10 simple tips for better trade show staffing
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Many first time trade show exhibitors make the mistake of
putting all their focus on getting attendees into their trade show booth, and
forget to focus on keeping the attendees at their booth. First timers usually do
a good job on the pre-tradeshow promotion and have catchy booth graphic so that
visitors will stop and ask questions, but often one of the most important parts
of a good trade show booth is overlooked - your trade show booth staff! What
distinguishes trade show marketing from many other types of marketing is the
human interaction - which is why making sure you have a well-trained, great
trade show staff is so important. Fortunately, the basics of ensuring
professional trade show staffing are just that... basic. Whether your trade show
booth staff consists of just you, or a dozen dedicated marketing department
employees, train your trade show booth staffers with these ten simple trade show
staffing tips to insure the human element of your trade show booth is doing its
job to the best of their ability.
✔ 1. STAND UP!
Get off your feet, stand up, and keep standing up. Don't sit down. Not only will
you be more alert, but just as important, staffers who are standing are more
approachable (and are able to step forward and approach people passing by)
compared to staffers who are sitting with their arms folded, staring off into
space. You should be standing whenever you are working the booth greeting people
and answering questions (so remember to wear your favorite pair of comfortable
✔ 2. TAKE CARE OF YOU!
You need to be fully rested and fully fueled, and operating at 100 percent. Get
plenty of sleep the night before, eat a complete breakfast, drink water
throughout the day, and don't forget your comfortable shoes. And don't forget to
watch what you eat and check your breath. Nobody likes bad breath!
✔ 3. IDENTIFY YOURSELF!
Wear a name tag. Make sure it is easy to read, and that it has your name, your
company name, and your position if applicable. If your name can be difficult to
read or to pronounce, you may want to think about adding a simpler nickname as
well as your real name.
✔ 4. BE FRIENDLY, PLEASANT, AND PERSONAL!
Ask your prospect for their name, and then address them by their name. People
like being identified as an individual. Before you jump into business, ask them
how they are doing. Don't treat them like a number or a lead... treat them like
the unique individual they are. When you are done talking with them, be sure
to thank them, and again use their name. If you have an ironic or sarcastic
sense of humor or personality, put it on hold. If something can be
misinterpreted, it often is, and people can be easily offended, so keep the
sarcasm and irony to yourself. And always remember to smile!
✔ 5. ASK!
Ask questions. Find out what needs, issues, or problems your prospect has. Don't
just launch into a canned sales speech. Find out what your potential customer
really needs. You generally can't ask too many questions or express to much
interest in a prospect. People like to be paid attention to. And remember to
make your questions open-ended. Try to avoid questions that can be answered with
a simple yes or no, and instead ask questions that lead to discussion and
continue the conversation.
✔ 6. LISTEN!
Follow the 80-20 rule. 80% of your conversation should involve you listening,
and only 20% should be you talking. You will learn much more about your customer
when they're doing the talking, so spend more time with your mouth shut instead
of open. Ask good question, and use your ears more than your mouth.
✔ 7. IGNORE!
Focus on your booth visitors. They are the reason you are at the show. Don't
chat with the other tradeshow staffers, and certainly don't spend time on your
smart phone. Put it away! Trade show exhibit booth business hours are for
business. It is not the time to talk about anything else, including problems you
and your co-workers may be having with your boss. As a rule of thumb, if you're
not talking with prospects, you probably shouldn't be talking. Keep the
after-hours talk for after-hours.
✔ 8. HAVE SOMETHING TO HAND OUT.
People like to get stuff. Make sure you have plenty of business cards and
brochures (and any other sales literature and information you need). Also
consider having trade show giveaways
available to hand out. A good trade show giveaway (with your business name on it
of course) is a great way to show your appreciation for prospects who spend time
talking to you, and a good giveaway will help them remember your company later.
✔ 9. MAKE SURE YOUR BOOTH HAS ENOUGH STAFF!
You need to always have enough personnel to handle all the booth visitors you
get. Don't make prospects wait to talk with someone about their questions, as
they will often just walk away and go on the the next booth. Don't skimp when it
comes to the number of trade show staff in your booth. While you may be the most
knowledgeable person at your company, if it's just you in the booth and
prospects are leaving, then you need help. Make sure your booth has enough
✔ 10. FOCUS.
Keep your focus on your trade show booth, and not the booth across from you or
two aisles down (even if you're dying to see why they seem to have such a
huge crowd around their booth, or if
they have a famous athlete or movie star signing autographs... your kid can live
without the autographed napkin). Resist the urge to slip away for "competitive
research". You can find out what your trade show competitors are up after the
exhibitor floor closes for the day. During exhibit hours, your focus must be on
your trade show booth and your visitors. Your aren't an attendee at the show,
you are an exhibitor. You don't get to walk around and gab. You have a job to
Read these staffing tips, remember them, and use them as part of
your overall trade show strategy to make
all of your hard work pay off and your next trade show a huge
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