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Eight Effortless Exercises to Improve Tradeshow Performance by Susan Friedmann

Eight Effortless Exercises to Improve Tradeshow Performance
by Susan Friedmann

Tradeshow exhibitors have something in common with the rest of humanity: We’ll do what is easy, but avoid what those things we find to be or perceive as difficult. It doesn’t really matter what sphere we’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 you’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, you’re trying, to achieve at the show. A show where you’re launching a new product and want to raise brand awareness is, in some ways, a fundamentally different exercise than a show where you’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 company’s structure, organization, and public image? You might be surprised. Test your team with a friendly game modeled after Trivial Pursuit™ or Jeopardy™. 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 wouldn’t recommend using pictures of your own people, in the interest of company harmony, but that’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 shouldn’t be doing. For a little fun, give the first person to call “Bingo” a prize.

4. Sew Their Pockets Shut

Ok, you don’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 person’s name. Study after study has shown that people universally respond positively to hearing their own name, as long as it doesn’t seem affected and forced.

Do role playing exercises focused on learning the other person’s name and working it naturally into conversation. To make it more realistic, have both parties wear fake ‘show badges’ with a name that’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 aren’t ‘hands on’ with the merchandise -- and become comfortable demonstrating it.

7. Teach the Technology

If you’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 they’re expected to do and when they’re expected to do it, you’ll see a marked increase in return.

You see? That wasn’t so hard! These effortless exercises don’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, isn’t it worth it?

Written by Susan A. Friedmann, CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, Lake Placid, NY, internationally recognized expert working with companies to increase their profitability at tradeshows. Author: “Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market” and “Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies.” http://www.thetradeshowcoach.com



 
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