How to Quickly Empower Your Event Staff

The environment of the trade show floor is unique and unusual, and unlike any other environment where buying and selling takes place. That’s one reason why your event staff may feel out-of-place or have difficulty actually getting the customer to say “yes” after they’ve presented their product demo.

VK-5145 - a Trade show Island Exhibit that your event staff will love!

VK-5145 – a Trade show Island Exhibit that your event staff will love!

What happens next doesn’t happen in any other selling situation. Attendees are at the show for the express purpose of being sold to. Until your event staffing team realizes this, potential sales will walk out of your trade show exhibit on their way to the competition. Why? Because someone in that booth is willing to ask for the sale.

Today I want to focus on three specific skills that good event staff possess. If you don’t recognize your event staffing team in this list, you might want to call a meeting or do some training before your next show. Getting the right people to staff your trade show booth can make all the difference.


1) Good event staff know how to stop attendees in the aisles

An object in motion tends to stay in motion, and that’s also true for trade show attendees. They’re moving through the aisles, looking for something that will compel them to stop. Ideally, they want a solution to a problem they’re having. But how are they going to know that your Widget 1000 is the answer to their problem if they don’t stop and see it in action?

Most event staff newbies mess this up by asking a question that can elicit a one-word answer. Attendees can easily shut down questions like “How are you today?” or “Can I help you find something?”

Stopping people in the aisles begins with eye contact. If the contact lingers for a moment, the booth staffer proceeds by extending his or her hand and checking the nametag (that’s what it’s there for). Then a discussion can begin. “Hi, Carl. What do you know about Acme Widgets?”

Savvy staffers will then use their free hand to gesture into the trade show booth, subtly suggesting that the conversation should continue inside the exhibit. Once the staffer discerns how much the attendee knows about the company, he or she can give a customized response that focuses on what the attendee is interested in.


2) Good staffers use open-ended questions to gain maximum information

Notice that the question that started this interaction couldn’t be answered with a “yes” or “no” response. The more open-ended questions staffers ask, the more information they can squeeze out of a prospect.

There are three phases of the contact process that will lead to a positive outcome: (1) Information Gathering, (2) Qualifying, and (3) Establishing Trust and Credibility. To be chosen as the solution to the attendee’s problem, your event staff need to effectively navigate all three of these phases.

Here are some examples of each:

Information gathering:

“What prompted your company to explore this process?”

Retail Displays can be configured to please all event staff teams

Retail Displays can be configured to please all event staff teams

“What is it that you’d like to see accomplished?”


“What’s the budget for this?”

“Who else is involved in the decision making process?”

Establishing Trust and Credibility:

“What kinds of challenges are you facing?”

“Are there other issues that are also important to you?

Each of these questions is open-ended, and can lead to more questions that will further your goals of turning an attendee into a customer. You can staff millennials for your trade show booth for this, they thrive at the social aspect.


3) Good event staff know how to serve the overall goals of the exhibit

It would be easy to say that the overall goal of your exhibit is to sell widgets. By extension, then, it should be everyone’s job to find customers to buy widgets. But that’s not the only thing going on in a successful trade show exhibit. And good event staff work to achieve all the goals, not just sales goals. So what are some of the other goals your event staffing should have?

While making sales is important to an exhibit’s success, a good event staff knows that it’s also important to:

  • Learn what works and what doesn’t: you can find out what direction your industry is heading in (and where it’s not).
  • Build your brand. Let attendees know who you are and what you do, and what differentiates you from your competitors.
  • See which booths are attracting the greatest number of attendees and try to figure out why that’s happening. Learn from what they’re doing right.
  • Go undercover as a customer and get pricing information and product specifications from your competitors. See how well your company is competing.
  • Make notes about what kinds of giveaways your competitors are using. Then talk with attendees to see if they find them valuable or useful. Use this information when ordering premiums for your next show.

All these things are part of a good event staff team’s bag of tricks. As I said before, if your staffers don’t do these things well, consider enlisting the services of a booth staff trainer. Or at least hold a meeting and let booth workers do some role-playing to develop a level of comfort with these skills.

While we don’t offer booth staff training here at American Image Displays, I do know some excellent trainers I’d be happy to offer as recommendations.

And when it comes to your exhibit, I can offer you every major manufacturer’s product line. This broad range of exhibit properties helps you create a booth that attracts attention and tells your brand’s story in an effective way. For more information, call (888) 977-8076 or email [email protected].