So many companies automatically start with their sales department when selecting the employees who will staff their booth. On the surface, this makes sense. However, are you sending the people your customers and potential customers really want to see?
Last week I got to attend a client’s anniversary celebration. They brought in their distributor reps for a day of product presentations and plant tours. Now for them, their distributor reps are both their sales people and, technically, their customers.
My customer did two things that really impressed me. Well, they actually did a lot of things that impressed me but two that are most relevant to this article. The first was the tour guides they selected for our plant tours were a whole assortment of plant employees.
My customer included facility managers, plant supervisors, employees from the front office, product engineers and many other people their distributor reps do not normally interact with. It gave their distributor reps the opportunity to meet so many different employees in so many different roles working for the manufacturer.
There was an excitement amongst the attendees when they got to see the products they sell being made. But more importantly they got to meet the individuals who make them. They got to see the testing process and meet the people who did that testing.
Several reps mentioned to me that the tour had personalized the products for them. They were no longer just widgets. The widgets now represented people dedicated to making those widgets the best widgets they could be. How’s that for personalizing your brand?
The other highlight of the tour was two stops. One was in the company conference room where my customer’s field service reps were gathered for a meet and greet. The distributors had already met many of these field service reps in person on a job site.
The feeling in that room was one of a homecoming. The distributors went around the room shaking hands and in some cases giving big bear hugs. I kept hearing over and over again, distributors thanking the reps for the fantastic job they were doing. Our tour guides had a hard time getting the distributors to leave and continue with the tour.
From there, we took a walk through the customer service department. Here is where things got a bit sentimental. The distributors were meeting for the very first time the people they talk to on the phone on an almost daily basis. If I had thought the scene in the conference room was moving, this was even more so.
One of the distributors was quite intent on finding a particular customer service rep. When he located her, he very gallantly took her hand and kissed it. He thanked her for all the wonderful work she did and just simply gushed over her for a while. She was beaming, and it was clear that even though she clearly took much pride in her work before that, she would enjoy her job even more now.
Every one of the reps on my tour was equally enthusiastic about meeting their customer service reps. I talked to other tour groups, and they had the same experience. Over the course of two days close to 500 reps from around the world all had the same reactions to meeting those employees.
I’m going to encourage my client to start including customer and field service reps as well as plant employees as booth staffers. I can assure you that if their exhibit promotions included the fact their customers could meet their customer service reps in the booth at the show; their booth would be crushed with traffic.
So think about who your company rock stars are in the eyes of your customers. Are they software developers? Are they product engineers? Are they customer service reps. Hell, they could even be someone in billing they’ve come to know over the phone and via e-mail.
Then at your next trade show make sure you include them as part of your booth staff and instead of promoting an iPad giveaway, promote the fact they will be appearing in your booth and watch the magic happen.
If this is something that you think would work for your company but your not sure how you can convince your boss, give me a call or shoot me an email. You can find my information on the contact page.
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