Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Effective Booth Captain

The just-completed NACS show was a great exercise in being prepared and having measurable results at the end of it. My client, Retalix, did all of the things you need to do to make sure that the staff is prepared and knows what's going on before, during and at the conclusion of a show.

One of the critical pieces of preparing a booth staff for a show is the pre-show meetings, including the opening day standup meeting. Doug Fick, the VP of Sales for Retalix' Convenience Store business segment, gave one of the best, most complete captain's speeches I've ever heard.
In his Sunday morning speech, Doug hit on the important things he wanted his staff to know:
  • What to do when a client approaches.
  • Who to refer prospects to in the booth.
  • How to collect and qualify leads.
  • Which key customers would be visiting the booth during the show, when to expect them and to whom to refer them.
Doug spelled all this out to the staff as they stood around him. It was conversational in tone, professional and imparted useful information to the team. What's more, and beyond the staff training part of the show, Doug knows what to do with the leads and how to classify and distribute them at the show's conclusion. On the last day of the show, Doug was able to tell me who the key players were who visited the booth, could target and quantify the potential business from the show and was moving on to changing leads into business after the show. To Retalix' credit, they have a central customer/prospect database and use it to further classify, qualify and track the progress of a sale. I wish more people who use trade shows would use the tools that Doug and people like him use and implement to get the results that they truly want. The result of all this was a lead count and collection of gathered data that met the expectations of the sales team and executives and can be tracked.

Lesson learned: prepare your staff and the results will follow.


*Thanks to Doug Fick, Herman Beckley, Tal Spirer, Darren Vader and the whole Retalix team

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