Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Drunk & Disorderly

I was putting the finishing touches on a training class from Total Displays for one of our clients.  Personally I believe educational materials and classes should be a work in progress always so things are always fresh with new information.  As I was reviewing the content I kept thinking, I don't have to share this.  Everyone knows this.  I was stunned when I presented the class to people that worked in their booth at how much they didn't know.  Things about how to behave, what to wear and things to avoid were brand new ideas for them.

Let's start off with, why do you go to trade shows?  I have heard many answers to this when I ask clients or prospects.  Here are a couple of responses to consider.

  1. Generate leads
  2. Building our brand
  3. Connect with clients
  4. My competition is there so I have to be (yeah, I really heard that one once)
  5. Build relationships with suppliers

One of the concepts that we teach is about alcohol and trade shows.  Drinking, partying etc.  It is not always a popular topic, because of course, sometimes it is fun to cut loose when you are on the road.   You connect with co-workers, customer, vendors and others that you may only see once a year and you want to have a good time!

 Here is my take on it.  Have a couple of social drinks, but don't get sloppy drunk.  Period.  Don't do it.  If you can't limit yourself to a couple of drinks?  Don't drink at all.  Period.

There are so many things to go into a company's brand.  One of the most overlooked is people, staff, employees.  We have all seen it, the booth staff that show up the next morning, still reeking of booze, wearing wrinkled clothing and massively hung over.  How do you think that reflects on your brand?

Another word for brand is image.  Consider your brand and your image.

We were meeting with a prospect a couple of months ago.  That prospect told me a story about his boss, a marketing director.  She was there for set up and was honestly in the way and not helping much at all.  Our contact told her she could leave and that he would finish it up and catch up with her later.  A couple hours later, he went to find her at the bar.  She was so drunk she was falling off her stool and making a complete spectacle of herself.  We have all seen those people right?  They look like complete idiots.  She was in a public place, at a show.  There could be potential customers or prospects there too.

Assuming she continued drinking through the night (if she was able to stand or stay on a stool) how do you think she looked when she opened the booth the next morning?  How professional do you think she was?  Do you think she was building their brand?  Do you think she attracted potential customers?

Not only is this embarrassing, but it is a poor reflection on the company.

Take a look at the statistics from this 3/2015 Huffington post article.  1 in 4 people say they binge drink when travelling for work.  Read the article here.

Some unsolicited words of advice.

  1. Train your staff.  It is well worth the investment to be sure you are putting your best foot forward.  
  2. Have formal and measurable goals for each show. 
  3. Choose your staff carefully.  Be sure the staff you select will represent your company well.  
  4. Monitor staff behavior while at a trade show.   

If you need help with any of this, I am happy to chat.  Total Displays offers many training options to help you get the most out of your trade show investment and staff!

Lori Hanken has been in sales and marketing for over 30 years.  She is passionate about service and providing value to her prospects and clients.  She is currently co-owner of Total Displays with her husband David.  They help people look great at events and trade shows.  If you would like to learn more email her at lori@totaldisplays.com

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