As important as your pre-show promotion is...as consequential as your pre-show planning...as critical as your booth design and integrated marketing approach...these vital elements can be forgotten and useless if your booth personnel make some all-too-common mistakes. Those mistakes can cost your company business, hurt its reputation, and result in the money and time you spent on your exhibit being wasted.
Your show management professional wants your exposition to be successful. Listed below are some tips on exhibitor etiquette for you to share with your booth personnel. By putting these tips into practice, you can help make the show a success, both for your company and for other exhibitors.
Stay out of other companies booths. Not only is your presence in your companys booth absolutely vital to serving your customers and potential customers, but you help set an example for others. Wandering into other booths disrupts exhibitors who are with clients. If you do this, you can expect others to do the same to you.
Stay out of your competitors booths. Even worse than wandering into friendly territory is going into competitors booths to take information or to crowd out legitimate clients. This is unprofessional and reflects badly on your company and on you personally.
Do not solicit in the aisles (known as suitcasing). Expositions are designed to encourage a free flow of traffic through the aisles. And, they are designed to enable exhibitors to do business in their booths. Show management usually has rules against solicitation in the aisles, with good reason. Companies that choose not to pay for exhibit booths sometimes attempt to solicit in the aisles. They are taking advantage of the money your company spends to make the exposition happen! They are, in effect, letting legitimate exhibitors pick up their show costs. Be sure to inform show management if you see this happening. Your company deserves to get what it pays for.
Do not disrupt other exhibitors or visitors. Disruptions such as loud music or announcements, shining lights at other booths, using laser pointers across aisles and the like are annoying to others. Visitors to exhibits are there for business purposes, just like you. But if you engage in disruptive behaviors, visitors will perceive you and your company not as professionals in business, but as people to avoid. So you lose business and the respect of your peers and your customers.
It is just good business to use good etiquette when staffing your companys exhibit booth. You and your company can be highly successful, but you have to be careful not to break the rules of good exhibitor etiquette!
Copyright IAEM Services, Inc., 2000
Reprinted with expressed consent of IAEM Services, Inc.