Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How to manage your trade show team the smart(er) way

By guest author James Burbank

Despite the naysayers who are saying that trade shows and exhibiting at trade fairs belong in history books and that they are too time- and cost-consuming without giving results, the reality is that trade shows are still going strong and that they are still a great way to gain new customers, make new partners and find suppliers.

One very important part of every successful trade show exhibit is the team that you have to assemble and train before the trade show starts and which you need to manage in a smart way so that you reap all the potential benefits of exhibiting at said show.

Assembling and training your team

When assembling the team, it is important to include many different people who will share some characteristics but who will also have their unique strengths.

For example, it is crucial to have a diplomat in your team, someone who will know how to defuse potentially stressful and tumultuous exchanges between team members or perhaps even with the visitors. It is also a good idea to have a tech-savvy member who will know what to do with your new iPad stands that you got for the booth. A leader is also a crucial part of every trade show team.

When it comes to training your team, it is absolutely essential that they know and understand their responsibilities and their tasks. However, you need to be patient and you need to understand that talking to hundreds or thousands of visitors is a scary prospect for many people. In the end, make sure that your team feels comfortable asking questions as you do not want them to go in without not being sure about something important.

Managing your team the smart way

Once the trade show begins, so will your job as a trade show team manager. The idea here is to be tough but fair, to put things as simply they can be put. Of course, for the duration of the trade show in question, you will be put in many situations that you will need to know how to defuse.

Trade shows are very specific occasions and you need to understand that people who may already work for your company and who are very good workers can get distracted and become less efficient than usually. For instance, a member of your team may start slacking, being late and so on. The idea is to let them know that this will not be tolerated, but there is really no need to go berserk on them.

Another “problem” with trade shows is that you may not be able to be present at all times due to other responsibilities or things you need to do. It is important that your team knows they are expected to perform even when you are not there. Of course, it is always good when you can be around, both to keep them in line, but also to contribute to your trade show presence yourself.

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