Exhibitions: Using Psychology to
Optimize Sales Results

Exhibitions are one of the few events where sellers have the opportunity to be face-to-face with a large numbers of potential buyers, projecting an image that will forever influence attitudes and buying propensity. The impression exhibitors portray can be compared to buying shoes; if a shopper sees poorly presented shoes in a storefront window, chances are slim that he or she will come inside and make a purchase. The same theory holds true for trade show displays.

There are two general levels of interaction at shows. The first is the superficial interaction between exhibitors and booth visitors, which mainly relies on judgments made on physical appearance. The second interaction level deals with behavioral components and involves how exhibitors act and what they say when interacting with visitors.

Industry research demonstrates that exhibitors who wear lively colors such as red, green or purple are more likely to draw booth visitors into their quality exhibition stands than those wearing white or gray. Exhibitors who wear bright colors are described by the attendees as having that "certain something" that drives appeal and interest.

When it comes to behavior and attitude, the secret of selling during an event requires strong interpersonal skills, along with industry expertise and knowledge of the company that is represented. There is nothing worse than interacting with someone who is not clearly educated on what the company is about.

Moreover, industry professionals recognize that enthusiasm is a key element in exhibiting success: Nothing is more contagious than enthusiasm… and a great smile.

In reality, exhibitors are industry performers selling products - and they need to deliver a professional show and appearance for long periods of time.

This process, defined by psychology as emotional labor, involves managing emotions in order to be consistent with organizational or occupational display rules, regardless of whether they are discrepant with internal feelings.

Working an exhibition is hard work. The constant face-to-face and voice-to-voice contact with the public requires exhibitors to evoke an emotional state in potential buyers, while maintaining a crisp, professional demeanor. This can lead to stress and fatigue.

Moreover, trade show exhibiting requires long hours, so the ability to remain fresh and energized may be challenging. In this case, professionals recommend limiting booth schedules, if possible, and using scripts so presentations feel less repetitive.

In terms of speech and discourse, it is often helpful to look for and choose keywords that require particular emphasis during the sales process and resonate with potential buyers. It is certainly useful to give these words an enthusiastic push to attract attention and get people queuing at the stand.

First impressions certainly do count and are essential for success at trade shows. Delivering a strong mix of professional attitude and inter-personal selling skills can make the difference between average outcomes and outstanding results. 

Related Information - Exhibitions

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