The Art of Trade Shows – Know Your Business, and Know it Well
When visitors attend trade shows and expos, it is generally given that they have some basic knowledge of the products and services they expect to see there. This gives presenters and vendors very little room for error in their presentations and demonstrations and makes it very obvious that if you intend to present yourself as a professional, you better know your business. While this may actually be less of a problem for small businesses, larger companies with a more levels in their corporate hierarchy may encounter difficulties in this area.
Planning for public events like these starts months in advance, and while you’re still in the planning stages, it’s important to identify the individuals you intend to send as personal representatives of your business. Give this some careful though. Keep in mind that these people will be serving as the face and mouth of your livelihood, and sending the wrong person can utterly defeat even the most impressive and thoughtful trade show display. There are several things to consider when deciding who to send.
First, evaluate who among your staff is the most knowledgeable about what the company does. These individuals must possess not only good communication and social skills, but must be able to effectively discuss and explain what they do and quickly and completely answer any questions thrown at them by potential clients. If a representative stumbles over an answer or tries to avoid a line of questioning, clients will pick up on their lack of confidence and mentally connect that with your business. It is imperative that the people chosen have no issues about dealing with the public, and their personal carriage must be respectable and professional and well as knowledgeable.
Secondly, take into consideration the audience expected at the event. Certain demographics respond differently to other people. Choose representatives that you believe will identify most closely with the intended audience and prepare them to use appropriate language and communication techniques. For instance, many companies possess their own inner jargon that is used to communicate internally. Should a representative of that company try to use that jargon with a client, the meaning of the exchange may be lost and the client can be left feeling alienated an uncomfortable. Remember that many of these visitors have a basic understanding of the product or service, but lack actual expertise and are not privy to the inner details of design and execution. You must make sure that anyone you send is comfortable speaking with a diverse group of potential clients.
Establishing personal connections and developing a strong, reliable reputation is one of the primary purposes of a trade show. The individuals responsible for representing and promoting your business can make or break your image among competitors, colleagues and clients, alike. Give your chosen representatives plenty of notice of the event, and allow them appropriate time to prepare in advance. Also, be sure to have backups in the event that one of your designated individuals is unable to meet their requirement for any reason.