The Importance of Conducting Test Runs with Your Trade Show Staff

You’ve rented your trade show booth display, booked your travel, and selected the staff members you want to join you for the upcoming show, but have you properly prepared everyone for the presentations, demonstrations, and interactions that are to come with potential customers?

Some brands are taking the time to conduct a test run with their trade show staff to make sure any discussions of what’s expected actually plays out to what you were envisioning. Your trade show staff may not know how to deal with certain situations or may not know how to make your vision come to life without a practice run.

Take a look at the ways in which you conduct test runs and what your staff should be prepared for with the upcoming trade show.

Choose the right staff

The first part of this equation is to make sure you are choosing the right staff for the job. You need to choose those people that not only have great charisma and people skills, but also that understand your company’s mission and are well informed about the company and its products.

They will need to be able to work for several days without treating this is a vacation from the office, and they should be naturally outgoing, friendly, and approachable.

Set expectations and train

Once you’ve selected a few members of your staff for the job, it’s time to set your expectations with them before training. Make sure they understand what the tradeshow floor is like, informing them that it can get chaotic, busy, and overwhelming.

It’s not going to be like a typical sales appointment, but rather a loud and busy room with thousands of exhibitors trying to capture the attention of the same people. Explain to your staff that meeting with potential leads will be fast interaction, where you only have a short window to attract their attention, ask the right questions, and engage with a customer to determine if they are going to want to place an order with you at some point.

Fortunately, with the right booth display rental, you’ll likely find that the booth does the work for you in attracting attendees’ attention, but your staff will have to take over once you have the attendee’s attention. Don’t forget to go over details like not to eat or use cell phones at the booth, to prepare an elevator speech, and to discuss verbal and nonverbal communication tips.

Now it’s time to train your staff to make sure they know how to handle themselves at the show. They should be prepared in what products will be launching at the show, what the company’s goals are for success with the show, and what types of situations are common that should be practiced for.

Teach your staff how to approach strangers without annoying them, how to keep the conversation interesting, and how to collect data on the lead for follow-up after the show. Have a training session on the products and services your brand is trying to sell so that they have a deep understanding of it at the show, and then make sure your staff knows to capture important details of potential leads for more personalized follow-up.

Go over the details and do test runs

Lastly, make sure your team has been informed on specific details relevant to the show and how to best perform. If you are utilizing technology to track leads or to engage on social media, make sure your staff knows how to use it during the show.

Make sure your staff understands your main goals with the show, which products are being featured, what types of demos they will have to do, and if you are running any promotions. Make sure they understand the booth layout and where they will focus their attention, as well as the schedule of the show.

Once the training has completed and your staff is well-prepared, it’s time to conduct test runs of potential scenarios your staff may encounter. Use staff members that won’t be at the show as your customers and have your staff approach them as if you are at the show.

This will help your staff to practice what they’ve learned, see where they stumble and find out what they are doing right as an example to other staffers. You may find that some are great at going over the products but neglect to get follow-up information, or that some are great at approaching customers but don’t know how to keep their attention. Role-playing and coming up with relevant questions ahead of time may make a huge difference for your staff’s success.

Use these tips to make sure you’ve prepared your staff well for the show, and don’t be afraid to conduct test runs that will ensure everyone is ready for show time.