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Staff training, the missing ingredient in most exhibitions

When it comes to putting on an exhibition, it’s your team that are essential to making it work. Not just in planning it, but in being there on the day. At the event, they will be the human face of your business. They are the experience. Getting this right is integral to your exhibitions success, so give them the support they need.

Team selection

Picking a team is simple enough. Picking the right team and properly preparing them, however, isn’t as easy. And it’s here that many businesses fail to plan effectively. You need to be doing more than simply telling them what they should be doing. If you want them to achieve your objectives you need to give them the tools to do this.

No one wants to fail in front of potential customers so do something about it before the event.

The importance of training

Training is critical. This doesn’t mean some specialised course, or certification, although if you know of one that would help achieve your objective, then go for it. What it means is giving them all the information and understanding they need.

Involve your team in every element of the show, and get them on board with what is necessary to make the day a success from the very beginning of the process.

If they’re selling a product, train them in every aspect of that product. If they’re selling services, make sure they know what it is. Make sure they know the approach you want – a simple example if you want your business to come across as friendly, make sure your team know this.

Training is ‘the experience’

At an exhibition, a well-organised stand with staff who know what they are talking about is the most anyone can expect. That is ‘the experience’ that everyone is trying to achieve. For stands that get this wrong, they are falling at the very first hurdle.

By giving your staff everything they will need for the day, you will change perceptions. While those who haven’t done this may end up seeming amateurish, you’ll appear professional. While others seem confused, you’ll be direct and responsive.

Steps to success

  1. Agree your company’s objectives for the stand: are you selling a new product or service or maybe just raising brand awareness?
  2. Who are the main people you need to attract to your stand to achieve your goals? Write a simple profile, i.e. Procurement Managers for engineering companies in the North of England.
  3. If you get these people to your stand (see our post on attracting people to your stand), then ask what questions are they most likely have? Make a list.
  4. What is the next action you would like them to take? Is it agree to a meeting, pick up a brochure or buy something off the stand? Write these actions down.
  5. What objections might they have to completing these actions? Then look at how you plan to manage each.
  6. What reassurances might they need to move to the next stage in your sales process? Do they want testimonials, samples, accreditations? Make a list.
  7. You should now have all the components you need to select the most suitable staff to be on your exhibition stand. ‘Tool’ them up with the training they require so that they can deal with everything on your list.
  8. ALWAYS have a de-brief after the exhibition, get feedback from your staff on what went well and what needs improvement for next time.

At the end of the day, an exhibition is about selling your business, and your stand brilliant or not is only one part of this. Your staff and the experience they offer potential customers will be what completes this package.