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You know when you’re at a car dealership and even though you COULD read a spec board (or Google reviews on your phone) but you want to talk to a real person?

It’s not that you want to build rapport with a human in a suit.

You want a salesperson, who you have identified as one of “your people” to tell you the difference between car models.

…Why is one model better than the other?

You don’t want to hear an endless list of sales features…

You want the good, the bad and everything in between that you’re really hunting for.

It’s their personal side notes and experience that we want to hear about.

No matter how hard you try, this is kind of interaction that can’t be replaced with any kind of tech gadgetry.

A handshake, a smile and everything else REAL that comes with interacting with a human is WHY exhibitions will continue to be an important part of the sales mix.

When it comes to exhibitions and trade shows, for some reason they get dumped into a category of their own.

An anomaly. A storefront. A little hit and miss?

But really, they are no different.

It’s the layer of AUTHENTICITY that we weave into our dealings with visitors on the show floor that is the memorable part.

Fact is, it’s the authenticity that cuts through all the jazz hands and fake smiles.

If that car salesperson I talked about earlier, was willing to tell me not to bother with an optional extra because of “blah”, they have won me over.

We all know the difference between a fake smile and one that genuinely comes from the heart.

I think we’re slowly becoming more transactional in our endeavour to fit more into each work day.

For this reason I believe being genuine is actually now a skill.

If you’re like everyone else, you have to consciously make an effort to slow down, be present and give a damn.

To break the mold we need to behave differently.

Here’s What You Can Normally Expect at an Exhibition:

• Sales people on the stand, visitors in the aisle
• Salespeople will try to sell to visitors
• Visitors will have to fend off salespeople
• Visitors will walk up and down identical aisles with different coloured signs and logos vying for their attention
• Sales people will take details and not contact the visitor after the show

To get real cut-through you’re going to have to reintroduce something I call “The Human Factor”

Fact is, you can’t just rely on a wow-wee design.

That’s certainly part of it, but that’s where the buck stops.

Let’s wind it back for a second – It’s up to your staff to connect and create an experience for visitors.

I’ve written previously about ways to go Beyond the Basics of Staff Training for Exhibitions.

You definitely want to qualify them in the process, I’m not suggesting becoming everyone’s BFF… You’ve gotta be a bit selective about who you spend your time with!

7 Ways to Ramp Up Your Authenticity at Exhibitions:

  1. Show interest in building a relationship with your visitor – Don’t think of them as a lead, but a person with kids, family and a life outside of their work title.
  2. Don’t hide behind a counter (Us V’s them mentality)
  3. Explain first hand the difference between your products/services
  4. Less selling, more helping! What problems can you solve for your visitor?
  5. Smile like you mean it, let it show in your eyes.
  6. Never in a million years mutter the words “Hi, can I help you?”
  7. Work with the space you have to keep it relaxed and make sure people feel welcome. This is a priority.

Chris, Maree, Melvyn and myself (Jess) are a huge part of The Exhibit Company brand.

Our clients choose to work with us not only because we are reliable and deliver what we say we will, but because they LIKE us and know we will always do what’s best by them (Hello, human factor).

You can connect to the world by social media, growing a network of names to market to, but NEVER in a million years will you be able to replace a face-to-face conversation.

It’s easy to forget that they abbreviated “reps” stands for “representatives”.

Your people really ARE your brand.

They’re the ones forging relationships, but they’re also the ones with the potential to muck them up.

How will you use exhibitions to showcase the personality of your team and strengthen your relationships?

Yours in Exhibiting,

Jessica Turnbull
Tradeshow Strategist
0417 468 487  |  jess@theexhibitcompany.com.au