It’s surprising and disappointing when a stand manager at a trade show discloses they didn’t want the assignment.
They tell you things like “I didn’t want to do this’ or “I drew the short straw.’
Why the dread?
Where does this feeling come from and why are essential questions.
Money and opportunity are at stake for any business where this is an issue.
Often, the unwanted responsibility has been dropped on the manager.
A senior figure in the business, maybe their boss, has booked the show but is not present and may not attend at all.
Said boss has probably not briefed the manager thoroughly enough to gain their commitment to the project.
Little advance notice is also a factor in many of these reluctance cases.
Clear objectives and success measures not agreed between both parties mean the potential for wasting marketing funds is high.
Believe me when I say this problem doesn’t just occur on small stands.
Not too long ago, I stood on a stand I estimated cost £300,000. The person managing said and I quote;
“I have no idea why I’m here or what we are supposed to achieve.”
That’s scary if you have budget responsibility for that stand and its presence in that event. How could that situation be allowed to happen?
Alternatively, the reluctant feeling arises because trade shows are far outside the typical day-to-day work of many stand managers. And when you aren’t entirely sure of what you are doing, you worry about screwing things up.
Hence the short-straw feeling.
Something to help the situation
Thinking about this issue prompted me to write a guide for stand managers, reluctant or otherwise.
Now, I know that there aren’t many events where you can be a stand manager at the moment, but that will change (and soon we all hope).
The book is designed as a step-by-step, in-depth guide to arranging a successful trade show stand and it should be available next month if I get my skates on.
I’m keen to make this as useful as possible, and the last part of the book includes a list of handy tips based on the experience of myself and other exhibitors I know.
But, I would also love to include one or more of your exhibiting tips on this list.
For example, I always bring a small toolbox with a variety of items with me to every event; things like tape, screwdrivers, plyers, Allen Keys and a hammer.
I bring this even though I’m not building the stand; it’s handy for fixing small glitches like shelving or panels that don’t fit as neatly as they should.
You probably have many tips and tricks of the trade of your own. If you do, please share them.
You can submit your tip by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Your name and that of your company will be immortalised alongside your suggestion within the guide.
Meantime here are ten reasons to love being a Stand Manager whenever you next get the chance.
1. Run things successfully, and you could get promoted
2. Engineer new sales; then see Point 1
3. Meet current clients; inform and upsell or renew contracts
4. Awaken dormant clients
5. Create a focus for content and digital marketing campaigns
6. Test sales propositions with real people
7. Grow your prospect list
8. Test new markets; your stand team, and your on-stand messaging
9. Find new applications and markets for existing products and services
10. Shorten the sales process line with top prospects and hot leads
11. Have fun!