You don’t need the gift of gab to generate leads at trade shows. But you won’t get very far unless you have the confidence to approach strangers, strike up a conversation and engage in some small talk.
Sounds easy enough! But for a lot of millennials—it’s torture.
Our obsession with smartphones and other devices is killing the art of conversation. Technology has made it easier to text more and talk less—and it’s having an impact. A recent study of 2,000 millennials found 65% don’t feel comfortable in face-to-face social interactions. The research by One Poll also showed that two in five millennials believe poor social skills have held them back at work, and 65% say they’ve gone out of their way to avoid talking in person with work colleagues and strangers in public settings.
While there are plenty of jobs that are dominated by digital communication, working the trade show booth isn’t one of them. Reps rely on face-to-face interactions to connect with potential customers and build relationships with current clients.
And think about the opportunities. There are typically four days to get in front of your target audience. Tech-savvy millennials can direct the digital tools to attract visitors to your booth, but there isn’t an app that replaces real-life conversation.
The good news is that millennials want to be coached and a lot of their success at the exhibit hall hinges on their comfort level. Here are some ways to build their confidence and motivate your millennials.
Give some guidance.
This generation is eager to learn, and they want to be coached. Prepare sales scripts and role play different scenarios that could come up at congresses. Practice will make your staffers feel more prepared and more confident in their responses.
Get their buy-in.
Millennials want to make a difference, and many are more concerned about personal values than career advancement. So instead of just pushing your product, sell your purpose. Preach the benefits beyond the pill or stress how your company’s services save lives. Giving them a reason to talk up your company
will likely lead to more engagement in the exhibit hall.
Provide feedback (a lot of feedback).
Most millennials don’t want to wait until a quarterly review to find out what’s working and what’s not. This generation is used to getting a response within seconds of texting or posting on social media, and they expect real-time feedback in the workplace too.
Recognize and reward.
And if they do a good job—tell them. Many millennials expect recognition for their daily accomplishments (the little and the big). Look for ways to pat your employees on the back for improving skills and offer incentives for hitting booth-related benchmarks.
Take the sting out of rejection.
No one likes to be told ‘no,’ but it’s part of the gig. And the objective of exhibiting at trade shows is not just sales. Stress the importance of making connections and fostering relationships that could generate leads. Boost confidence by reminding reps that visitors came to the show for a reason. Many are looking to learn about new innovations and services—and your company can provide that.
And the most convincing reason for your millennials to engage at the exhibit hall—people buy from people, not businesses. And sending a smile emoji at the end of your pitch just won’t play the same as the real thing.
Tamooz has experts who can go on site and train your team to help generate more leads. That’s just one piece of a bigger plan to boost your success. From interactive booth design to comprehensive digital marketing, we can create an entire strategy to increase your trade show ROI. Let’s talk about all the possibilities.