This ain’t no party—stay on point to capitalize on event engagement.
“You on point, Tip? All the time, Phife.” —A Tribe Called Quest
Whooohoooo, three days in Orlando!
Your organization rewarded you for a killer year by sending you to staff the booth at one of their big trade shows, SWEET! Feels kind of like a finish line, doesn’t it? A nice place to temporarily plateau, turn on that out-of-office message, schmooze, make some bad decisions that will lead to great stories of excess, come back fresh and get to work.
Sure, it can be a blast, but it’s also a massive opportunity and you are an essential ingredient. Honor it.
DON’T CONFUSE THE DESTINATION WITH A VACATION
You might be in Vegas, New Orleans or kitty-corner from the Happiest Place on Earth, but if you treat your event like a passive spectator, you could be missing out. Mindset matters. Remind yourself:
- You’re working. Keep your phone in your pocket.
- You’ll be standing. A LOT. Wear comfortable shoes. And iron that shirt.
- Don’t get discouraged by a few rejections. You’ll hear a lot of “no thanks.” Learn from it, change it up, plant some seeds, team up with co-workers. Even the smallest win can rejuvenate the entire team.
FREE E-BOOK: The 7 Secrets of Awe-Inspiring Events
REMEMBER WHAT’S AT STAKE
As far as connection possibilities and available audience goes, you are about the run the gauntlet:
- 84% of trade show attendees have the power to recommend or make final purchasing decisions.
- 67% of all trade show visitors could be new prospects. The folks back at the office are jealous!
But the show floor is noisy, fast-paced and distraction-filled for both staffers and attendees. And there are 1000+ other booths competing for attention and qualified leads. Your booth is set up for for maximum visitor engagement—make sure you are, too.
KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS, YOUR TOOLS AND YOUR TEAM
Visitors streaming past your booth could be complete strangers who may or may not know your brand or anything about your offering. Be a great first impression or expand their perception. Either way, you’re not strangers anymore.
Then there are your top prospects; perhaps customers you’ve spoken with but never met face-to-face. These are the people who can blow up the ROI of your entire booth. They already have a positive connection to your organization—but do they know everything you can do for them?
This may your best chance to show them your full range of capabilities, so make sure you know how to use every sales enablement tool you’ve got. Turn that small customer into a big customer.
You might also be working with people within your organization for the first time. You may get to meet that genius from the product team or the data virtuoso from the marketing team. In addition to all of the stuff you can learn, your fluid partnership in this environment can make you a force to be reckoned with. Represent a culture of collaboration through easy introductions and customer hand offs. Reflect the kind of place with which people want to partner.
“SOFT SKILLS” ARE STILL A HARDCORE NEED
Big Data, A/B testing, Millennial Research … they all have their place, but this ain’t it. People IRL (look it up) are not walking whitepapers, configuration tools or Contact Us forms. Cast your booth staff with peeps who have sharpened that emotional quotient and WANT to be there.
Think of people as people, not “User/Consumer.”
Connect with someone even when you can’t view his timeline. Look! His name’s right there on his badge! And his company! And maybe he’s follicly challenged like you, or he’s wearing a Fitbit, or his swag bag is about to burst. Start a conversation. You got this.
Think of making connections, not targeting content.
It might be considered an easier day when you can roll with canned answers or quote from existing materials. But there’s a thin line between “sharing information” and “sales pitch.” Build some common ground on a personal level, and your content becomes more credible.
Uncover questions, don’t just provide answers.
Be curious about people and their experiences. This is a huge chance for them to tell you more about their issues, concerns and needs. Knowing the answer is fine, but the true gold is in the “I don’t knows.” The unique question, the surprising discussion the uncommon perspective, all become opportunities to unearth unique insights in a truly open forum.
You’re in a real place, not a “context.”
Consider what the person in front of you has already encountered at the show, and find a way to differentiate. You know that UX-testing site The User is Drunk? Think of your visitor as “the user on Day 3 of a 22,000-person conference.” What will get through to her? A happy distraction, interactive game, or old school face-to-face conversation may just be the most memorable and sane part of all that insanity.
Staff with people, not marketing automation tools.
Reinforce the human element: You and your booth staff are either a communal and cohesive representation of your brand promise or they’re an unflattering light shining on the gap between you and your audience. Your team might be sales all-stars, but make sure they can think on their comfortably shod feet and enhance your booth experience with genuine engagement—eager bright smiles and the desire to connect with fellow humans, unplugged.
Want to transform your next trade show? Learn more secrets of the most successful booths in our FREE E-BOOK: The 7 Secrets of Awe-Inspiring Events
Account Director Corey Lallo starts most conversations by referencing a book he just finished, a podcast he listened to that morning, a 90’s rap song he can’t get out of his head, or a story about his phenomenal wife and four little punks at home.