Making a decision on whether you can afford to exhibit at a trade show from your industry is something that you need to do carefully and meticulously. You cannot just decide to do it because you have a bit of money saved. It is an undertaking that will cost you money and effort and in many cases, a lot.
On the other hand, exhibiting at a trade show or trade fair is one of the best things when it comes to finding new customers, partners and clients; as well as when it comes to promoting your business, your brand or your company.
When you do decide that you wish to exhibit and once you decide to finally do this, there is one very important thing to do, a crucial thing to do, to be more precise, and that is assembling, training and managing your trade show team.
Assembling a trade show team may seem like an easy task- you just find a bunch of people with experience and you hire them for as little money as possible. In reality, this is at least a bit more complex, of course, provided that you want a team that will do well and that will be an asset and not just a group of people standing at your booth.
You will need a group of people who will be different but who will also share a number of characteristics. They will need to be hard-working, enthusiastic and willing to learn about the trade and what your company is all about. They will also need to have great people skills because they will be interacting with your visitors. That being said, you will also need your team to consist of different types of people.
For instance, it would not be a bad idea to have someone who is into technology and who will know how to work the new and sleek iPad stands you got for your booth. You will also need to have someone who will be able to take charge if you are not there and who will be ready to talk to bigger clients. There is also a place for someone with extraordinary creativity and people skills that will animate the visitors to your booth.
Your team will most likely be assembled from people who have little to no experience in doing trade shows (although you might find some experienced people as well) which means that you will need to train your team and ensure that they know their stations and their duties.
During training, you need to be firm but also understand that your team has its limits. For instance, you cannot expect your team to know absolutely everything about your company and your products/services by heart. You also need to realize that training is something that you must do and not something that you could do if you find time.
The managing phase begins when the trade show opens and when your team is in their place and doing their job. During this phase, you need to be present from time to time, but you also need to let your team do their thing, make their mistakes (not too many!) and learn from them. You will most likely have things to do during the trade show and you will not be able to stand over them all the time, anyway.
You will want to be firm when you think that it is warranted but you also need to calm yourself down at times and understand that these are mainly younger people who are probably nervous and who are not that experienced. Of course, this does not mean that you should let them turn your exhibition booth into a pig-sty or let them be rude to visitors.
About author: James Burbank has been a part of many a trade show team in Europe and Australia for a number of US-based businesses and companies. Currently, he is back in the US and blogging about his experiences and what he has learned. You can find him on Twitter as well, @JBurbank2019