Allocating staff to participate in a corporate exhibit program is fraught
with challenges such as.
Resentment from sales staff, who would rather not leave their territory to
participate in a show where they are not closing deals,
perception that working the booth in exotic location is a perk like a paid
vacation, whereas in a less attractive location it is thought of as a
punishment for a sub-standard performance,
shortage of trained personnel, who can effectively achieve the corporate
misconception that older and more experienced staff will do a better job
than younger staff who have not developed strong customer relationships.
cost of training new staff is prohibitive.
the validity of each of these reasons can be debated, what is crucial is
to step back from your corporate perspective and look at what your
customers want. When you compare your customerís needs to what you are
doing to satisfy them, you might see that you may be missing a great
following chart, which is taken from a recent study by the Centre for
Exhibition Industry Research, highlights the problem.
Preferred Exhibit Staff
Profile by Job Function
Most Preferred by Attendees
Exhibitor Representation (Mean)
Source: CEIR, The Role and Value of Face-to-Face, Exhibition Staff
Practices, Report F04.12
each category, exhibitors are under delivering on attendee
preferences. For example the top three categories that attendees prefer to
meet at a trade show are sales/marketing, scientific/technical and
research/development. Each of these categories was preferred by at
half of the respondents. Yet, the closest that exhibitors came to
satisfying attendees desires is with sales/marketing at a mere 30%.
other two categories could have been completely ignored at 3% each.
agree that one of the primary rationale for face-to-face marketing is the
ability to engage customers in the process of finding solutions,
can also agree that we should be providing these attendees with access to
the people they want to converse with. The solution then
is to re-think
the recruitment and training practices that may have served well in the
past but may leave future performance expectations flat at best.
following are the steps to a new and more dynamic human resources plan for
your exhibit program:
1. Create specific profiles of the people you are hoping to meet
at the events you participate in.
go beyond basic demographics and
should include as much information about the people you are attempting to
meet as possible. Remember that when you participate in a
trade show you
are selling to
corporations but communicating with individuals.
2. Obtain senior management
commitment to the importance of your exhibition program and your need for
digging deeper into for people to
represent your corporation at shows.
support comes top-down it not only provides motivation for staff to get
involved it also makes |
it easier to obtain a commitment for the resources you need to implement
your exhibit program.
Create a program that highlights the opportunity for staff to represent
the corporation. Your staff is often motivated when they see how
benefit the organization as well as themselves. A new
program allows you to tap into often forgotten human resources
a nd convert
them to company ambassadors. When launching this, you need to
articulate each ambassadorís role.
Communicate your rationale for expanding your search for staff. One of the
easiest tools to use is the chart in this article. If your staff
that customers have expressed a desire to talk to them, you have
created a value proposition that canít be easily ignored.
Train staff on interpersonal skills, product knowledge and what it means
to be in the publicís eye. The first step is to
shed off the
stereotypes of who is
the best person to work at an exhibition. Successful booth
staff do not have to be extroverts or ďbornĒ sales
people. Rather the
basic need is their passion for the products and services and corporation they
represent and a desire to share
what they have learned. Once thatís in
place, the specialized skills they need to master can easily be integrated into
Reward those who have successfully represented the company at a trade
show. This goes back to having senior management support.
Perhaps your CEO could sign a certificate to all your Ambassadors thanking
them for their commitment. Maybe you can publish some
of their success
stories. Perhaps you can survey customers and determine how your staff has
affected the relationship with the customer.
There are a multitude of
rewards that go beyond
a monetary gift.
really want to positively impact your exhibit program think about
introducing a program that lets you uncover some real talent in your
organization that might be eager to take on this new challenge.
©2012 by Barry