Catastrophes come from out of nowhere. Massive thunderstorms can roll through a region without a momentís notice, knocking out power and phone lines. An iffy meal at a local restaurant, and you have a staff member flat on their back with food poisoning. Open up your sales materials only to discover that you have all wrong literature Ė and that itís printed in a language you canít read! What do you do?
The key is preparation. Most problems can be addressed using your creativity and common sense Ė but implementing those solutions can be tricky. Begin by laying a strong foundation for your team with advance preparation.
Advance preparation will make difference between success and failure. By starting well before your trade show, youíll be assured of smooth sailing, no matter what happens. There are three areas to concentrate on: People, Places, and Things.
People: You are only as good as your booth staff. The best display, graphics, and give-always wonít save your show if your staff isnít up to snuff. Provide comprehensive training before show. Cross train your staff so that one member can cover for another. This doesnít mean your sales people need to be technical gurus or that your mechanical whiz-kids need to become top-notch sellers Ė but each should know enough about otherís purview to pinch-hit.
Places: Itís not enough to merely know where convention center is. Take a few minutes and do an internet search about your destination. Where is closest medical facility? Airport? Copy shop? Shipping center? Having area knowledge will save you valuable time if you need to send staffers out of venue for errands. Youíre only at show for a few days. Make your time there as productive as possible.
Designate a team leader before show. This person will be go-to person in case of any emergencies, and should have decision-making power. If an unforeseen event occurs, your team will know who they should turn to for direction.
Things: The biggest headaches often come from simplest items. If your brochures have been sent to Hong Kong instead of Dallas, thereís not much you can do to remedy situation, short of hopping a red eye and physically retrieving wayward literature yourself. Thatís not always practical.
Instead, depend on back-ups. For example: Having a CD-ROM back up of all your literature is a simple, easy step. Most major cities have print shops that will happily run off a few thousand brochures. Youíll pay a premium for rush service, but thatís a small price compared to potential revenue loss.