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Personnel

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Thus, it is vital to select only the competent persons, that possess excellent knowledge of the company’s activities (never select newly hired employees), and then train them, so they can really contribute to achieving the goals set for the fairs. One should pay attention to the disposition of the persons selected.  Optimism, natural communication and interpersonal skills, ability to listen to and understand interlocutor’s needs, ability to speak clearly and concisely, commitment to current activities – these are the basic features that the fair personnel should be characterised by.  Those persons should also have excellent market orientation, know the competition and posses information about people that visit the fairs.

It’s also very important, that a top management representative be present at the stand at any time, to meet and discuss with visitors of the managerial level; a person, who can also grant an interview if the need be.

You should remember to properly motivate the fair personnel, as well.  First of all, members of the staff must understand, that they have been granted a privilege.  Participation in the fairs is a question of prestige also for people that co-build the company’s image during the show.   Think about an additional financial gratification for the people working during the show.

Selecting team members and dividing responsibilities
Selection of members for the fair personnel is based on our capabilities and needs. However, the team should definitely include persons, that fulfil the following roles:

Team manager. A co-ordinator of all activities related to the fairs.  A person, who first determines the goals, develops a schedule and then – at the fairs -  leads the activities of the whole team.  This person must have excellent organisation skills, charisma, be able to adequately motivate others for work and intervene upon occurrence of crisis situations.

Team of presenters. Contemporary fairs involve more of presentation and promotion than direct selling, but often it is the company's sales representatives that act as presenters during the fairs.  Not only do they know perfectly the company’s offer but it is them, that after the show will have to keep up the contact with customers met at the fairs, send a detailed offer, etc, in order to make sure, that the participation in fairs results in new contracts for the company. The role of a presenter may just as well be played by a marketing specialist.

Technical expert. An expert that can provide all technical details relating to the marketing offer, e.g.  the chemical composition and the manufacturing technology of a new cosmetic.

Assistants. They assist the presenters by dealing with customers, that are of less importance from the point of view of the company.  They should also be able to handle gadget collectors, obnoxious children trying to break the glass of the display cabinet, etc.

Receptionist. It is the first person that the visitors meet.  That’s why the receptionist must always keep up an engaging smile.  She receives a guest and figures out a member of the stand personnel she should direct the visitor to.  If there's a crowd on the stand, to avoid wasting the guest’s time, the receptionist should ask him/her for a business card, write down on it the purpose of the visit and determine the meeting time with a suitable person.

Hostesses. Persons, who will serve the guests.  They serve drinks and cookies.  Usually, during the fairs hostesses distribute leaflets, as well.  It is their responsibility to keep the stand tidy and clean at all times.

Training

Before the show, all of the fair personnel should undergo a thorough training,  run by employees with the biggest experience in working at the fairs.  The people that know perfectly well the realities of exhibition shows. Each person must know their role and range of responsibilities, as well as the fair scenario.

First, the employees must get to know and understand the goals set down for the fairs.  If they have no idea, what you want to achieve by participating in the fairs, the will not be able to pass it on to the customers and your presence at the fairs may prove fruitless.

Additionally, each member of the team must know the product and its specification in every detail and be able to describe it using proper wording.  You should deliver to the fair personnel all details concerning the offer.  Try to anticipate any questions that visitors may ask about a  product during the fairs, about the company activities and its place on the market, and write down answers to these questions.

Determine, to which visitor groups you address the exhibition first of all, how to win those groups and what do you want to get from them.  Review together the list of guests invited to the fairs, determine their hierarchy, decide which aspects of the offer you want to present to each of them, and who will handle visitors of specific profiles.

The most effective form of the pre-fair training is getting into role by acting out scenes and simulations of the situations that happen during the fairs.  Those exercises, apart from teaching how to talk to customers on a professional level, also demonstrate, how the employees act in various situations.   Another positive aspect of simulations is that they integrate the team and make the work during the fairs much easier.  The training should incorporate exercises on interpersonal relations.

Thus, first of all you have to determine the way how to receive guests and show them around our stand.  It's necessary to underline the importance of proper time management, ability to end a meeting and dismiss the interlocutor at a time convenient for you but – at the same time - in such a way, so they don’t feel offended but leave preserving a friendly attitude towards you.  You must try to eliminate words and phrases with negative connotations from your fair dictionary and to exercise your sales talk.

Try to anticipate any situations you may be subjected to during the fairs and recreate them. Determine, who receives the VIPs and how to handle them; who provides information to the press and what is this person's competence range; what to do with pesterers, that came only to collect as many gadgets as they can, etc.

Provide the employees with the calendar of fairs, i.e. what events, treats and presentations are planned for the exhibition.  Assign responsibilities relating to those events to appropriate employees.

Appearance and behaviour

Considering that direct, interpersonal relations prevail during the fairs, the employees selected to participate in the show should feature excellent manners and disposition.  Members of the personnel must be dressed in tidy and clean clothes, adequate to the company image, you want to promote during the fairs and to the character of the exhibition.

Apart from this, the employees must be conscious of many kinds of behaviour, that cannot take place during the fairs, unless they want to discourage visitors.  An employee lolled on a chair, eating a sandwich and reading a newspaper will most likely never attract any visitors.   No visitor will also approach a person smoking a cigarette, discussing with friends or making a telephone call, reluctant to interrupt these activities.  Also, you cannot seat or stand with your back towards the entry to the stand, and especially leave the stand empty.

An employee should face the corridor and "attract" passing customers with the smile and friendly look.  The personnel should focus their attention on the fair visitors at all times.

Discussion with customers

After initiating a contact, try to determine the customer’s expectations.  First of all try to listen and keep asking questions in order to find out, whether the customer is interested in the offer or any part of it.  This way you can gain the sympathy of your interlocutor, since everyone loves to be listened to and asked about their opinion. Upon recognising, that the company's offer doesn't fit the interlocutor’s expectations, try to end the meeting as quickly as possible and in a professional manner.

During any discussion, pay attention to the way you speak.  The competence level of your utterances must be adequate to the interlocutor’s level.   Never use vulgarisms and colloquialisms.   Never gossip and say bad things about the competition, as well.  Naturally, this does not mean to avoid talking about the companies operating in the same field.  Try to highlight the differences in the offer but only the ones, that can be backed by research, etc.  Do not quarrel with interlocutors or try to enforce the legitimacy of your opinions.

Now you know, what the customer expects.  Present the offer in the right way - the way, in which your interlocutor would like to perceive it.  This does not mean however you should lie to your customers. Just remove from the offer information, which is irrelevant to the customer and put emphasis on the elements, which are the biggest importance for him.  You must be able to translate your knowledge of a product into benefits this product can bring the customer.  Deliver information in a concise and clear way.  If the customer has any doubts, do not try to talk them down in order to divert their attention from an inconvenient subject.   You should hear them out. It is the customer, that will tell you about the expectations of the market and hint you about any improvements to the company's offer.  Do not leave the customer’s questions unanswered, or give just a short “I don’t know”.  If you do not know the answer, promise to send it in as short a time as possible.

At the end, you should point out all the most important conclusions from the meeting, suggest a date for the next contact and part with the guest in a worm atmosphere, which will open the doors to further co-operation.  It’s good to write down a note about the meeting on a business card or in a notebook.  You will win the customer’s heart, if during the next meeting you will show, that you remember his questions and needs.