August 13, 2015 | Laura Baines
‘Eighty percent of the success of your stand is down to your staff’
Image source, Alesandro Prada
After months of hard work, your stand looks superb, your graphics grip your audience and your engagement tools are the envy of your competitors. Your marketing efforts steer your audience towards your stand, but, without a winning exhibition team, how do you sell your products to them, advertise your brand, or take leads from them? The answer is, simply, you can’t! The majority of the return on your investment and time lie with your exhibition stand staff, so pick them wisely
It’s valuable to understand that the success of your exhibition stand staff is not down to the group of individuals, but the way they work together as a team. Here is an in-depth definition of the word ‘team’, to illustrate my point:
‘A group of people with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job, or project. Team members operate with a high degree of interdependence, share authority and responsibility for self-management, are accountable for the collective performance and work toward a common goal and shared rewards.
A team becomes more than just a collection of people when a strong sense of mutual commitment creates synergy, thus generating performance greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members’.
Source, Business Dictionary
Image Source, Laffy4k (Flickr)
As mentioned above, you cannot have a winning exhibition team if they don’t have a common goal to achieve. You need to define your exhibiting objective very early on in the planning process. Are you at the show to capture as many new leads as possible, are you selling your product, services or subscriptions directly off the stand, are you looking to raise brand awareness and distribute information to visitors or are you at the show to take bookings for an event? Whatever the goal, it needs to be measurable. It’s easy to count the number of leads or add up sales revenue, but how will you measure brand awareness for example? Each goal must also be achievable with the resources available to you, and realistic. Try and root your decisions in previous experience, or failing that, try and establish realistic goals through calculations based on expected visitor numbers, stand size and duration of the show. Finally establish a timeline for the achievement of these goals. Are you aiming for 20 leads per hour, or L5000 worth of goods sold each day?
Using SMART goals, you’ll be able to motivate your team and measure exactly how successful they were at the show afterwards.
Both Belbin’s Team Roles theory and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can be used to profile each individual’s core strengths and weaknesses. If someone on the team is highly introverted, preferring to make decisions based on fact, you will need to balance them out with an extrovert willing to work on instinct. Using the age-old sales hypothesis, this profiling could be used to split your stand staff into ‘Hunters’ and ‘Farmers’; those comfortable introducing themselves to strangers and getting cold conversations started, and those who can nurture those conversations into qualified appointments. It could be really motivating to pit these two groups against each other and see who wins, by comparing the number of leads gathered from the Hunters to the amount of conversions created by the Farmers.
To quote John Adair’s leadership theory, once you understand your goals (the task), core strengths and weakness (of each individual) and how everyone works together (the team), you can bring your troops to exhibition victory!
Image Source, Angie Chung
And finally, how do you know if you’ve picked a winning exhibition team? Measure their success. Go back to your SMART goals and see if you’ve achieved them. How many leads did you gain, or sales did you make? What’s the immediate conversion rate or revenue, and what is it after three, six and 12 months? Ask for feedback from colleagues and clients to see what worked well and what the team could do better next time.
So, don’t forget at the end of it all, your show success depends on a winning exhibition team. Reward, support and incentivise them and they’ll keep on giving. Click here for extra hints and tips.