95% of purchasing decisions are driven by unconscious urges, the biggest of which is emotion, according to Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman.
That’s why the best performing exhibitors are the ones that connect emotionally and empathetically with their target audience.
Too many exhibitors fail to reach their goals because they approach the trade show process from their own sales perspective. This births emotionless, unengaging, and irrelevant experiences attendee would rather forget.
So how can businesses use the power of emotion to deliver exceptional attendee experiences?
Understand the attendee’s perspective
Rather than focus entirely on your needs as a business, look at the engagement process from the attendee’s perspective.
Getting a sense of what emotions the attendee is experiencing during the trade show gives you the upper hand. You can effectively design a booth journey that resonates with your target audience, supercharging face-to-face engagement. This is the key to driving sales – 80% of users say live brand experiences and samples help define purchase decisions.
You might want to check out our first blog in this series: Empathy – The Key to Understanding Your Target Audience. If you can develop empathy for your audience – achieved through in-depth research – you will know which buttons to press to connect with attendees on the trade show floor.
Meanwhile, tying in your audience’s needs with your business’ needs (such as raising brand awareness, promoting a new product, or increasing lead generation) helps you deliver exceptional attendee experiences that are results-driven.
To get really clear on what your booth journey will look like, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I want my target audience to know, feel and do at our booth?
- How can I leave a memorable and lasting impression?
Focusing on the last question, the main ingredient for a successful attendee experience is having professional, empathetic and skilled booth staff. Let’s look at how you can build a winning team.
Emotional management starts with the right people
“Talent is the multiplier. The more energy and attention you invest in it, the greater the yield.”
— Marcus Buckingham, NYT Best-Selling Author, Researcher and Founder of the Strengths Revolutionist
It’s true – the right people manning your booth can multiply your trade show results (as we’ve learnt from experience!). But what do we mean by ‘the right people’?
Look for individuals who can manage three key emotions:
1. Being positive and upbeat
They need to be able to exude confidence through mind and body. This makes them more approachable and trustworthy, helping spark fruitful conversations that hold attendees’ attention.
2. Being resilient
With staff on their feet for hours on end, good stamina is a must. Emotional resilience is equally important since rejections always occur in the engagement process. Your team needs to be able to brush them off and move on quickly.
3. Building rapport through empathy
Putting it simply, your staff need to give a damn! The more empathetic and earnest they are, the more attendees will trust them to help solve their problems.
These can be rare skills, so it’s critical to spend quality time looking for the right people well in advance.
The next component you need to consider is adding emotional oomph to your engagement process.
Incorporating emotions into the booth journey
When you look at the key steps in the attendee engagement process, there are emotions at play at each stage. Learning them helps you carry attendees seamlessly through to conversion.
The initial approach
The emotion at play here is comfort. The attendee may not know you or have even heard of your company. To make them feel comfortable, your staff need to have the right body language. For example, they should maintain eye contact, smile, uncross their arms and legs, and not interrupt when the attendee is speaking.
Once you have established comfort and ease, it is time to ask some open questions such as, “What brings you to the trade show today?” or “What problems can we help you solve?” Making conversations attendee-centered helps them feel heard. And by being attentive and personal, you gain their trust and respect.
Presenting or Product Demonstrations
An interactive and immersive presentation, incorporating as many of the five senses, (auditory, touch, smell, taste and visual) makes for a memorable experience. And if it’s personalised to the attendees’ core requirements, you’ll cultivate excitement and trust, putting the attendees in a great state of mind for the follow-up process.
Now you can reveal how you’d like to connect with them after the show. Ensure you include an enticing offer in your follow up process to keep them hooked and committed to continuing the conversation with you.
By hiring the right people and following these steps you should be able to:
- Connect with attendees on a personal level
- Create trust with your presentation or demonstration
- Provide compelling reasons for them to do business with you
- Secure their interest for a successful follow-up
Now go forth and use emotion to get a better ROI from fun, memorable and resonating attendee experiences.