How to be a good trade show coordinator?
Are you about to coordinate a trade show on behalf of your company? Do you know where to start?
In this article we will give you some applicable tips to be a good trade show coordinator and bring success to your booth.
Set the rules
Like most of us, you certainly need to report to someone. Your first move should be to set the rules of the game with that person. There are a few essential points you need to set straight from the start:
- why do you exhibit at this event? How was this event chosen, and what is expected from your participation?
- what are the objectives? Are we talking about brand awareness, customer acquisition, market feedback, etc.
- what is the budget? How much money are you given to make it work? And what was the budget for the past years?
Once you gathered such information, you need to make it very clear with your supervisor: if YOU are in charge, YOU are in charge. You need him to trust you completely with the planning. You will seek his guidance from time to time and regularly update him on the project’s status, but you cannot be micro-managed.
You canNOT be a good trade show coordinator or booth manager if someone is constantly lurking over your shoulder. This step is essential: you must gain his trust and make him understand you will be responsible and efficient.
There is no time to waste. As soon as he gets the greenlight from his supervisor, a good trade show coordinator starts planning.
The coming months will be full of surprises – the earlier you start the better.
Budget right away
Your very first step is to make your budget breakdown. You know how much money you have and you know your objectives. Start looking into how to allocate this money: how much do you need to rent the booth, to decorate it, to promote it? How much do you need for traveling, logistics, samples, printing? If you happen to have the budget of the previous years you may save some precious time and efforts looking into it!
myfairtool free budget manager can help you with this step.
Pick your booth
This is only the second step because it requires to have a clear budget: only once you know how much you can spend on the booth and its arrangement can you pick the right booth location.
Do not delay this step: great locations disappear quickly. If you want the best spot, you must be the first one to claim it!
We have prepared another article explaining how to select the best location for your trade show booth.
Build your checklist
We won’t review in this article the million things you need to plan and prepare to be ready for a trade show. You can find a very complete checklist here: what should I prepare before a trade show, week by week?
What you need is to build your own checklist and regularly review your progress: don’t let things accumulate on your to do list or you will lose control. Having a checklist is the best way to remain in control.
You can’t do it all. That is not your job. A good manager delegates.
You requested that your supervisor offers you his trust and you will need to offer yours to the people you delegate tasks to.
Ask your marketing team to help promoting the booth, your sales team to inform existing clients and prospects, your design team to work on the booth design, etc. Do not tell them how to do their job. Explain them what your objectives and constrains are and let them figure out the best way to achieve it.
If you delegate tasks and trust the people you put in charge, you will remove some heavy burden from your shoulders and free up sufficient time to focus on what matters.
Share the knowledge
You probably won’t be alone in your booth – you will have a team coming with you.
Select the right people: while it is good to have juniors in the stall for them to build knowledge and experience, a trade show is too sensitive to rely on people who lack experience. Have your sales team and your senior staff in the booth with you.
You cannot afford to be opaque – knowledge is power, and you need all members of your team to be empowered. Explain them why you attend the event, share your objectives, give them a brief overview of the amount of work and money your company did put in that particular event. They need to understand how important the event is.
Once they are clear on the objectives and know how critical their impact will be, it is time to educate them and teach them about booth etiquette: what they must do and what they cannot do in the booth.
It may be worth going through an organized training session. You can read more about why and how to train before an exhibition.
Time to be a leader
As trade show coordinator, your job in the booth is very different from other people.
While you certainly need to help greeting visitors, making demos, qualifying and capturing leads when the booth is crowded, you have many more responsibilities.
Your job is to coordinate everything, which means:
- checking the night before the show that the booth is fully built and ready
- arriving every morning before your colleagues, arranging and testing all products, cleaning the place, etc.
- giving a good pep talk each morning to motivate your team and reminds them of what is in the balance
- controlling the booth schedule, making sure every appointment is managed properly, that you never have two people taking a break in the same time, etc.
- making sure there are always enough giveaways, flyers, business cards, sweets, etc. for visitors
- having enough water and snacks for your team (review the 5 golden rules of food management at trade shows)
- giving constant feedback to your colleagues, individually – tell them when they do something wrong, praise them when they do good and regularly update them with their target achievement
You can read more about the responsibilities of a good trade show booth manager.
There is absolutely no reason you couldn’t be an amazing trade show coordinator. In the end, it requires nothing more than great organization skills and trust. Don’t panic, you’ll be just fine!
Please share your own experience with us and read The Trade Show Chronicles before coordination your next trade show!