Expert Advice

5 Tips for Customer Service on the Trade Show Floor

Kaitlyn Agnew | February 16, 2016 | 6:36 AM

If you build it, they will come – Or will they? No matter how much time you spend designing the perfect booth (or salon, store, etc.), your efforts count for nothing if you don’t have an efficient, well-trained staff to go with it. At the very least, you must practice the basics: Be polite and treat customers with respect. But fair warning, these are not enough to stand out in a sea of competition. Your customers want more than that – They want experiences they can't get anywhere else and an interaction that’s still on their minds long after they leave the show floor.

Delivering on these demands requires some work but let’s start with 5 easy ways to get on the right track:

  • Acknowledge their presence: Take an interest in each visitor, even if you’re deep in conversation with another customer. Take five seconds to make eye contact, shake hands and let them know you’ll be right with them. Make everyone feel equally important.
  • Build a connection: Just because you don’t make a sale doesn’t mean you can’t sell them on you. Differentiate yourself from the competition by listening carefully to what your customers are looking for. Remember the Cole’s Santa Clause in Miracle on 34th Street? You too can offer suggestions, even if it doesn’t pertain to your product directly. This shows you’re genuinely interested in their needs and not solely focused on meeting a projected goal.
  • Recognize their needs: This is a great tip from the powers behind the wonderful world of Disney – You can be “off task” as long as you are “on purpose.” If you and your booth staff can anticipate the needs of your potential customers ahead of time, their expectations will be exceeded. Ask yourself, “why are they here? What are their reasons for seeking out my booth? What matters most to them based on their job titles?” By addressing these questions, you will have a more solid purpose going into the event.
  • Set yourself apart: You must do your best to make an ordinary experience, extraordinary. Remember, your display is part of your customer service, so consider exploring interactive components, digital integration and social sharing, all of which generate better brand favorability. Read and repeat: You are better than another standard 10x10.
  • Your bread and butter: At the heart of it, people come to trade shows to see what’s new and to get their hands on products, so be prepared (though, not scripted) to talk about your brand in-depth. What are the benefits of your main products? What are your best-sellers? How do you compare to others in the industry? And last but not least, what is the next step in making a purchase? Not everyone will be ready to buy immediately so make sure your online/retail setup is easy to remember, access and navigate.

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