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A Short Guide To Event and Trade Show Etiquette

Published on 06/05/2016

In our previous blog we outlined the top registration and ticketing tips you need to know for repeated success at your events. Now, assuming you’ve also read our blogs on event engagement, the future of the industry, and how to make event emails more effective, we’d guess that you’re well on your way to some awesome, breathtaking events that deliver a real return on investment.

Not so fast though.

Great events are about more than email marketing campaigns, health and safety compliance and inflatable structures – you still need your employees to go above and beyond to deliver a stand-out service. And it starts with etiquette.

To help you get started with this, we’ve compiled a short guide to event and trade show etiquette.

• Engage Pre-event

While not strictly a booth etiquette tip, successfully engaging your audience before the event is a great way to pique interest and sow the seeds for great conversations with leads when they eventually visit your stand or booth.

In instances where the event is hosted by your brand, we recommend you build interest with these pre-event social media activity tips. However, when you’re attending an event or trade show where you’re just one of many exhibitors, you’ll need to go the extra mile to bring audiences to you and build interest.

To do this, we suggest you start off by reaching out to current leads and customers to let them know you’ll be attending the event – social media and email campaigns are a great way of achieving this.

So let’s now assume your audiences know you’re attending. It’s now time to whet their appetites. If you’re planning to exhibit a new product, provide details as a teaser. Want to generate buzz via email campaigns? Great. Offer a chance for attendees to win a personalised demo or meet the CEO for a chat.

By beginning these conversations with attendees in advance of the event, you’ll already be on your way to building rapport with potential leads, paving the way for meaningful engagements at your stand on the day of the event. After all, each visitor to the stand is a potential customer, so get started with the sales process before your audience even arrive.

• Train Staff Accordingly

So you’ve successfully harnessed the power of social media and email to create a buzz around your event. Fantastic. You can now expect an influx of potential customers and leads to surround your booth with excitement. Lucky you.

But this is only half of the battle.

You need staff manning the stand that can convert these interested visitors into genuine leads. The first step in enabling this to happen is to properly train your staff at the stand.

It’s about more than the gift of the gab; it’s about your staffs’ ability to effectively distil your value proposition into messages that resonate with your audience. This requires an in-depth knowledge of your brand, your products and how they can solve the problems of each visitor to the stand..

To do this, you need to train your staff so that they have this knowledge and can use it as the basis of conversations that are genuine and don’t sound rehearsed. Contrary to common belief, charisma and the ability to build rapport is not an innate trait, but something that can be taught and therefore learned through training.

In summary, we suggest your event etiquette training programme covers the following areas:

• Staying attentive throughout the duration of the event
• Current affairs related to the industry/event
• Company and event compliance practices and procedures
• A complete breakdown of product features and benefits for different market segments
• Your key value proposition
• Expected behaviour and best practices (e.g. no eating at the stand)

Another thing you need to consider is body language. This is a fundamental component of trade show etiquette that should be communicated to all relevant staff.

At all times your employees will be acting as ambassadors for your brand, and this holds especially true for those hosting booths and exhibition stands. As a result, you need to make sure your staff master their unconscious cues and body language. For instance, make sure your employees avoid a ‘closed’, defensive body position (such as crossed arms). Refusal to make eye contact can also be interpreted as a sign of untrustworthiness and under-confidence – not exactly what you want from your brand ambassadors!

Bearing in mind that effectively manning the stand at the event will be exhausting for staff, you should ensure you rotate staff so that performance does not suffer throughout the day. This will ensure a consistent level of attentiveness for every visitor that approaches.

• Build Everything Around Your Value Proposition

As we’ve alluded to throughout this blog post, the value proposition is vital. To convert passing visitors into leads, you need your messages to pull their attention away from everything else that’s going on at the events, and retain it with relevant, engaging conversation.

The key to achieving this is finding each visitors’ pain points and using this as the basis for your conversations.

In a nutshell, customer pain points are what keep customers up at night. They are the problems customers want solved.

While you should already have an in-depth knowledge of what makes your target market tick, you’ll still need to engage in conversation with visitors if you are going to work out exactly how your brand can help them overcome their challenges. The key to this is asking questions and having genuine, non-structured conversations based on a deep knowledge of your brand’s key value proposition.

Remember, deals are very rarely signed at the show. By having memorable, tailored conversations with each visitor, your brand will stick in the minds of visitors, making them particularly receptive to any targeted post-event collateral you may send their way. This in itself can sow seeds for fruitful conversions further down the line. This is what what makes events successful and worthwhile.

Of course, this is just one of many factors that contribute to breathtaking events. At Baconinflate we specialise in inflatable, temporary structures that turn heads for all the right reasons. Put simply; we are the memorable events specialists.

If you would like to create memorable events and draw the right kind of interest to your exhibition stands, a great place to start is with one of our renowned Inflatable Temporary Structures. For further information on Baconinflate products and services you can contact your nearest Global Partner or UK HQ or checkout our product selection here and brand case studies.