Events can be challenging, especially for sales reps, many of whom have never travelled for business before, let alone entered the scary world of all-day conferences and trade shows.  However, events can also be incredibly lucrative and worth attending for sales reps…if done correctly.  A well-executed event is a perfect opportunity to increase attention on and awareness of your brand and company, have great in-person conversations and, of course, to generate a huge volume of leads.

Make sure your sales reps maximize the next event they attend. Check out our list of five do’s and don’ts for sales reps attending events, to make your next event a successful and worthwhile venture.


Understand what the event is all about:  Sales reps should know what the attending audience will be like, why they are attending, and what problems they are looking to solve, so you can present your company as a viable solution.  Find out if any of your competitors are sponsoring and figure out your main points of differentiation so you can quickly and effectively explain your value prop to attendees. Finally, make sure the event makes sense for your company and reps – going to a gathering of bass fishing enthusiasts might not be the best place for your sales reps to find software-buying prospects.


Forget to pack important things: Marketing has worked hard to plan and execute this event; they shouldn’t be expected to pack your suitcase for you too. Here are some basics you should bring to any and every event:

  • Business cards

  • Phone and laptop chargers, as well as adapters

  • Travel tickets, registration codes, and agendas with highlighted sessions

  • iPads to demo your product

  • Company shirts to wear. Don’t forget to bring a sweater or cardigan too; expo halls tend to blast the air conditioning

  • Personal identification

  • Any relevant marketing collateral


Perfect your pitch and practice before the event: You’ll only have a few precious seconds to capture the attention of attendees, in a room filled with other sales reps looking to do the exact same thing. This means you need to trim your pitch down to a couple of quick sentences shaped around that specific event and audience. For example, plug your competitor-focused points of differentiation into your new pitch. And don’t forget to smile! Meeting face-to-face with prospects is a totally different ballgame than the phone conversations your reps are used to having – being approachable, friendly and disarming is even more critical (and more difficult) in person.


Be overly aggressive and interrupt conversations: There’s a very fine line between being a go-getter and being just plain rude. If someone appears to be in the middle of an  in-depth conversation, it’s best to wait until they’re finished before you approach them. Butting into conversations uninvited is a sure-fire way to annoy attendees and sabotage your pitch before you’ve even made it.


Jot down notes on business cards about the prospect: You might think you’ll remember the details of specific conversations with prospects, but when you’re staring at a huge pile of business cards at the end of the day, all the conversations will start to blend together. Jotting down even a few words on the back of the business cards – “This prospect asked about Feature X.” “This prospect told me to contact her in 3 months.” – will be enough to jog your memory on important details. Doing so will greatly enhance your follow-up conversations.


Have bad booth manners: Events can be draining. The hours are long, the fluorescent lights are so very bright, and you’ve been working hard to have productive conversations with strangers all day. This is no excuse to have bad booth manners; it is imperative that reps remain poised and professional throughout the entirety of the event, even if there’s a lull in booth traffic. Some examples of unacceptable booth behavior include:

  • Standing around with colleagues in unapproachable clusters.

  • Snacking and eating at the booth. This not only dissuades prospects from approaching and starting conversations, but can also be messy.

  • Texting and playing with your cellphone.

  • Letting your fatigue and annoyance show.


Attend sessions and scout for places where hot prospects will be: Once the sessions and speakers are posted, scour the schedule to figure out which sessions will be filled with people who are a good fit for your what you have to offer.  For instance, a session about “Using Analytics to Increase Sales,” is perfectly aligned with InsightSquared.  We would have a team member sit in on that session, with some reps stationed near the location of the session to approach people as they leave. Those prospects will have sales analytics on their mind, greasing the wheels for a productive conversation with our reps. You should also walk the entire venue and work the floor, passing out collateral and stepping outside the comfort zone of the booth.


Treat this like a party:  It’s common for smaller events to be held after-hours, once the main event has shut down for this night. These will probably be held at a local restaurant or bar, and are great opportunities to casually network, but you need to remember that you’re not here to party and overindulge. A casual drink or two is perfectly acceptable, but know your limits. You’ll probably have to be up bright and early the next day, and being late or looking like a zombie is not acceptable.

Also remember to be conscious of the conversations you’re having the next morning on the show floor, even among members of your own team, as you never know who might be listening. It’s not professional to be overheard telling stories of how many Whiskey Sours you consumed the night before.


Follow-up immediately with hot leads: If you had an awesome conversation with someone who stopped by your booth or you met while expertly networking at an after-party, don’t wait too long before following-up or the lead might get cold. Industry research emphasizes that prompt follow-ups produce better results, and events are no different. When you go back to your hotel room for the night, start drafting your emails right away while the conversations are fresh in your mind. Call your lead the next day so you can speak with them before they start getting phone calls from every other rep they spoke to at the event. Getting ahead of the competitive curve will pay huge dividends.  If your goal for the event is lead generation, then work smarter and get great leads!


Complain. Ever!:  Whether it be the mode of transportation you’re taking, the hotel you’re staying at, or the early hour you’re expected to be on the show floor, please don’t voice your negative thoughts to the events coordinator. The team is there to work hard and generate leads, not plan a relaxing getaway vacation for you. Live events are an awesome opportunity to talk to and meet people in person to get them better acquainted with your brand.  Remember what’s important here and don’t act like a diva.

Events can be a fantastic experience, with very worthwhile ROI, if done right. Having prepared sales reps, who know what to expect, and similarly, what is expected of them, is vital to the team’s success. Make sure your reps are familiar with the do’s and don’ts of working an event the right way.

Download our FREE Event Prep Checklist»

Recent Posts