The Right Staff: How To Pick The Best Booth Staffers

MultiQuad 20 x 20 Island modular trade show panel display

MultiQuad 20 x 20 Island modular trade show panel display

Your staffers are responsible for the largest part of your exhibit’s memorability. According to one trade show consultant, “Eighty five percent of trade show results are determined by the exhibit’s sales staff.” How do you hire winners for your trade show to make your show as successful as possible?

One part of the equation is knowing what kind of company you are:

If you’re product-driven, your primary focus on the show floor will be to make sales.

  • Booth staffers for this type of company should be sales professionals who can be aggressive and make the sale based on the product’s features.

If you’re sales and marketing driven, you exhibit in order to build relationships and answer prospects’ questions that can lead to sales down the road.

  • Staffers in the exhibits of these kinds of companies should be well versed in giving product demonstrations, and have strong technical skills and knowledge.

As a marketing driven company, your exhibiting process is designed to build relationships, write leads and assess how the marketplace is responding to your efforts.

  • Staffers for companies like this should be warm personality types (able to welcome visitors to the exhibit), talk easily with visitors to determine their needs, and be detail oriented when taking down lead information, including details like how responsive the prospect was.

There’s a theory of staff selection known by the acronym “APPLE.” To apply it to finding potential staffers, here are the five characteristics to look for:

A: Attitude

  • You can quiz both the staffer and his or her superior to ascertain this quality.
  • You want to know what their attitude is toward working the show, and whether their general mood is stable or unpredictable.
  • It goes without saying that stable people have a better chance of getting results at the show.

You also want to know what kind of work outlook they have toward work: are they driven by success at work, or do they just put in the hours?

Do they enjoy meeting new people or is this something that makes them nervous?

The latter type isn’t a good fit for a trade show booth, where meeting new people is a constant experience.

P: Personality
Many companies do personality testing as part of their onboarding process.

If your HR department has this information on employees, it would be helpful to know the types of the people you’re considering.

If you can’t find test results, look for clues:

Modified eSmart ECO-4008 Sustainable Island Exhibit with Hanging Aero Sign, Counter Top LED Lighting, Large Backlit Graphics, and (3) Storage Counters. Converts to 10 ft. and 20 ft. Inlines

Modified eSmart ECO-4008 Sustainable Island Exhibit with Hanging Aero Sign, Counter Top LED Lighting, Large Backlit Graphics, and (3) Storage Counters. Converts to 10 ft. and 20 ft. Inlines

  • Are they always on time?
  • Do they get deeply involved with work projects?
  • Do they possess a drive that shows through in their actions?
  • Would their body language be right for a booth staffer?
  • How popular is he or she?

Staffers with a certain amount of innate charisma are the best choice for working your booth.

P: Product Knowledge
You can study show statistics to determine what kinds of information your trade show audience is after.

You’ll get the best results with people who know your product inside and out.

But bear in mind that communication ability is just as important as mastery of the product.

If the person can take your product apart and put it back together blindfolded, but can’t hold a conversation, you’ll do better with someone whose communication skills are more well honed.

L: Location
Where the show is being held may have a bearing on the types of people who’ll do the best job staffing your booth.

For example, do you want regional or national salespeople in your exhibit?

For many shows, up to half the attendance is made up of local prospects, so it’s appropriate to have local staffers in your exhibit.

But make it clear that everyone in the booth is responsible for every visitor to the booth.

Local salespeople should be able to help national prospects, and the same goes for national salespeople assisting regional prospects or customers.

E: Experience
When it comes down to it, experience with on-the-floor selling is the most important element of staffing your exhibit.

The trade show floor is a unique selling environment that requires assertiveness and the ability to ask for the sale.

Staffers also need to be comfortable interacting with people from different cultures.

The more experience your booth staff has, the better they will be at getting results for your company.

Some of these characteristics can be assessed through a pre-show survey of potential staffers and can be used for your temp hires at trade shows.

Ask questions like:

  • How do you feel about trade shows?
  • How many trade shows have you worked?
  • What do other staffers do on the show floor that you’d like to be able to do better?
  • How could the overall performance of our booth’s staff be improved?

Consider the answers to prospective staffers’ questions, and you’ll get a better snapshot about how each one will perform under the pressures of the show floor. And remember, it’s always helpful to ask the person’s boss for his or her insights into how the person in question will stand up to trade show selling. These best practices in finding the right people to staff your trade show exhibit will increase your effectiveness and your ability to get leads or write orders.

The other element that leads to success on the show floor is the booth itself. What does your display need to put it over the top: New lighting? Literature racks? Table throws? Banner stands? All these things—and much more—are available from American Image Displays, up to and including a totally new exhibit. For more information, call us at (800) 676-3976 or email [email protected]