Accounting Speaks For The Business Through Its Set Of Language How to Present at Trade Shows, Expos and Events

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How to Present at Trade Shows, Expos and Events

How do you maximize opportunities when attending trade shows, exhibitions and industry events?

Booking your place, setting up your booth, and getting people involved throughout the event is usually a big expense, so you want to take advantage of every opportunity.

I was recently asked to present a session for exhibitors at a careers evening held by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia in Perth, Western Australia. At this event, 33 exhibitors representing four large and medium-sized accounting firms, mining companies, banks and even the Tax Department will compete for the attention of more than 500 final year accounting students from four higher education institutions.

Below are 12 tips and one bonus tip I shared with exhibitors. I have adapted these slightly to suit a wider audience. Bonus Tip 13 will help you create a checklist for people’s appearance and stand.

1. Be clear about the different profiles of people who will be involved

Which of these do you want to attract? And who wouldn’t fit your requirements? Prepare your qualifying questions in advance.

You don’t want your people to get bogged down in long discussions with inappropriate visitors, and the people you want to attract turn away because they can’t talk to you.

On the other hand, avoid treating participants as if they were “one-hitters.” Some visitors who don’t have the right profile for your organization can become great word-of-mouth ambassadors. They run into friends and colleagues at an event and say, “You really should go check out XYZ. They’re out of our league, but what they offer would be perfect for you, and they’re very friendly and helpful.”

2. Think like a participant

At a Career Fair, the attendees are likely to be your recent graduates. Before long, they were walking in the participants’ shoes. To help this process further, you should think about two questions:

1) What did you do when you participated in such events?

2) What else would you like to do and why?

Now discuss what each of you identified from these two questions; and determine from this work what you need to do to get real value from this event to the participants.

3. Your goal in the exhibition

Your goal in the exhibition is to attract attention, remember, trust and prefer. By attention, I mean the good side of the attention. If you’re still busy setting things up as the first attendees walk in, that’s the downside of being noticed!

You’re at a show and you need to be ready and prepared for the first people to walk in.

4. What makes you accessible?

Smiling with an open posture – This puts you at ease and your demeanor and body language sends the right message to the audience.

A legible name badge – this tells them you’re a real person, not a company representative.

See that you are listening to others – when you listen, others notice. Your body language tells the participants, “You are important.” Participants want to talk to someone who makes them feel that way.

Being seen laughing with other attendees – This puts people at ease, which makes it easier for them to approach you.

5. What keeps participants away?

Does it show your attitude? – Sometimes team members team up to help out at career events and other trade shows. If they think, “This is a waste of time. I have more important things to do than be here,” it will come across to the attendees. Your thoughts and beliefs control your body language and tone of voice. People subconsciously accept this.

Guard stance – arms crossed and legs apart, like a bouncer at a nightclub. This is a “thou shalt not pass” position.

As if you are ready to jump – participants do not like to feel that a bird of prey is dragging them.

How you store your brochures or booklets – without even realizing it, can be a barrier that makes you less accessible. Put down your brochures and giveaways. They can create a barrier between you and the participants, especially if you hold them in front of your chest.

Checking Your Phone – You may have a quiet moment at your stand when you’re talking, texting, or scrolling on your phone. But the message it sends is “I’m busy, don’t interrupt me”. Even from a distance, people will see you and run away. To make a call and check your phone, go to the booth or curtained area.

Closed in conversation with other employees – this also creates a ‘don’t get in my way’ vibe.

Appeared locked in a conversation with a person – this gives an “Oh oh” warning. Other participants will avoid you to avoid receiving similar treatment.

6. Opening statements

“How are you?” Avoid starting lines like Can I help you? Need some help? Would you like a brochure?’

They encourage responses like “Ok”, “Fine” and “No thanks, just looking” which get you nowhere and the attendees just leave with your brochure.

Of course, some attendees may have specific questions for you and will strike up a conversation, which is great.

Good opening questions for you might include:

“What have you found useful so far?”

“What are you looking for from today’s participation?”

“What brings you here?”

“What will it help you to know about us/our product?”

