At-Show Activities

Category Archives:At-Show Activities

Trade show etiquette

Trade Show Etiquette Pays

You’ve invested in pre-show marketing activities, a winning display, eye-catching signage, and appealing giveaways. What about your exhibit staff? All these investments can be a waste of time and money if your staff doesn’t understand trade show etiquette.

Trade show exhibit staffing is critical to the success of your trade show attendance: your staff can pre-qualify exhibit visitors, establish relationships that convert prospects into leads and buyers, and help to characterize the quality and image of your product or service. Therefore, it is important to assign employees who believe in your product or service, possess excellent communication and customer service skills, and clearly understand your trade show objectives.

Beyond exhibiting your products and services your staff must also exhibit trade show etiquette.

The conduct and appearance of your staff significantly influence trade show visitors’ interest level in your product or service. Here are 21 valuable trade show etiquette tips:

1. Rehearse the sales script so the team delivers a polished, consistent and effective message

2. Familiarize staff with the booth layout and product/service so that selling process runs smoothly and time is used effectively

3. Adhere to dress code

4. Wear name tags

5. Keep the booth clean, tidy and well-organized

6. Avoid fidgeting with pens, coins, or other objects

7. Wear comfortable shoes so that staff can remain standing

8. Leave the chewing gum at home


Trade shows and competitive research

Trade Shows And Competitive Research – A Step Ahead Or A Step Behind

Trade shows are an ideal venue to scope out your competition. Gathering information about competing products and services, also known as “competitive intelligence” or “competitive research”, will help your company to fine tune its exhibit strategy and give you an edge at future events. How does your company compare to others, based upon factors such as product and marketing distinction, visibility, image, and exhibit design? By using a competitors’ checklist, you can make consistent comparisons, sound decisions, and determine whether you are a step ahead or a step behind.

Direct your booth staff to patrol the show floor and locate the competition. The competitors’ booth display, graphics, giveaways, and other marketing techniques can be evaluated at a distance. Staff can also approach the competitors, and ask some general questions to facilitate a discussion. If a good rapport can be established, more specific questions can be posed, depending on the comfort level of your staff. Consider the following general questions as you begin your competitive research:


Trade shows and body language

When someone approaches your trade show booth, can you tell what they are thinking? As a trade show exhibitor, your observation skills are critical to determining high-quality sales prospects. Knowing how to read and interpret body language at trade shows will help you identify prospective visitors, and avoid the time-wasters.

Body, head and facial gestures all send signals, and are powerful indicators of how you may approach and engage prospective clients. Consider the following telltale gestures:

Body posture:

  • Leaning back with closed arms means not interested
  • Leaning back with open arms signals contemplation and careful interest
  • Leaning forward with closed arms is potentially aggressive
  • Leaning forward with open arms displays interest and concurrence

Head position:

  • Neutral position is an open attitude
  • Tilted down can be disapproving and judgmental
  • Tilted back is a sign of a superior attitude
  • Tilted to one side signals interest

Facial gestures:

  • Rubbing eyes is deceitful and secretive
  • Rolling eyes denotes a dismissive and superior attitude
  • Peering over glasses suggests scrutiny and a critical manner
  • Hands or fingers blocking mouth can signal deceit
  • Stroking the chin means contemplation and assessment
  • Rubbing the nose suggests a dislike of the subject

Direct eye contact is a sign of real interest. Visitors who avoid eye contact are disinterested, uncomfortable or distracted. Waylaying these visitors will likely only upset them. Watch for visitors who are fidgeting with their hands or objects – restlessness is a sign of boredom and your booth staff will benefit from pausing to see what the visitor is really thinking. Ask some open-ended questions to help engage these prospects. Palm rubbing, on the other hand, is definitely a positive sign of eagerness and anticipation, and it is incumbent upon your staff to maintain the momentum. Perhaps this visitor was the recipient of your pre-show marketing efforts, and is already keenly interested in your company.