teach the Technology
If youâ€™re using card scanners or other lead gathering technology, schedule a time to actually teach your team how to use it. You want your team to be proficient with the equipment and not spend valuable, limited show time trying to figure out how to work the scanner.
8. Finesse Follow Up
Maximize the return you realize on the show by following up on every lead. Delegate responsibilities before the show and introduce an element of accountability: simply by letting your team know what theyâ€™re expected to do and when theyâ€™re expected to do it, youâ€™ll see a marked increase in return.
You see? That wasnâ€™t so hard! These effortless exercises donâ€™t require much in the way of equipment or money, just a little time. Considering the impact that enhanced tradeshow performance can have on your bottom line, isnâ€™t it worth it?