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booth staff training
San Jose, CA- On September 12, 2019, trade show booth staff trainer Don Colliver led a 3-hour workshop at Dremio’s San Jose Headquarters for 8 members of their marketing team. To prep for their booth presence at Strata Data New York from September 23-26, Don led Dremio trade show veterans and newbies in immediately actionable improv exercises, on-your-feet role-plays and energizing group best practice discussions. Booth staff learned how to deeply engage with prospects and effectively deliver messaging in order to show a measurable impact on Dremio’s trade show ROI.
San Francisco, CA- I’ve been rereading Dale Carnegie’s 1936 classic “How to Win Friends & Influence People,” and I’m loving how it applies to the trade show environment. I first read this persuasion classic back in junior high, and I found the content to be exceedingly manipulative. “Speaking in terms of the other person's interests...” “Finding something to admire about others…” These aphorisms seemed targeted at getting what you wanted by showing false attention.
However, now with about 30 years under my belt, I have a much different perspective on the value of these truisms. The difference? Well, I’m a different person now: with more self confidence, more self esteem, and the ability to actually appreciate and enjoy others without expectation. Interestingly, these traits also make a successful and effective booth staff! Here are a few of Carnegie’s tips that you can put to use in your booth at your next show:
1. “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
Sure, it’s hokey to read a person’s name as they walk by in the aisle, and then greet them with a joyful “Hey Name! Great to see ya!” However, it never fails to get a goofy smile, and offers a potential conversational opener. In what other social situation can we call strangers by their name in public, and not be accused of nefarious activities? However, its critical to take Carnegie’s words to heart: a person’s name is not a joke- it’s the most important sound in the world to them. Don’t be afraid to greet your prospects by name in an honest and joyful manor. Its the easiest expo floor opener out there (if you can read their badge, that is).
2. “Make the other person feel important, and do it sincerely.”
Carnegie suggests finding something (anything) in other people to honestly admire, and then sincerely communicating it to them. On a trade show floor, booth staff has a few seconds at most to connect with attendees as they hustle by to attend their workshops, vendor meetings and keynote addresses. What can be admired in this minuscule slice of life? Well, pretty much just physical appearance. An honest, appropriate comment can go a very long way in snapping an attendee out of their rushed day at the trade show. At your next show, try giving sincere compliments as a way to engage. You may be surprised at the fruitful conversation that follows.
3. “Become genuinely interested in other people.”
Once an attendee is in the booth, booth staff can be tempted to launch into their show-appropriate brand messaging. However, Carnegie offers some profound counter-advice: get the prospect talking. Limit the “I”s and maximize the “You”s in your dialogue. It's about them, after all. Carnegie suggests that good listening makes you seem like a genius conversationalist, and from a trade show perspective, that’s the kind of brand your prospect wants to engage with. After all, a trade show interaction is not about closing the sale, its about establishing a relationship, and there’s no better way to establish a relationship than by listening. To be interesting, be interested. At your next show, get your prospects talking.
As you jump on a plane to your next trade show, do yourself a favor and download “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” The aphorisms are a bit hokey and the examples are a bit dated (Abraham Lincoln, anyone?), but you’ll find ideas that are immediately applicable in your trade show booth. Encouraging these concepts in your booth staff engagement tactics will have a drastic effect on your lead count and ROI. Good luck out there, and I’ll try to greet you by your name when we meet (if I can see your badge)!
Los Angeles, CA- Whether you know it or not, you've been captivated by what's known as the "Hero's Journey" for as long as you've been captivated by stories. Joseph Campbell codified this common template of tales that have engaged humans for as long as we've been around on earth. In its simplest form: a hero leaves home, goes on a journey, faces a decisive crisis, then comes home transformed with the 'elixir.' Think: Star Wars, Forrest Gump, The Lion King, The Matrix... But you can leverage this eternal model of engagement right in your trade show booth, by taking your prospects on your own "Hero's Journey." Here are three tips to help:
1. Create your Prospect's "Journey"
Cognitive Psychologist Jerome Bruner said that humans are 22 times more likely to remember a fact that's been wrapped in a story. Your trade show booth can utilize this fact by wrapping your messaging in a physical journey through incremental stations, qualifying questions and give-aways. I was lucky enough to attend a presentation from the Live Marketing creative agency describing their collaboration with tech company CenturyLink. Their booth utilized the "Hero's Journey" model to acheive award-winning results, taking prospects through a literal tunnel and deeper into CenturyLink's marketing messaging.
Can you break down your prospect's journey into 3 or 4 info-rich stations?
2. Challenge your Prospect
Each station on the journey provides an opportunity to illustrate your prospect's pain points, and gives them an opportunity to engage. By involving your prospect in the story, they relate emotionally, releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine, which has been proven to make associated information easier to remember and with greater accuracy. A professional Trade Show emcee can guarantee that your booth challenges effectively anchor your messaging.
What messaging-related booth challenges can you create for your prospect to overcome?
3. Provide your Prospect the 'Elixir'
Of course, your product or service serves to help your prospect ultimately overcome their pain points. Finally, your prospect-hero can return home to headquarters, enlightened and ready to move deeper into your sales funnel. It's important to remember, your product or service is not the hero. Your prospect is the hero, and you are simply providing them with the tool to overcome their problems.
How can you frame your trade show prospect as 'hero,' not 'lead?'
By engaging the "Hero's Journey" in your trade show booth messaging, you can tap into your prospect's eternal fascination with this ancient model of storytelling. By creating a prospect journey, challenging them along the way, and providing them with your product or service as the solution, you may be surprised to find yourself a hero in your own marketing department.
Las Vegas, NV- Earlier this year I headed out to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to teach at the annual ExhibitorLive Conference for Trade Show and Corporate Event Marketing. Enthused Marketing Managers signed up for my Cirque to Work Booth Staff Engagement Workshop, which gave them exercises they could take back to their offices to train their own booth staff for better engagement and ROI.
While I was there on the expo floor, Highway 85 Creative, a booth design and construction company, was kind enough to interview me for their Creative Spaces podcast. Check out our interview here:
Las Vegas, NV- Clowning around at Exhibitor Live in Vegas! Such fun leading my trade show booth staff training workshop for Marketing Managers and Event Professionals at Exhibitor Live at Mandalay Bay on March 1st, 2018. Train your staff to surpass your marketing goals utilizing innovative clown techniques! Contact us for more information.
Los Angeles, CA- Professional trade show booth presenter and engagement consultant Don Colliver facilitated his "Cirque to Work" training workshop at NBC/Universal in Los Angeles on November 2nd, 2018.
Members from the employee group Unidos participated in group and solo activities, learning about next level engagementand and the value of vulnerability in corporate communication.
Los Angeles, CA- Professional trade show booth presenter and engagement consultant Don Colliver facilitated his "Cirque to Work" training workshop at the Century City Toastmasters Club in Los Angeles on August 30th, 2017.
Members of Century City Toastmasters participated in group and solo activities, learning about next level engagement and and the value of vulnerability for more effective group communication.
Los Angeles, CA- Professional trade show booth presenter and engagement consultant Don Colliver facilitated his "Cirque to Work" training workshop at the Toastmasters Leadership Institute in Los Angeles on July 15th, 2017.
Executive Leadership from throughout Toastmasters' District One participated in group and solo activities, learning about next level engagement and and the value of vulnerability for more effective group communication.