Does S.E.X sell is the question I asked myself recently at a major
European meetings industry trade show. I was giving a training session
for exhibitors and I decided to talk about trade show S.E.X.
before you jump off at a tangent about how much of a ’1980s dinosaur’ I
am, allow me to explain the concept of sex when it comes to exhibiting
at trade shows.
As an industry known for its love of acronyms,
S.E.X is one that should definitely be studied by destinations, hotels
and venues before they exhibit.
S – stands for stand up and
smile. Yes, not exactly rocket science but until the time comes when all
visitors to trade shows are wheeled around in wheelchairs, then
exhibitors need to display the first basic principle of empathy. By
standing, you are showing the visitor that you are prepared to make the
ultimate sacrifice for them by offering to stand – who says that
chivalry is dead. Another really good reason for standing is it allows
you an escape route if you don’t want to talk to the current visitor.
You try running away whilst seated.
E – stands for engage. Again,
hardly rocket science but smiling is not engagement, it’s an impulse.
You might want to take the next steps down the route of evolution and
converse. I know this can be tough, no email to send, no twitter feed,
no blog, just good ole fashioned dialogue. And no, “have you heard of
our hotel” is not dialogue and neither is “Can I help you with
something?”. But, you could try something like “Excuse me, when was the
last time you enjoyed hearing about a great new hotel”. I defy people
not to stop if they hear that kind of opening gambit.
X – stands
for exchange. I know it doesn’t start with X, but it’s called poetic
license, OK. Giving the visitor, as they rush passed your stand, your
Happy Hour flyer isn’t an exchange. Neither is giving someone your
business card. But giving them your business card and asking for theirs
might be. As might withholding giving the cheap corporate give away
until the visitor has given you details of who else in their
organisation organises events.
After the training session, one of
the participants confided in me that they thought that, whilst my
session was good, I had been pointing out the bleeding obvious to which I
asked this particular participant (someone wearing a Hosted Buyer
badge) to follow me. From one corner of the show to the other, we walked
unhindered, unimpeded, and unopposed and I rested my cases.
Any comments? Email firstname.lastname@example.org