Creating Great Trade Show Displays with Great Sales Teams

Ever been to a trade show display that was staffed by people who clearly didn’t care about being there? I’d imagine we all have. The problem is, having your staff disengage ends up creating a very negative impression on everyone who visits.

bored worker

One of the most important aspects of exhibition stands is, unfortunately, also one of the most neglected: properly staffing your trade show booth. Even more than the banner stands and free samples and such, it’s the people who staff your booth who are going to be making the most direct impact on your visitors. You need to make sure you’re prepping your booth staff properly so they make the best possible impression on your potential customers.

Creating Great Trade Show Displays Through Great Staff

1) Get motivated people. Staffing your trade show display should be reserved for your most enthusiastic and outgoing employees. Try to get volunteers who honestly want to be there or, failing that, come up with some incentives to encourage them to interact and get contact information. For example, take how many leads you want, add 10%, and tell the booth staff that they get a bonus if they meet that goal. (Just don’t turn it into an individual competition, or the staff might start fighting over leads.

2) Wear matching outfits. Putting all of your staff in uniforms definitely helps increase the image of your company as being cohesive and a true team effort. These don’t have to be overly complex; just something like slacks and company polo shirts will work fine. Unless it’s a very formal trade show, don’t force your staff to wear too much formal clothing, or else it’ll end up wearing poorly in stuffy, badly-ventilated expo halls.

3) Keep them off their smartphones. During lulls at trade show displays, it’s easy for your staff to get bored and start pulling out their smartphones or tablets to check their Facebook or kill time. This should be avoided at all costs. The staff needs to look alert and ready to greet anyone who wanders by. Too many people checking their email makes it look like a booth that’s not worth visiting. The exception to this would be if your booth integrates social media, such as a live Twitter feed. In that case, one person should be designated as the operator, while everyone else does meet & greet. There’s no need to have multiple people all fooling around with gizmos while people are visiting.

4) Practice beforehand. It’s tricky, learning how to capture a lead’s interest in a conversation that’s realistically only going to last 30-60 seconds. Don’t just throw your staff into this cold; give them some time to practice and to think up some conversational gambits to try out on visitors. Some easy back-and-forth roleplaying works well for this. They need to go into the display stands confident and ready to engage anyone who comes by, and without sounding like they’re reading from a script.

5) Rotate your staff out. If at all possible, depending on how many people you can get to show up, try to rotate out your staff periodically. The longer the trade show goes on, the easier it is to become hot and tired, and just start going through the motions of greeting people. Letting the staff rotate every 2-3 hours will keep them fresh and energetic.

Basically, you can’t have great trade show booths without great people staffing them. A little time and effort spent making sure you have a well-dressed, confident staff will pay off by giving you a big boost in leads gathered. Don’t forget the human element when planning your booth.

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