Trade show etiquette matters. It’s not just attendees paying attention to your behavior at trade shows – your competition is, too. Your booth staff should act like they are on display at all times – because they are! As people approach your exhibit, your staff should be warm and welcoming. Whether it’s the first day or the third day of the event – attendees should be treated with respect and empathy as they share their pain points.
To ensure that your booth staff is ready to rock your exhibit, here are some booth etiquette tips to follow.
Practice “Approachable” Body Language
Body language is a nonverbal form of communication. Crossing the arms, yawning or looking disinterested sends the message that you’re unapproachable. Because it’s easy to misread body language, it’s a good idea to go over the basics of positive body language with your booth staff. A professional, friendly demeanor looks like this:
- Stand up straight in front of the booth
- Greet people as they walk by
- Smile and make direct eye contact
- Keep hands out of pockets
- Avoid crossing arms or legs
- Avoid leaning up against furniture
No Food or Drinks in the Booth
Avoid eating and drinking in your booth. It’s tempting – we know. The days are long, so booth staff should have access to food and drinks. But, they should not consume them in the booth. Wrappers, empty water bottles and even the smell of food can look unprofessional. That said, if you have branded water bottles, your staff can use them to keep hydrated.
Speaking of food, employees should let customers eat first. When it’s time to eat, booth staff should wait until the customers have lined up. Also make sure that your employees are diligent about their schedules and give each other appropriate breaks.
Some companies expect their booth staff to wear corporate or business casual attire, while others have specific branded apparel. Uniforms and professional clothing distinguish booth staff from the rest of the crowd. A branded red polo, for example, helps your employees stand out so that attendees know who to connect with.
Put Customers First
Sales personnel should talk to the attendees and not each other. It’s important that they are alert and remain visible to passersbys. Plus, people can get a bad impression of your company if they see your staff talking and laughing with each other and ignoring the guests. You’re paying the money to be at the trade show, so prove that you want to be there.
Be a Good Listener
You’re excited about your products and services – this is great! But, it’s important to be a good listener, too. Your staff can learn a lot from prospects, such as their pain points, what they like and dislike about your products and more. Even though your staff should be trained on what to say, they need to listen, too.
Make Good Choices Outside the Event
Set guidelines that define work hours, free time and alcohol consumption. Remind employees that they will still be around industry professionals and prospective customers, so it’s important to be considerate. Also establish clear boundaries on what acceptable and non-acceptable company expenses are.
Before any trade show, spend some time talking to your booth staff about proper etiquette. This is your time to shine, and you wouldn’t want the wrong body language or the bite of a cheeseburger to ruin things.