Boothmanship Customer Service 101

By Nancy Friedman, Telephone Doctor; Keynote speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training

Anyone who has ever worked a booth at a trade show knows it’s just that – “WORK.” Lots of work. And sometimes, no lunch. Often long hours and the long hours are sometimes not very busy. And believe it or not, not being very busy can make you more tired than when you are busy.

Bottom-line, put all those items together and sometimes we forget our customer service manners while working a booth. 

Booth customer service is an overlooked art. Here are Telephone Doctor’s top five tips on GREAT booth customer service:

  1. EYE CONTACT– This is a face-to-face situation. Eye contact is a must. Looking around the floor show, trying to see who else is around, isn’t good customer service to the person you’re interacting with. Lock eyes with your prospect and give them your complete and undivided attention. Don’t let your head turn on a spindle. FOCUS!
  2. EXTEND YOUR HAND – Way too many booth folks don’t do this. Think of it as an in-person store or office visit. Shake hands.Offer yours first. (HUG if you know them. And don’t forget, they have a badge, so use their name! Give your card immediately. That way you can ask for theirs.
  3. DON’T SIT DOWN AT YOUR BOOTH– EVER! (Unless the client is with you.) This one is difficult, but important. Having a table and chair might work for you and a client. But NO ONE working should sit down just to sit. If you feel you must sit down, leave the booth. Go somewhere else to sit. Sitting down at the booth gives off bad vibes. Attendees tend to pass those sitting down as uninterested booth salespeople. And check your cell phone at non-booth times. Or go check it OUT OF THE BOOTH.
  4. BE CONSIDERATE– People visiting your booth get a ton of stuff they don’t want. Often they take it to not hurt your feelings. (Trust me, at the first opportunity, it’s usually pitched.) If you have something you’d like to give them, suggest to the client or the prospect they have so much already to carry around, may you mail it to them? Then get their conference card to swipe, or business card and make a note: “client requests information be sent.” And, OF COURSE, when you send the information include a note thanking them as a reminder they stopped by the booth and wanted this information. Run out of cards? It happens. Take a picture of the client, with their BADGE in full view. You’ll have a great memory AND their name. You can ask them for an email or phone number to add to your cell phone notes.

      When you get back to the office, you’ll have what is known as “warm” leads. You can call that client, or prospect, and remind them that you met at the show, they stopped at the booth, and you promised to send something, is this a good time to receive it? This particular customer service tip is most appreciated. It says you understand they have a lot to carry home and you appreciate their time. (Exception might be out of the USA.)

  1. SMILE– It hurts me to write this one, but when I walk through a trade show I watch the booths and the vendors. It’s sad to see how many folks aren’t smiling. So last, but not least, remember our Telephone Doctor CARDINAL RULE…A PHONY SMILE IS BETTER THAN A REAL FROWN. If I took pictures of folks manning the booths and showed them how sad/bad they looked, they wouldn’t be too happy. Why wait till a customer comes to the booth to smile? SMILE BEFORE YOU KNOW WHO IT IS.

BONUS TIP: When setting up your booth, try NOT to put up a barrier. A barrier would be a TABLE that PREVENTS attendees from entering into your booth. Like your home, you should be able to ‘entertain’ those folks in your booth. Get them out of the aisle and into your booth as fast as best you can. It’s as though they are “IN YOUR HOME” where you can have a more in depth, serious conversation.

BONUS – BONUS TIP – NO GUM CHEWING by your staff or you in your booth. None, nada, zip. NONE!

There are hundreds of other booth customer service tips, but getting these tips down are instrumental in making your booth more productive, more successful and giving BETTER booth customer service to all your prospects.

Good luck and have fun! After all, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

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Nancy Friedman, customer service keynote speaker, is president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training and a featured speaker at franchise, association, and corporate meetings around the world. A popular TV guest, she appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America and CBS This Morning, as well as hundreds of other radio, television and print outlets around the world, including the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. The author of 9 books on her chosen topics, Nancy helps corporate America improve their communications with their customers & co-workers. You can see her 9 books here. For more information, log on to Nancy Friedman's website www.nancyfriedman.com or call (314) 291-1012. Oh yeah you can email her at nancyf@telephonedoctor.com. Nancy is a recent recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame Award - St. Louis Small Business Monthly