What Gets You The Most Bang For Your Exhibiting Buck: Your Staff, Your Graphics, Or Your Demo?

Gravitee Modular Island with 16 ft. High Serpentine Wall, Attached Conference Table, (2) Keyboard Shelves, Full-size Closet, (3) Monitor Mounts, Aero Overhead Hanging Sign, and Tension Fabric Graphics

Gravitee Modular Island with 16 ft. High Serpentine Wall, Attached Conference Table, (2) Keyboard Shelves, Full-size Closet, (3) Monitor Mounts, Aero Overhead Hanging Sign, and Tension Fabric Graphics

No exhibitor goes to a trade show hoping to fade into the woodwork. We all want to stand out, and we do some very smart things in our exhibiting plans to accomplish that goal.

I want to talk with you today about the best ways to capture the attention of show visitors and get them to hear, understand and remember your message.

And we’ll talk about all three of these components to successful exhibiting, and how you can capitalize on them in your next trade show exhibit.

I’ve heard trade show managers swear that having the right trade show booth staff is what made their shows successful.

I’ve also heard equal numbers of trade show managers say it was their booth’s graphics or their product demo that got them the attention they wanted.

So who was right?

Perhaps they all were.

The most effective way to stand out on the show floor is by combining well trained staffers with compelling graphics and dynamic demonstrations.

All three help exhibitors successfully attract attention, engage prospects, and communicate their product’s attributes.

So how can exhibitors maximize the effectiveness of this trade show triad? As I researched each area, here’s what I discovered:


According to a study by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), 80% of what visitors remember most about their visit to any booth is their interaction with that exhibit’s staff.

Beyond that, CEIR states that 75% of the effectiveness of any company’s trade show exhibiting efforts can be traced back to the performance of their trade show booth staffers. That makes a pretty good case for this being a major part of your exhibiting efforts, doesn’t it?

Yes. But it’s not the whole story.

I think exhibitors can get the most from their staffers when they recognize the opportunity a show presents for them and their company.

Staffers should be trained so they come across completely confident in their product knowledge. They should also be able to deliver a positive, memorable experience for each visitor that leads to some type of follow-up contact.

But beware: creating those “positive experiences” happens when conversations focus on what the attendee cares about—not on everything the staffer knows.

In other words, talk about what’s important to the prospect, not what’s important to the staffer.

If your staffers just talk about how the Widget 1000 can do twice what the competition’s product can do, they miss the forest for the trees.

Instead of spending all their time pitching the product, staffers should ask each visitor questions to discover the top two or three things that cause them pain.

Only then can a well-trained, knowledgeable and confident booth staffer show how the Widget 1000 can sort out those pain points.

Nimlok 30x40 island trade show exhibit

Nimlok 30×40 island trade show exhibit


Many studies have attempted to calculate how long a show visitor looks at a given booth to decide whether to engage with that exhibitor.

In the exhibiting studies I’ve seen, the average exhibitor has three to five seconds to capture the attention of a visitor and begin to connect.

What does this have to do with graphics? Well, for many exhibitors, the back wall graphic is their exhibit.

Practically all they have on display is the large format graphic that comprises their trade show booth’s back wall, or a banner stand elsewhere in the booth.

So this image must communicate a strong message to visitors, attracting attention and beginning the qualification process, doing all this in a matter of seconds.

One of our graphic designers here at American Image Displays offers this advice to help you with your next trade show display:

“The layout should allow the eye to flow through the exhibit structure, without leading the eye away from the trade show display.

“The best designs are very straightforward, with clear messages, bright colors and no more than six to ten words, using only one or two different fonts. Go for big, eye-catching images, simple slogans and large logos.”

In-Booth Demos:

Product demos are the best way to show prospects the features and benefits of your product that may be too small to see.

You can also show differences between your product and the competition’s that may not be obvious.

The primary advantage of an in-booth demonstration is to draw attention to those features you can’t show in an advertisement. You can also provide proof of claims you’ve made in those advertisements.

When prospects see the product’s benefits dramatized, that’s far more memorable than simply reading about what your product is supposed to do. 

When your staffers can easily demonstrate how your product works, it instantly adds credibility in the eyes of booth visitors. To help reduce costs, take inventory before your trade show.

Trade Show Display Towers, group of 3 with lighting

Trade Show Display Towers, group of 3 with lighting

So what should you take away from this discussion of the three most effective tools for making your trade shows more productive?

1) The trade show exhibit environment is an ideal place for well-trained staffers to begin relationships with prospects.

2) Those prospects can be attracted to your company’s tradeshow booths through well thought out graphics that make up parts of your display. To get more value, learn how to get trade show displays cheap.

3) After seeing a persuasive in-booth demo, those prospects are more likely to become customers.

So, the three elements (great staffers, compelling graphics and interesting in-booth demos) all work together to help you succeed on the show floor.

And when you think about working together to help you succeed at a trade show, let American Image Displays partner with you to achieve that goal.

Whether you exhibit or attend woodworking shows or electronic shows, we offer one of the best collections of exhibit components, full graphics production capabilities and a complete line of exhibiting accessories from banner stands to literature racks. To see how we can help you, call us at (888) 977-8076 or email [email protected].