Training is a matter of customisation. It differs from schooling and academic education in the sense that training implies behavioural change; that is also very much the case for exhibition training. Predetermine which qualities are important to achieve your exhibition objectives and which areas your stand staff members need to improve upon. Product presentation: Does every staff member have a sufficient level of product knowledge to enable them to, at least, sum up the product’s primary strengths and main specifications? If not, they need to be briefed by a product specialist. It is then up to a communications expert to explain how they can pass this information on to a stand visitor in the most efficient manner possible. The product demonstration aspect should not be neglected; anything that can be made tangible or can be visualised, strongly supports the message you are trying to get across.
Stand etiquette: When you are briefing your stand team, it is absolutely essential that you talk about stand etiquette (i.e. the basic housekeeping rules). Just listing some rules won’t have much impact. If you are under the impression that your team members ought to present themselves in a more professional manner than is currently the case, then you need to ensure that stand etiquette is part of their formal exhibition training. Making them understand which behaviour is inappropriate for the stand – such as phoning, eating, chatting with colleagues – and having them practice the correct comportment will put them firmly on the right track.
Qualifying leads and prospects: Are you aiming to gather as many qualitative leads as possible? A trade fair is the best marketing tool to reach that objective, but it does require a targeted approach. Train your stand staff members in how they can rapidly assess the visitors to their stand: how to start off the conversation, which questions they need to ask in order to ascertain if they are dealing with an interesting prospect, whether or not they should transition towards a product presentation, or whether they should politely and firmly conclude the conversation.
Hospitality: Can you simply expect that an account manager who is accustomed to visiting clients also knows what true hospitality consists of? Be mindful that the roles are switched at an exhibition and that in this case it is the client who makes the visit. Hospitality is the essence of an exhibition’s concept and, therefore, this aspect can not be omitted from exhibition training. How do you properly welcome guests so that they feel fully at ease and taken care of? That can only be learnt with practice…