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Monday, November 2, 2015

Your Business Doesn't Matter or Shutting Down a Trade Show Booth Early

Retail sales rep and booth staff at trade shows and events have a lot in common.  But wait, you say, we don't sell anything while we are in our booth.  Really?  You don't sell anything?  Why are you at trade shows if you are not reaching out to customers and/or prospects?

One of the big no no's in the trade show world is to shut down your booth or to pack it up early.  I know, I know.  You have been on your feet for days, you are tired, you are hung over from yesterday (we'll address that in another post) you have a flight to catch.  I have heard it all.  The reality is, your biggest prospect may be coming through late.  You just don't know do you?  Can you afford to take the risk?

Yesterday, I was in a smaller town in MN that has some high-end shopping.  There is a cute little store that I have always loved.  Some beads and charms, cute knit items, jewelry, cards and more.  I have always enjoyed this store.  As we walked in, it appeared that they were getting ready to close. I asked, "Oh are we too late?".  The clerk replied, "Oh no, we don't close for 15 minutes".  

I proceeded to browse through the store.  Each corner where I went to look at products I had to avoid the clerk that was shutting off all the lights and unplugging things.  I am not exaggerating when I say, every time I was looking at something, I had to move out of her way so she could turn things off.  It was Halloween.  I am sure she had a party to go to.  Clearly she had better things to do than to let me and my family look at things and/or purchase something.  Every time I have been in that store over the years, I have purchased something.  Not this time.  I left before the store even officially closed, but clearly she was done serving clients.

In addition to our business, Total Displays, I have a small home based business that I do some exhibiting at small local shows.  So many people pack up and shut down early.  More than once, I have had someone come by the booth at the very end of the show that ended up buying products.

Here is the reality. When you are in your booth or your retail store, you are a sales person.  It doesn't matter if you are paid commission or not.  It doesn't matter if that is what your title says.  You represent the company, you represent the brand.  You need to be professional, always be ready to service a client or a potential client.  If you can't do these things, you should not be in a booth or in the store.  Period.  Honestly, you probably shouldn't have a job with that company.  If your livelihood depended on you making that connection, or making that sale, maybe you would behave differently?

So how does a company avoid having the wrong people in a store or in a booth.  Training!  Train your staff.  Make sure they know what the expectations are for them while they are staffing a booth.  Even if you have trained before, do it again.  Bad habits creep in very quickly.   There are many companies that offer simple booth training classes and workshops.  Total Displays does.

As a company, you spend a lot of money on trade shows.  If you are in retail, you spend a lot of money on a storefront.  What kind of staff do you have working to be sure you get ROI and make money?

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Lori Hanken has been in sales and marketing for over 25 years (yes she is that old).  Lori's background includes training customers on a national basis on CRM, sales, and marketing best practices.  With Total Displays she has developed a number of training courses related to events and CRM usage.  Visit us at www.totaldisplays.com or email her at lori@totaldisplays.com

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