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Trade Show Exhibit Staffing: Do's and Don'ts

Exhibit Staffing

  • You have only seconds to engage a prospective client
  • Conduct a pre-show training session with your staffers before every show
  • Arrive early and be prepared
  • When the show is over, reward your hard-working staff for their efforts

When selecting the staff for your trade show booth, you will have to decide whether to bring your own people, hire from a temp agency, or mix and match. Regardless of which plan you choose, remember that you have only seconds to engage a prospective client. Be sure you have a sufficient number people to handle prospects and be sure each member of your staff understands his or her role.

Pre-show Training

Conduct pre-show training session with your staffers before EVERY SHOW. It is a good idea to write a list of objectives for your staff. Make sure every member of your staff is aware of his or her role.

Be certain your staffers have familiarized themselves with the products and services that your company offers and that they can speak intelligently about them. Check in with them as often as possible during the show. You may want to assign several staff members to greet prospects; trade shows can get hectic and clients will wander away if no one approaches them within a minute or two.

Keep It Professional

Keep it professional at all times while working the booth. You don’t want your staff to ever block the flow of traffic into and out of your booth or congregate in clusters. Instead, have them spread out through the booth, so they don’t appear to be socializing. Have your staff dress appropriately for the venue. Make sure your staffers eat and drink only during their designated break time and never in the booth! This extends to chewing gum and munching on candy. Instruct your booth staff to be well groomed and not to wear excessive perfume or cologne.

IMPORTANT: Always give your undivided attention to customers or potential clients. This means refraining from answering your cell phone or texting during show hours.

Impress upon your staff the importance of taking every opportunity to converse with attendees. Trade show attendees expect to be approached. When someone stops by your booth and takes a brochure or a promotional item, take the time to talk to them about their needs and how your company’s products and services address those needs. Your goal is not to pitch everyone who visits your booth. The goal is to engage prospective clients in conversation and qualify the clients. Too often, exhibitors brag about the number of “leads” collected at the show without recognizing that many of those leads are unqualified and worthless.

When possible, take notes and write those notes on a preformatted lead form or on an electronic lead generation slip. Write your name on the form. Details matter and within a day or two, often within hours, exhibit staffers forget about specific conversations. At a successful show, each staffer may speak to several hundred prospects. No one can be expected to recall every conversation.

Arrive Early and Be Prepared

Impress upon your booth staff the importance of arriving at the show early enough to set up for the day. Most shows will have a setup day before the actual day of the event, but every day means restocking literature, promotional items, and general housekeeping. Be sure your staff secures literature and promo items if they leave the booth for any reason. You should consider using a graphics case or lockable counter, specifically designed to store and secure graphics. There may be guards at the doors of the exhibit hall, but those guards are not watching your booth. Valuables and promotional items will disappear if you do not secure them, or at the very least, hide them from sticky fingers.

Reward Your Staff

When the show is over, be sure to reward your hard-working staff for their efforts. You can take the team out for lunch or hold an office party. Be sure to make everyone feel appreciated. You can also set up incentives ahead of time by giving away prizes to those who generate the most qualified leads or achieve some other objective. Remember, your staff members are the key to your success at a show, so let them know they are valued.

For more information about trade show or event marketing, give us a call or Contact Us. We welcome the opportunity to assist you with your next show.

Article Author:

Mel White, CEI

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