When visiting the Fancy Foods Trade Show in New York City, I took some time to visit the various trade show booths representing various states. I was sampling the impressive array of food and drinks offered as treats at each booth.
I noticed that the trade show display for a certain southern state had a young woman giving away samples of gourmet seasoned cashews and anticipated enjoying a cup of them. I wasn’t disappointed – the gourmet nuts were so warm and delicious, I circled around in order to get another sample.
Staffer Skimps On Treats
The staffer at this trade show booth recognized me and she obviously didn’t appreciate my extreme fondness for the treat she was handing out. When I got to the head of the line, she carefully counted out six small cashews that amounted to less than a third of my previous serving. Her entire demeanor said that she didn’t appreciate my attempt to get more of their great tasting snack.
Weighing Goodwill Against Cashews
While it may be understandable that the young staffer wanted to make sure she had enough cashews for every visitor to her trade show booth, she failed to weigh the potential goodwill of a visitor against the value of a few cashews. I walked away from the booth disappointed in that state’s brand of southern hospitality. The young woman had not represented them in a positive light.
Perception Is Everything
The staffer giving out the gourmet cashews looked at me as simply an interloper trying to get an extra treat. But what if she had looked at me in a different light? If she had stopped to consider that I was a potential client, she could have created an opening to praise her state and cement a new business relationship.
If she had smiled and welcomed me with enthusiasm, she could have created some goodwill and ensured that I praised her state to others. She might have said, “Welcome back! I guess you just couldn’t resist our yummy gourmet cashews! Here, have an extra serving, and be sure to tell everyone you got them from the our trade show booth, where gourmet treats are just the beginning of our big welcome!”
Lessons Learned For Your Staffers
Reviewing the actions of this trade show display staffer, you’ll realize that there were several moments when she had the opportunity to make a wonderful impression for her state, but chose the wrong action:
- When the staffer inadvertently turned me off and no doubt some other visitors as well. Don’t let your facial expressions damage your brand identity. You may be frowning at someone in particular, but plenty of others will see you and turn away. No one likes to approach someone who looks unhappy or upset. Remember body language is fast and powerful and is 55% of our communication.
- The trade show booth staffer chose to save a handful of nuts and in the process lost my interest. Your trade show booth display may be the only opportunity your company has to make a great impression. Does it really make sense to skimp on the little things instead of focusing on the big picture? Relax a bit and don’t be afraid to be generous.
- The staffer missed a golden opportunity to build a stronger relationship with a visitor to her trade show display. If she’d taken the “Welcome Back” approach, her entire state might have benefited from it. Look at every interaction as an opportunity to strengthen a relationship, maximizing your business’ positive image.
- Staffers represent your brand and remember 90% of what visitors remember about your company at a show will be based on your booth staff.
Your staff can make an elephant-sized impression on your booth visitors. Make sure they understand how their use of giveaways — even gourmet cashews — can have a big impact on how your brand is perceived.
Don’t let your booth staffers pass up the chance to make a great first impression. Find out how to engage your visitors, get tips and more by requesting your free copy of the Booth Staffing Guidebook by clicking here.