Does it feel like eons ago since you last exhibited at a trade show? We’d venture to guess that it’s been even longer since you conducted any type of booth staff training for your sales team. Sure, that next, big, face-to-face event may be months away, but it’s essential to start training staff now, if you want to maximize face-to-face marketing efforts in 2021. Here’s why.
No. 1: Your sales team may look a whole lot different today than it did a year ago.
Many companies have laid off or furloughed employees due to the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, of the nation’s top 50 most valuable companies, twenty-seven have laid off workers in 2020, collectively cutting more than 100,000 jobs. And that’s just the top 50 companies in the US …
If your company reduced its salesforce during the pandemic, you’ll probably be sending a few new faces to trade shows in 2021. Your team may also be smaller and less experienced at interacting and selling face-to-face at trade shows. Being effective in a trade show environment requires a very different approach than selling over the phone or in a client’s office one-on-one—so booth staff training will be essential for inexperienced staff.
No. 2: Your sales team probably has more spare time now than they would normally.
We all know how difficult it can be to get a group of sales reps together for a meeting, much less for any type of training. With social distancing mandates and other safety protocols in place, many sales reps have been spending more time working from home (or the office) than meeting clients face-to-face. That means they’re on the road less and should have more time and flexibility for training right now.
More important, once vaccines are readily available and business starts heating up again, it will get more difficult to pin salespeople down for training. Take advantage of the time your reps have available now, so they’re better prepared to maximize your company’s trade show ROI when the time comes.
No. 3: Your trade show marketing goals may look a lot different for 2021.
If your business is like other successful companies that survived the pandemic, you probably made significant changes and pivots within your business since March of 2020. How will those changes affect your trade show strategy?
Any changes to your products and services—and even your brand—must be reflected in that strategy. Sales reps also need to have a clear understanding of your new direction and how to best relay that to prospects and clients in a trade show environment.
Your company may also decide to redesign an existing trade show exhibit or have a new exhibit built to better align with 2021 goals. That means booth staff will need to familiarize themselves with the new booth space and any changes to roles they play in the booth than previously. Booth staff training will be key to helping your reps adapt to new products, services, booth spaces and roles in 2021.
No. 4: Your trained booth staff will be MUCH more effective than untrained folks = MORE engagement and MORE sales.
According to a recent report by CEIR (the Center for Exhibition Industry Research), “When it comes to maximizing the level of attendee engagement exhibitors can achieve in their booths, the most important decision an exhibitor makes is selecting the right booth staff.”
From making a good first impression to converting more qualified leads—proper and regular booth staff training plays a key role in trade show success. Trained staff know how to represent your company in a way that aligns with your brand and drive more engagement, leads and sales.
Let’s talk about that good first impression, first. Have you ever been turned off by the body language or unprofessionalism of a booth staffer at a trade show? Without booth staff training, your reps may not realize that crossing arms, using a cell phone, yucking it up with other reps, sloppy attire or eating, drinking and sitting down in your booth looks unprofessional—and turns people off. When your company representatives look unprofessional so does your brand.
Equally important, trained booth staff interact with visitors MORE and convert MORE leads into sales than untrained staff. According to EXHIBITOR, staff interaction rates (the percentage of booth visitors who engage with a company rep before leaving the booth) “are at least one-third higher in exhibits where staff have been trained.” Trained staff also convert more than DOUBLE the qualified leads into sales (15.8%) than untrained staff (7.4%). WOW!
Want to learn more about booth staff training?
If you have questions, we’ve got answers! You can find plenty of blogs, white papers, webinars and videos on our website—simply visit our resources page or search our site. We can also provide booth staff training for your team. Give us a call at 800-343-2005 for details.