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For more information about how Dreams Agency can help you find the right promotional staff for your exhibition, please speak to a member of their team on 0844 740 7056 or visit their web site at www.dreamsagency.co.uk.

The right promotional staff for your exhibition stand can make or break your show

Promotional staff are crucial when it comes to attending a trade show or event. They will play a key role in promoting your products, services and brand to visitors with the aim of securing new business. Consequently you must invest time in selecting the best staff to represent your organisation. A wrong decision or team that doesn't work well together can have disastrous results. Furthermore, poorly prepared staff who know very little about your business and the products or services that you sell won't leave a lasting impression on visitors and certainly won't convert visitors into paying customers. In addition, visitors who receive a poor service at a trade show or exhibition will find it very difficult to trust your company and are even less likely to make a purchase. With such an important role to fill, staff should be well trained, familiar with your brand and committed to delivering outstanding customer service.

The promotional staff that you appoint whether they are members of your team or they from an external agency have the power to make or break your show. The selected team should have the experience, poise and professionalism to make an impact and ensure that your attendance is a success. When attending a trade show, exhibition or event, your staff are representing you and your company. They are the first people that visitors (and potential customers) will meet during the event so you need great staff who have the confidence and expertise to leave a lasting impression but for the right reasons. Staff should be knowledgeable, friendly and welcoming and know your business inside out. As a business owner it is crucial that you choose your team carefully for an exhibition. Will your team include employees of your business, specialist promotional staff from an agency or a combination of the two? These are important considerations to make before you even start any planning or preparation for the event. You need to have clearly defined aims to ensure you recruit a strong team. Once you have identified your team, you may need to lead a period of training. If you are delivering one or several training sessions either to prepare an existing employee or an outsourced agency, approach it in a structured way so the trainees actually benefit from the session(s).

Training should cover the products and services that you sell, their features and benefits and the way in which your company operates so your promotional team have a strong foundation to start from. If they are asked a question they should be able to answer it as fully as possible. Not only should the training cover the main products or services that you sell, it should also incorporate a session on your business so the staff understand your company vision, mission and values. Unique selling points should also be covered so they can be dropped into the conversation with visitors which will differentiate your business from competitors.

Rather than throwing an employee in at the deep end asking them to manage a stand from day one, ask them to shadow an experienced staff member where they can learn and build confidence so when they are required to manage the stand themselves they can do so with confidence and success.

Striking the right balance at a trade show or exhibition when it comes to staffing can be difficult. You don't want to deploy too many promotional staff so they are stood around all day not doing very much but on the other hand you don't want to under staff the stand. Too few staff can result in missed opportunities if visitors are leaving before they have had chance to speak with a member of staff. This is often down to trial, error and good planning.

Staff presentation is very important. After all, the staff at the exhibition will be representing your business. If you have uniforms or branded clothing make sure that staff know this is to be worn. If you don't have a uniform smart casual is recommended. Shirts should be clean and pressed and shoes should be clean and polished. First impressions do count and a poorly presented member of staff will not make a very good impression.

Visitors should be able to distinguish who your staff are so take this into consideration when planning. Perhaps issue matching ties, jackets or scarves, anything to distinguish your staff.

Etiquette

Good etiquette is a fundamental aspect of presenting your business at a trade show or exhibition. Promotional staff should demonstrate excellent workplace etiquette ensuring visitors are the priority. They should focus the conversation on the benefits of the product or service and what problem it can solve rather than simply listing a set of features. For a larger stand, staff should well distributed at various points rather than standing together in a group. For visitors staff huddled in a group can appear intimidating or make them feel uncomfortable. Customers should be made to feel at ease when they are browsing. Be attentive but don't be overly enthusiastic and bombard them with information as soon as they approach. Some promotional staff may use a script to welcome visitors but this is best avoided as it can seem false and insincere. Staff should be sincere and welcoming and if your visitors are in a conversation staff should not interrupt or join in as this looks unprofessional.

Eating on a stand is also not advised. Take your lunch or coffee break away from the stand, ensuring that busy periods are covered and the stand is not short staffed.

Although there may be occasions where a member of staff needs to check emails or catch up on phone calls, the exhibition stand is not the place to do this. Visitors will be put off by an uninterested or distracted member of staff tapping away on their mobile phone as they approach.

If the day hasn't been as busy as you perhaps thought don't be tempted to pack up early. Some seasoned exhibitors will tell you that some of the best contracts have been secured at the end of an exhibition when a customer has arrived late in the day.

