7 Trade Show Etiquettes Fails (And How to Avoid Them!)7 Trade Show Etiquettes Fails (And How to Avoid Them!)

It happens. During a busy trade show, energy levels slump or during a quiet period, we grab ourselves some downtime. The problem is, bad trade show etiquette can filter through the entire team and throughout the day. So what are these etiquette fails? How can they be avoided?

#1 Nodding off on the job

We’ve seen – and so have you – the dozing member of staff at the trade show booth. It’s tempting when it’s quiet to grab some downtime, replenishing energy levels for the next busy period.

However, it isn’t sending the right signals to anyone, including your customers.

THE FIX: why are staff falling asleep? For a London trade show, it could be that the event has been so busy and the booth understaffed that staff are completely zapped by mid-day.

Maybe a rota of promotional staff would work better or hire more staff for busy trade shows and exhibitions.

#2 Eating at the booth

Even more common than a sleeping member of staff is a member of booth staff enjoying a Pot Noodle or eating breakfast at the booth. Again, it whiffs of unprofessionalism and not the image you want to give off.

THE FIX: staff are allocated break and meal times outside of the busy periods so that they have a drink, eat, use the bathroom and catch some fresh air (also important for keeping energy levels high).

#3 Chatting for the heck of it

Yes, engagement is important but chatting to fill the time with people who are not prospects or leads is not optimising the opportunities on offer for your brand.

THE FIX: make sure all promo staff are aware of the ‘qualifying filter’ e.g. ascertaining if someone is genuinely looking to buy, their purchasing power and so on. Make sure the team leader is prepared to intervene too.

#4 Not being dressed as per the code

Brands have uniforms for a reason. Contributing to the familiarity with the brand, staff who stick with their own fashion choice are not on the same page.

THE FIX: make sure all staff have branded wear and uniforms in the correct size before the event. Reinforce the expectation it will be worn and done so correctly. Keep spares if you feel it could be a problem.

#5 Breaking venue rules

Some trade show venues in London have stringent rules, usually around health and safety and the like. There are ‘social’ rules too that vary from one venue to another, such as no hot drink in the main hall etc. Breaking these rules can be problematic for the brand.

THE FIX: flag up specific venue rules with all staff and asked that these are adhered to for the duration of the trade show.

#6 Sell, sell, sell!

Almost as bad as sleeping on the job is leaping on people with sales patter as soon as they either dare to walk past your booth or blink in your direction.

THE FIX: emphasise the need for engagement above selling and consider the use of open questions to engage in conversation rather than sales patter.

#7 Not taking notes

Every trade show will give you lessons – the things that worked, what didn’t, bits of the stand that needs repairing, the information you picked up on and so on.

You think you will remember these things but as soon as the doors close and you start your journey home, some smaller bits of information will be instantly forgotten.

THE FIX: discuss not taking at the stat of the conference and provide the booth team with the means to take notes, whether that is a simple paper and pen combo or a tablet.

What other trade show faux pas have you come across?

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