Trade Show Booth Staffing: The One Oversight That Can Kill Sales

As a trade show exhibitor, your trade show booth itself is your most important asset. And it takes lots of thought, creativity and planning to construct an effective trade show display. But once you have that, you need to focus on your second most important asset: your trade show booth staffing. This is the team that can, quite literally, make or break your trade show success.

Trade show booth staffing is as important to the success of your show as the exhibit itself. So why is it that as many as fifty percent of exhibitors say they “never” or “rarely” train their exhibit staff (according to The Role and Value of Face to Face Interaction, a 2013 CEIR study)?multiquad-exhibit-20x50 with product shelves and plenty of room for trade show booth staffing to do their jobs

It’s shocking. It’s like buying a car without ever having driving lessons. The results in either case can be disastrous.

About half of all companies who exhibit at trade shows are essentially spending a small fortune on exhibiting and hoping somebody on their staff can:

  1. provide a positive, personalized, and memorable experience to visitors by focusing on what the visitor cares about,
  2. be able to add visitors to on-going conversations and demonstrations when the booth is busy
  3. know and demonstrate the basics of professional booth behavior; being approachable, greeting visitors quickly, and being able to politely disengage from conversations.

Matt Hill, at The Hill Group, is a trade show booth staffing trainer. He feels those three things are the minimum skills a trained staffer must be able to deliver. Do you think your staffers would meet that standard?

Without hiring someone like Matt, virtually half of all exhibitors are only hoping their exhibit will be successful. They’re just winging it on the second most important aspect of exhibiting!

The cure to this delusional thinking is simple: train your booth staff. It’s more important than you think.

We live in a world where most peoples’ faces are constantly gazing at a phone, tablet or screen. Making face-to-face contact is the exception when communicating these days, not the rule. Trade shows allow exhibitors a unique and ideal opportunity to connect with prospects and customers face to face.

That same CEIR study I referenced earlier showed that eight out of ten trade show attendees rated face-to-face interaction with vendors as “extremely important” or “very important” to performing their own jobs effectively.

So it can’t be overstated. Professionally trained trade show booth staffing is critical to the success of your participation in a trade show. That goes for the people who are new to your company and the veterans, as well.

Let’s make a few suggestions about how you can make the most out of every trade show at which you exhibit, by taking the time to train your staff.

Don’t Overlook The Simple Stuff:

When training your staff, you want them to know all they can about the products or services you’ll be promoting at the show. But there are other simple things that can dramatically affect prospects’ attitudes relating to your exhibit, your people and your company.

For example, basics like eating, chewing gum or sitting down in the booth. Talking on the phone. Keeping the exhibit itself presentable, and making visitors feel welcomed and appreciated.

If you skip this stuff, the rest won’t matter. Disengaged trade show staff will stop everything else in its tracks.

Create a list of your expectations for all booth workers and share this information with your staffing team well in advance of opening day. Let them know both what you expect of them, and what you don’t want them doing while they’re on duty.

Once you’ve tackled the simple things, you can move on to the aspects of trade show booth staffing that are unique to your exhibit marketing program.charging stations give your trade show booth staff places to comfortably engage visitors

Sharing Is Caring:

Everyone on your staff should be well informed about your marketing strategy and sales goals for each specific show. Tell them why you’re promoting specific products or services.

Explain how they can participate in the strategy by keeping track of touch points, such as how many visitors they greeted during each shift, how many prospects received a product demonstration, and how many orders were written.

You should have written goals for all these touch points, as well. That way, after the show, you can share the results with your team. And even more importantly, you can work with the sales department to make any adjustments necessary to improve those numbers before the next show.

Look At Your Exhibit From The Visitors’ Point Of View:

Your visitors are the people you’re trying to influence, after all. So take some time away from the planning and implementation phases of putting a show together and look at your exhibiting efforts through the eyes of your attendees.

First, think about why these people are visiting this specific show. Chances are, they have a problem and need a solution.

What are their expectations? How can you provide them with a superior solution to their problem—one that separates you from your competitors? Why is meeting face-to-face important to them? What will they experience in your exhibit to ensure you remain memorable to them after the show is over?

Get a clear understanding of these issues, and you’ll have a definite leg up on your competitors, and you’ll remain in the minds of your prospects when your sales staff is doing their follow-up.

Integrate Your Booth Staff:

I’m not talking about racial integration; I’m talking about the kinds of people you bring with you to the show. Most exhibitors bring salespeople, and that’s fine—to a point.

But what do you do when a prospect has a technical question? How about a major customer who wants to know about your company’s big picture? Staffing your trade show exhibit with people from the C suite and the factory can give you another advantage over your competitors, while giving your booth visitors a richer experience when they connect with your exhibit. Choose the best booth staffers for the situation that you are in.

Your primary asset on the show floor is the booth itself. Otherwise, your secondary assets (your booth staffers) have nowhere to work. So if your exhibit isn’t looking like an asset anymore, talk with us about how we can help you do better at attracting attendees and telling your story more effectively.

American Image Displays gives you a wide range of choices in the look and feel of the booth you want. We also offer a broad range of accessories that can help you shine light on your product, display your literature or provide a pedestal where your staffers can write orders. To learn more, call at (888) 977-8076 or email [email protected].