A Booth Staff Trainer’s Top 7 Strategies – Part Two

Collapsible Trade Show Tables and Trade Show ChairsIn a our previous tips from a professional trade show trainer, we presented several excellent strategies from professional booth staff trainer Matt Hill of The Hill Group. In his more than 25 years in this industry, he’s helped thousands of booth workers enhance their skills and make the most out of each and every interaction with show attendees.

Knowing these strategies is critically important to working a trade show successfully. There is nothing more dangerous than an untrained sales show booth staffer.

An untrained trade show booth staffer may waste countless opportunities to close on hot prospects because he or she didn’t know how to conclude those interactions, while others may waste their time with unqualified “tire kickers” who talk the talk, but never really buy.

As we’ve said before, it’s relatively inexpensive insurance on the rest of your trade show budget to invest in training for the people working your exhibit.

In the absence of that, however, Matt has offered the next best thing: his wisdom, based on decades of experience.

Here’s a recap of his first four strategies, along with some thoughts from our experience:

Strategy #1) Be Approachable:

Don’t do anything that would put an obstacle between you and a prospect. Everything from eating in the booth to standing in a cluster with your colleagues tells attendees you don’t want to be bothered.

Strategy #2) Ask Questions:

Questions help you discover how to serve the prospect you’re working with, and expose the objections he or she needs you to overcome in order to close the sale.

Strategy #3) Dismiss Non-Prospects:

Not everyone at every show is a prospect for what your company provides. You need to know how to quickly and politely end a conversation and send an attendee on his or her way, so you’re able to deal with real prospects.

Strategy #4) Make Demonstrations Short:

Your product demo or live presentation doesn’t have to show every item in your catalog or answer every question. It’s simply a means of communicating many of the most common or logical queries in a short time, while maintaining prospects’ interest.


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Now let’s move on to the last three of Matt’s strategies, with our commentary:

Strategy #5) Don’t Make Visitors Wait:

To the best of your ability, work with groups of visitors instead of one-on-one. When you see other attendees enter your exhibit, acknowledge their presence and either add them to the conversation you’re engaged in, or let them know you’ll be right with them.

  • This is (or should be) every booth staffer’s dream: having more prospects in your exhibit than you can speak with individually. But in order to keep them from wandering away, you want to involve them somehow. If appropriate, offer them a brochure to peruse while you finish up a conversation or complete a lead form.
  • By all means, keep them engaged. Tell them about a product demo that may be starting soon, or let them know someone else will soon be available to speak with them.

Strategy #6) Interrupt As Necessary:

Get used to the idea that there’s virtually no such thing as a private conversation in the booth (unless it’s done in a conference room or otherwise behind closed doors).

  • It’s perfectly appropriate to politely interrupt a colleague’s conversation with a prospect and ask how long he or she will need before being able to speak with another attendee.
  • Ask the first prospect’s permission before adding a new visitor to your conversation. This is done out of courtesy, but with an expectation of agreement, and usually goes something like this (as you extend your hand toward the new visitor, you look your prospect in the eye and ask): “Would you mind if (read name badge) joins our conversation?”

Strategy #7) End The Conversation:

Time is precious on the show floor. Your company literally paid a price for you to be there in the exhibit hall talking to prospects. You need to know when and how to conclude each conversation. There are three ways to do so:

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  • Dismiss the non-prospect (see Strategy #3).
  • Escort the prospect (don’t just point them in the general direction) to another part of the booth, to wrap up the conversation where it’s quieter, involve them in a product demo, or introduce them to someone else with specific expertise they require.
  • Generate a lead. No interaction at a trade show should take place without at least the goal of generating a lead. But names on slips of paper isn’t the objective. Qualify the attendee, according to your company’s predetermined method (A, B or C; hot, warm or cold; etc.) – here’s a great example – and gather enough information so the lead can be appropriately followed up on after the show.

I hope you’ve seen as much value in Matt’s strategies as we did—so much so that we wanted to share them with you.

You can read the first part of this article at our website here.

While you’re visiting our site, you can also see one of the largest collections of pop-ups, desktops, modular displays and custom exhibits, along with an exhaustive variety of accessories like literature racks, banner stands and lighting kits.

We also supply custom graphics. So think of us as your one-stop shop for anything related to your trade show exhibit program. Call us at (800) 676-3976 or email [email protected]