7. How participants receive information

There are three main ways people know:

Visual

Hearing

Kinesthetic

Attendees are bombarded with sensory stimuli every second they are at your event. All three factors are involved in their assimilation of information, although different types of participants may be more biased toward one than the others; and studies show that up to 95% of the impressions created can occur at the subconscious level.

You should be aware of this and do everything possible to be seen in the most favorable light.

As an example of visual stimuli, consider a personal presentation. Perhaps you need to have a smart, casual image in matching jerseys or shirts and be well groomed. In my experience, most exhibitors do this quite well… from the ankles up. Below the ankle is often forgotten. However, that’s the message it sends to students at the career fair. What message does the condition of your shoes convey to them about your company’s accuracy, professionalism, and attention to detail?

8. Your purpose in answering the question

When you answer a participant’s question, you have three goals to meet:

1) Give a short and precise answer

2) Expressing your answer in a way that the participant can understand

3) Feeling good about the person asking the question

It is this third goal that most people rarely think about.

However, it is very important that the participant feels comfortable with you. Many participants are worried about asking “dumb” questions and as a result they don’t really open up and share their questions and concerns with you. When you make them feel good, they are more confident and more likely to share real issues that matter to them. For example, you can say: “I’m glad you asked that,” “That’s a good question,” “I wonder, I haven’t been asked that question today.”

9. Identify a point of common interest

The initial conversation is about creating common ground. Ask open-ended questions that can identify the connection, then share ideas that relate to them. For example, at a Career Fair it might be – “I never realized until I started working here that…”

Match your ‘point of common interest’ (CPI) with the individual. This is not a standard point. You may have three or four alternative concepts to choose from. These are things that give them a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to work at an organization like yours.

10. Your “What Next?” strategy

Once you’ve identified the right candidates, define what you want them to do and what you’ll do. Prepare several clearly formulated and agreed action statements to guide them to the next step.

For example, “Based on what you said, I need to get your information and…” or “Have you signed up for our… yet? Here’s what you need to do.”

11. Dealing with multiple participants when one-on-one is not possible

Most of us feel more confident when directing our comments and attention to one person. This is not always possible at an event like a career fair. Here are some pointers:

Don’t just focus on one member of the group

Use inclusive body language

After adopting the first person, direct a comment or question to the others, such as “Good question, is there anything here that would be of interest to others?”

Ask the group a specific question (then address it) and gauge the response of different participants. Direct your follow-up comments to those who are with you. Thus, some may leave and other interested participants may take their place.

12. Walking away from people who corner you

Use active listening techniques to get them to the point. After confirming your understanding, “It would be best not to prioritize your time here, I’m sure you have others to check. Be sure to come back if you have any further questions.”

Have a known rescue code with your colleagues. Even if everyone attends with other attendees, you’ll be asked, “Do we have D3 flyers?” It’s like, “Help, somebody save me quick!” code can be. My colleague might then say, “Sorry we’re off the D3 brochure, but I have a participant here who has a question about your area of ​​expertise. Can you join us for a moment?”

If you need to move on to unsuitable candidates, do so politely without offending them. Instead of “No, you’re not eligible because your grades aren’t good enough,” phrase it like “Provided your grades are…” and instead of clearly stating your criteria along the lines of “You will be considered” you need to…” “Our current criteria for selection …” What this means is that there may be opportunities for this contestant at some point in the future. As we all know, some people are late bloomers, and we don’t want to put them down when they don’t have to.

The above tips are written for a short career evening. Many of the events you exhibit at will be longer than field days at regional fairs to two or three day fairs. This is an important tip for longer events.

13. Bonus Tip: Make a checklist for the look of your people and your booth

Wear smart, comfortable shoes every day. If you have shoes that don’t fit, your feet and back will soon ache and you’ll spend more time sitting. It makes you seem less welcoming and approachable—unless you’re sitting with an attendee.

The stand must be presentable at 35, 65 and 95% of the event as at the start. Your most valuable customer can come in at any time and they will judge you based on what they see.

Check your display and promotional materials regularly and make sure they look ‘picture perfect’.

Dirty coffee cups should be kept out of sight. It’s amazing how much they take away from the professionalism of your booth.

Do not eat at your booth.

These are just a few of the points that should be included in the checklist. Go over it before each event and get feedback from all the team members who will be at the show. Your reputation is at stake, making this an invaluable exercise.

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