Next month I’m heading to Vegas to participate in SHOT Show’s exhibitor training. Their exhibitor training takes place about seven months before the show. This is the lead-time you need if you are giving effective training that will actually help the exhibitors.
Offering training on the show floor a day or a couple hours before the exhibit hall opens is a complete waste of time. What information are you giving them at the last minute they can benefit from? You wouldn’t start training for a marathon the day before or a couple hours prior to the race would you?
If you’re holding etiquette classes you’re not adding value. Etiquette tips belong in an email, not an in-person class. Many show lament that they hold exhibitor training but no one shows up. Of course they don’t show up. There is not meat to your content.
You need to provide exhibitors with the information they need to be successful. Information like how to communicate with your attendees in their pre-show marketing. What kind of content and activities to deliver in their booth. How to prepare their booth staff so they are more effective. How to use social media effectively. How to take advantage of tools the show provides its exhibitors.
You need to help them rise above all the noise.
Why is this training the show’s responsibility? It is the show’s responsibility because, without exhibitors, there is no show floor. Exhibitors are just as much the show organizer’s customers as attendees are. If exhibitors are not successful, they will likely not return year after year.
Training should be offered in multiple formats. In person training is fantastic but not all your exhibitors will be able to take advantage of it. Offer training via webinars, on demand video, podcasts and even Twitter chats.
Do you offer exhibitor training already? Take a look at the content of that training and ask yourself, is this going to help make them successful? If you don’t offer exhibitor training, bring it up at your next planning meeting and ask why you don’t offer training.
If the answer is, we’ve tried it before but no one showed up. Ask how the training was delivered, when was it delivered and what did it cover. It’s possible the reason no one took advantage of it, is because it was not relevant, not valuable, and/or not timely.
Should Show Organizers Provide Training For Their Exhibitors?