When preparing to attend an exhibition, the preparation must be managed with meticulous attention to detail. Not only do you have to prepare the actual stand and associated material but you have to work effectively with your staff to ensure that it is a success. Issues such as lead taking, identification of prospects and closing a sale are important steps that should be planned carefully.

Identifying Objectives

In the early stages of exhibition planning you will either have a strategy already in place with a list of shows in the coming months, you may have a few ideas and provisional trade shows booked in or you might be starting with a blank sheet of paper. Understanding the exhibition(s) is the best way to recruit and deploy staff properly. Research the exhibitions carefully to find out about the people who will attend including specific demographics so you can tailor your stand more effectively. Decide whether the exhibition is formal or informal and whether you wish your promotional staff to be entertainment or sales focused. Your business, the products or services you are marketing and the type of event will all determine the number of staff you need and what each member of your team will be expected to undertake during the event.

Recruit early

Waiting until the last moment before you recruit your team will not only result in an unorganised display, you will not have the time to prepare sufficiently and your team will not be ready for the exhibition. If you are using an agency event staff should be booked as early as possible, leaving a minimum time of three months. A month before the event staff should be properly briefed and trained if required.

Insurance

All reputable agencies will have sufficient insurance so if something happens at the event, you are not held personally liable. Although you are still accountable for public liability insurance for the event, insurance for staff will be covered by the agency.

Meeting with Staff

If you can, try and arrange a meeting with agency promotional staff. You want to know who will be representing your business. Each member of the promotional team should show the utmost professionalism and they should be honest and open to discuss any ideas or concerns you may have and answer any questions.

Experience

Staff presenting at exhibitions should have some experience and possess the right technical knowledge about products or services and your industry. If your existing staff are attending the event make sure that they have expertise with promoting the products or services that you will be marketing and they have the required skills that you need to ensure the event is a success.

Promoting your brand and connecting with potential customers is important so too is creating a strong marketing initiative that generates interest and promotes your organisational message.

As a business owner you need to be a little creative to capture the attention of the audience and encourage visitors to establish a connection with your brand. There are a variety of techniques that you can use to achieve this including contests, promotions, interactivity in your exhibition stand, digital media and games to name a few. However for this to be successful your staff must be confident in delivering them. There's little point in investing huge amounts of resources and time into developing interactivity, games and promotions if your staff are not delivering them correctly. A strong exhibition team is at the core of any successful event. Promotional staff are vital because they will engage with customers, share their personal experiences working your business, provide valuable information and ensure that customers have a positive experience at the event.

Agency staff are often extensively experienced in the deployment of promotional strategies to strengthen the relationship between your business and the product or service, using subtle sales strategies and encouragement to encourage visitors make a purchase. The right staff can bring significant benefits to your exhibition.

Improving customer experience

There is a strong relationship between the customer experience and how well they connect with your company or your brand. Creating a positive experience at an exhibition will instigate initial communications. Companies who use promotional staff or well trained sales teams will be skilled in welcoming customers and generating higher levels of customer satisfaction.

Boosts Sales

Businesses who have a strong team or who appoint promotional staff not only improve the distribution of promotional materials, but they establish initial customer contact and increase engagement which often results in more sales. Staff at events who can demonstrate how a product operates or staff who can talk about the key benefits of a product or service can also boost sales simply by providing the customer with the knowledge they need to make an informed decision to purchase.

Cost Effective

When sending your own staff to events or exhibitions you will have to cover the cost of accommodating them as well as transporting them to the venue in addition to their wages. Promotional staff can be used instead of your existing staff which can save money too.

Finding suitable promotional staff takes time and research. If you decide to outsource this task it is very important that you find the right agency by asking the right questions and speaking with the staff who will attend. It may take a little time and training to educate the staff on your products, services and your brand but the benefits of doing so cannot be underestimated. The skills of promotional staff will prove extremely valuable as they know the strategies to use to secure a sale and engage with customers who are visiting.

Promotional Material

When it comes to planning the event make sure your promotional material is polished and professional. Promotional staff can only do so much. Material should effectively outline the features and benefits of your business and be free of any errors, inaccuracies or mistakes.

Events and exhibitions can be a daunting prospect for any business owner. With the right preparation and a strong team of promotional staff who know your business and your products inside out, there is no reason why any event can't be a huge success.