Training for Trade Shows - 5 FAQs


Trade shows are so obvious. You go. You hand out brochures. You come back to the office. It's just a glitch in your work week. Well, it's much more than that. Your bottom line can float on when you make - or lose - a sale at a trade show.

Trade show training. So, who needs it? Well, you do - if you want to understand the process and do a better job. Is training just for one person? It's a start but it's best that everyone involved in a show understand the impact a show can have.

Through the years, I've been asked lots of questions about training. These are the one that are asked most often - the FAQs about why training is important.

Q - We've been going to shows for years. We always send the same crew. Why do we need training?

A - Because if you've been going to the same shows, sending the same staff and selling the same products to the same people, you're in a rut. The business world is changing quickly, and you need to adapt. Trade show marketing is unique for each show because there's a change of exhibitors, attendees - and most important - your reason for attending. To "just do it" doesn't work for trade shows.

Q - Why does everybody involved in the show need training?

A - Because old habits are hard to break. And bad habits are tougher. Trade shows are a company-wide marketing event, not a trip for the sales staff. Statistics show that 80% of leads are not followed-up after a show. When you have more people responsible for the success of the show - from the executive office to the loading dock, from the telemarketing staff to the out-of-town reps, your odds are greater for making sales and keeping customers.

Q - We have had sessions on how to sell and follow-up. What's so different about trade shows?

Q - We're just going to a show to walk the aisles. Why do we need training?

A - Are you a good spy? What are you looking for? Do you know trade shows are the best source of market intelligence about your industry, new products, new processes, new suppliers, new partners, new reps, new employees and new competitors? Training can help you be more aware of your surroundings, focus on your targets and be open to new opportunities.

Q - Our display is looking worn since we do lots of road shows a year. But the boss doesn't want to spend money. Can we substitute training for a new display?

A - Sorry, no. A sad-looking display is a reflection on how important you think your company is. Training can make you more effective, but it can't overcome a neglected image.

Conversely, a new and expensive exhibit cannot overcome an inexperienced staff, pushy sales people, a lack of purpose or that infamous I-don't-care attitude. Don't put all your exhibit money into the exhibit. A sharp exhibit is important to get people to your space, but it's people who make the contact - and the contract.

The more you know, the better you will be at a trade show.

Julia O'Connor - Speaker, Author, Consultant - writes about practical aspects of trade shows. As president of Trade Show Training, Inc, now celebrating its 10th year, she works with companies in a variety of industries to improve their bottom line and marketing opportunities at trade shows.

Julia is an expert in the psychology of the trade show environment and uses this expertise in sales training and management seminars.


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