So you’ve got an exhibition stand that you need to set up at a venue soon. You’re pretty excited about it, especially as it’s one of the top industry events for the year. You’ve already placed a booking for your stand space, and now you need to start preparing for it.
You’re also hoping that you’ll do better this year than the last. To avoid a negative experience, you need to consider your exhibition stand etiquette. That’s right; it’s a “thing!” So, just how do you make sure that your stand is nothing short of perfect? And how can you make sure your staff don’t send the wrong message to visitors?
It’s a good thing that you’ve stopped by this blog post today. That’s because those questions and more will get answered right here, right now! Here is what you need to know about exhibition stand etiquette:
Don’t have an inappropriate stand design
The first thing you need to do is make sure the design of your exhibition stand doesn’t send the wrong signals out. You might not think it, but designs can sometimes be inappropriate or even offensive!
It doesn’t matter if this is your first time or one of many that you’re exhibiting at a trade show.
What does matter is that your stand is appropriate and sends out the right messages to visitors. I recommend consulting with exhibition stand designers to come up with the perfect stand. They are experts at what they do, and they know what works (and what doesn’t) at a venue.
Be sure to keep your stand looking neat and tidy
Organized chaos isn’t an excuse to leave your stand looking messy and unkempt. You need to remember that your exhibition stand is your retail outlet, albeit a temporary one.
Put yourself in the shoes of your visitors. Would you visit a stand that looks clean, tidy and inviting? Or would you avoid ones that are messy and have rubbish strewn across tables?
It might sound like an odd notion, but the level of tidiness of your stand is a big selling point for visitors. It’s one of those unconscious things that draws people to stands at exhibitions!
Make sure your staff adhere to a dress code
Of course, it isn’t just what a stand looks like that people judge when they visit a venue. They will also make judgements about the people manning the stands as well.
For example, let’s say that you are attending a business-oriented event. You would expect that the people behind the stands are wearing smart business attire. What happens when you come across a stand where the staff are wearing shorts and T-shirts?
Those people will soon be memorable, but for the wrong reasons! If you’re new to a particular event, I recommend attending it as a visitor first. That way, you’ll get a feel for the venue and see what most people are wearing.
What happens if you’ve adopted a smart casual dress code policy in your business? One thing you could do is have a uniform made up for your staff. That way, they’ll be easily identifiable by visitors.
Plus, they can even serve as walking promotions for your company when they’re not at the stand! Otherwise, have your staff members wear acceptable business clothing for the event.
Adopt the right body language
Believe it or not, people can tell a lot about company representatives by what they DON’T say! Body language is a powerful form of communication. It’s crucial that your colleagues adopt the right body language on your stand.
Standing up is an accepted way to greet visitors. Don’t spend your entire day sitting on your butt! Your staff should only sit down when there are no visitors. Or if they’re discussing something with a visitor (whom they should also invite to sit down).
Always make eye contact with the people that are walking up to your stand. Don’t avoid them as that’s just plain rude! Other top tips include:
- Keep hands out of pockets;
- Smile when greeting and talking with visitors;
- Don’t “fidget” or lean against your stand;
- Be aware of surroundings and the people within it;
- Make sure staff are enthusiastic, polite and courteous when talking with visitors; and
- Thank visitors for spending their time at your booth.
Choose the right people for the job
When you’re exhibiting at a venue, you need to make sure you have your best people there. Don’t send anyone that isn’t qualified or skilled enough to talk about what you do.
At industry trade shows, for example, your main visitors will be buyers from other firms. They will want to discuss product and service details, prices and more. It’s also likely that some of them will wish to place orders with you at your stand!
Usually, the people that “man” an exhibition stand are senior managers or directors. You will never see new starters or junior members of staff behind a stand.
Keep staff food and drink out of sight
One thing that puts people off visiting a stand is when employees treat it like their desks at work! It’s not professional or the “done thing” to leave food and drink lying around.
Instead, it makes sense to keep those items out of sight. Some exhibitors have a small cupboard where they store food, drink and personal belongings. Your exhibition stand is your company’s live advertisement. Don’t ruin it because you are feeling lazy!
It makes sense to have staff members take regular breaks in their shifts. That way, they can eat and drink away from your stand and out of sight of visitors.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
My final tip for today is to feel confident at your stand! When people come over, they do so because they want to learn more about what you do or sell.
Feel free to ask open-ended questions to find out more about people’s needs. It’s an excellent opportunity to generate sales leads!