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Be on top of the Show!

Motivate your trade fair team for success

By Karl Heinz Lorenz

How you can make the best of your trade show exhibition by means of thorough team preparation, active communication, team excellence and absolute customer focus

Isn’t this a typical experience: You are visiting a trade show - maybe even on personal invitation -, you are looking forward to all the news and events, you access the booth of one of your suppliers and what happens: nothing. No warm welcome, no one approaches you, no one asks you who you are and why you are here, not any one who takes care of you or feels responsible. In times where everybody preaches customer focus, one should think that this is impossible. However, many trade show visitors are confronted with similar situations time and again.

Frequently, exhibitors try to lure visitors in with their spectacular booth structures, innovative and sometimes even interactive presentations, attractive shows and eventful parties. Lots of money and resources are spent in order to seduce prospects to visit a booth. However: Once the visitor is there: Is the team ready to ultimately write an order or at least make a qualified lead?

Several studies and empirical research over the last few years have shown clearly that, when making contact with the visitor, a good opening and successful communication are the winning factors. Your overall appearance is perfect. Marketing measures in the run up have produced great response. Your booth looks nice. What you are missing are completely trained and knowledgeable sales people in other words: A winning team.

An excellent start helps to win the race

The first step becomes the most important one: Define clear, concise and easy-to-understand goals for the exhibition. They could run „Let us win new customers!“ „Let us conquer new markets!“ „Let us present ourselves as to most customer-oriented company!“ or „Let us launch our new top product X and make it an absolute winner!“ You must have a solid plan if you want solid results.

If you have a vision you can make it

Look ahead and imagine what you will have accomplished and achieved after the show is over and how you will be credited for your success. This kind of vision will guide you when choosing the necessary steps to get there. Ask the following questions: What is it that will make potential customers want to get in touch with us? What makes a visitor turn into our customer? Which are the most powerful selling propositions to convince visitors of our excellence? Which is the product or profile that makes us stand out against the competition? Which unique customer benefit do we have to offer?


Trade fairs offer unique opportunities

·         Reach the greatest number of customers or potential customers all at the same time

·         A special occasion to foster your image

·         A showcase for product presentations and excellence

·         Cultivation and intensification of business rela-tions

·         A reward for the participants - only the best ones will be in the team

·         The best opportunity to find out more about yourself and about others

Show time is communication time

The team training in the run-up to a show should focus on the interpersonal skills of the participants. Corresponding to their roles, booth management, sales people, consultants, show team members or promoters should be trained according to their individual needs. Skills in active communication are a must for all those making contact with visitors. In this context, a special focus is open and positive body language. An open, inviting stance is the best way to demonstrate customer focus: „A warm welcome to you, dear (potential) customer. We are listening to you and can serve all your needs, we have the solution you are looking for.“ Keep in mind that conversations on trade shows take place under totally different circumstances from those at an office or shop. Remember there is time pressure (make as many contacts as possible), stress, noise, crammed conditions and heavy constraints on privacy. Special training is necessary to practice the conversation techniques and communication strategies to suit extraordinary situations.

Fundamental rules

·         You cannot not communicate. What this means is that the mere physical presence in a booth causes an effect. People will jump to conclusions on your company’s attitude towards visitors and customers from simply observing how the sales staff in the booth is dressed and how they behave in general. Looking slightly washed out after last night’s party will not make the best of impressions on a potential buyer.

·         My own (positive) attitude towards the company, the show, the goals, my team and the visitors is reflected in my behavior (including my body language). A smile can work miracles - for me and for the visitors.

·         What counts in a conversation is not what I say but the message that arrives. Especially when there is stress and time pressure, I have to listen closely and make myself clear. If I get the impression that there has been a misunderstanding, I ask a question, because:

·         Ask questions and you are in control. It is not up to you to do the talking. Give your customers the chance to express their needs and objectives. Strategic questions help you to obtain a clear picture of their expectations.

·         If you respect humans, they will do the more. Respect and politeness is due to customers as well as to the people you work with. Do not for-get to say „Thank you!“ to your colleagues and staff when they have done a good job - even during the busiest hours of the day. If you can see that your customer is stressed out, you should not try to bombard him with aggressive sales patter. Go easy on him. Wait until a conductive atmosphere has developed on the emotional level. This will pave the way for a solid talk (presentation of the latest products or ser-vices, sales) and high-quality communication.

A committed team that gives 100%

During group and individual briefing sessions the team members should be presented with shared goals and individual tasks and embrace them fully. Excellent teamwork is as important as individual performance.

Running a trade show briefing is the most professional way to shape a knowledgeable, empowered and motivated team immediately before the show, because it guarantees a homogenous team performance right from the beginning


About the author:
Karl Heinz Lorenz
(47), graduated in Business Administration from
Mannheim Berufsakademie in 1988, is management trainer, coach and owner of LORENZ-SEMINARE Personality-&Competence-Training, Weidenthal.

For further information contact:
Phone    0049(0)6329.989243
Fax       0049(0)6329.989430

Hauptstraße 84, D-67475 Weidenthal
Tel. 06329 989243  Fax 06329 989430


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Status: 01. Juli 2015