Staying Sane While Working in Trade Show Booths

Let’s face it: most people would not choose to push themselves when they are scheduled to work in trade show booths all day for several days straight. The typical trade show is grueling: it can take hours just to set up and tear down your trade show booths, carpet, and various other accessories and supplies. And all the days in-between you are on your feet, spending countless consecutive hours worried over the perception that you aren’t sending the right image or properly selling your product. It can be mentally taxing stuff, and we all know that feeling at the end of the day where we are too exhausted to even think about the next day.20x20 island trade show booths-resized-600

It is important to keep yourself sane during a trade show, particularly when you will be working inside trade show booths for several days, or even a week, without a break. You simply cannot push yourself that hard without having it affect your performance. Here are some ideas for how to break up the schedule into manageable shifts. The best part? Some of these ideas also contribute to your trade show experience as research and development.

  • Become a trade show buyer, not a seller: Go ahead. Place yourself on the other side. Walk around and see what other trade show booths are doing and how they are selling their products. The pressure is on the other person for once, you get to remind yourself what your potential clients feel like when approached by a salesperson, and you can see what constitutes effective trade show technique – and what to avoid. I bet you will come away feeling much better about your own technique, and energized for your next shift. And there is no rule for stealing somebody’s else’s successful methods.
  • Play inside games with your coworkers: A great idea is to make trade show booths fun, not cut throat. Play games in your sales, like seeing who can fit great vocabulary words naturally into your contacts with clients. Not only does it make each point of contact more fun, it also gives you an extra pop of excitement when you approach a customer. This impacts your performance and it gives your crew something to laugh and smile about all day. Bonus points can go to less obvious sales words such as “collude”, “plentiful”, or “salubrious”. You build your vocabulary and create the image of an intelligent and knowledgeable representative.large-dm_0480_main-resized-600
  • Life outside the trade show floor: One of the perks of being a trade show representative is the advantages of traveling to great locations. Take advantage of it without guilt! Be sure to plan to go see the attractions in that city and enjoy yourself. It re-energizes your batteries for your next shift. Treat yourself to a nice meal or enjoy a night out (not too late of course). If possible, arrange to network with clients or vertically aligned industry partners – shared good times can become cherished memories and form bonds that last a long time. In addition, try to find old friends on Facebook or Linked In, and make a point to meet up and network with someone in each city you visit. This gives you something to look forward to other than the grind of the trade show, and makes you a much more enjoyable representative to talk with when you’re back on the floor in your trade show booths. Don’t treat it purely as a business trip; think of it as a chance to get out of the box, visit new places, and reconnect with old friends.

There are also all kinds of silly games that can keep you going. Remember the out-of-state license plate game on long car trips? The concept is the same. Place light bets on who can spot the most typo’s on the many trade show signs and banners. The loser buys dinner, and everybody keeps their sanity while having a successful trade show.

Trade shows require a significant investment, in time away from the office and family, travel costs, show costs, trade show booths and graphics, etc. You want to be as effective as possible, and if you aren’t having some fun, then you aren’t performing as well as you could be.

For more, read on how to engage your trade show booth customers or how to leverage your trade show displays.

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