It’s true that the success of any action hinges on how prepared you are.
The benefits you reap at any trade show relies heavily on well trained booth staff and how they interact with prospective clients or attendees on the show floor. Before sending your booth staff out in the field, make sure you’re providing them with the support and training they need.
In this post we’ll give you our best advice and best practices when it comes to choosing staff for your trade show booth, responsibilities of staffers, concerns when preparing your staff for the show floor and budgeting.
Staffing is only one part of the trade show planning process though. For additional tips when planning for an event, download and print our handy trade show checklist:
DOWNLOAD NOW: Printable Trade Show Checklist
Types of Staff
Before finalizing who is best within the company to staff your trade show booth, review the responsibilities and job titles you would like to accomplish. Here’s a short list of some of the most common roles performed by trade show booth staffers.
Hosts – Your welcoming committee! They are the first face of your company. They might also distribute promotional materials, direct attendees inside your booth where they can speak to sales staff or encourage them to interact with games, contests or product demonstrations.
Presenters – You might consider them skilled public speakers perfect for giving presentations or product demonstrations. Good presenters will have the ability to keep your prospects engaged and entertained while educating them on your brand and its capabilities.
Crowd Gatherers – Similar to the host, but outside the booth. Wandering the aisles and areas surrounding your booth, crowd gathers engage with attendees asking them questions to draw out any interest in your products and direct them to your booth to learn more.
Sales and Lead Gathering – These are your most skilled sales professionals considered to be experts at pitching your products and services. They are the masters at qualifying attendees. They are also tasked with collecting lead data and passing them off to your company’s inside sales staff for follow-up post-show.
Even the most well designed and engaging trade show booths won’t survive the show floor without the best staff manning your booth. Consider the direct impact of untrained staff and what’s at stake – the perception of your brand to the public eye. Poorly trained staffers could significantly diminish your success, while properly trained staffers increase the overall performance of your trade show campaign and make exhibiting at trade shows worth the investment.
Friendliness and People Skills – This might go without saying, but projecting a warm and professional demeanor will undoubtedly help your brand at any event ten fold. People remember when others treat them with respect and are courteous. A simple handshake and a smile with every visitor entering your booth goes a long way. Staffers should always greet attendees with proper manners and use polite language when speaking. Approachable employees that can relate to and interact with different types of people are essential for the trade show floor.
Image Standards – The importance of maintaining a clean-cut, business casual dress attire creates a professional image on the trade show floor. Every member of your team must understand untucked shirts, dirty clothing and wrinkled attire are a turn off and project a less than professional image for your brand.
Product and Sales Training – Training booth staff should be on the top of your trade show planning list. Every member should be informed and trained on the products or services you’ll be promoting at your event. This ensues confidence in staffers when communication and building trust on the trade show floor. They should be able to answer questions on the spot and pitch your marketing message. Have staffers role play before the show so they have time to rehearse and feel confident when the real day comes.
Defining Roles and Responsibilities
Before choosing booth staff, consider your organization’s goals for the show and make a list of what’s required for staff members. Skills, knowledge and competence should all be on the top of your list, including personalities and skill sets. Then break down the different roles and responsibilities of staff members (i.e. host, presenter, crowd gatherer, sales and leads) and prepare staff for what’s expected of the individual in the assigned role. Choosing the proper person within your company ensures they will be able to effectively perform their duties on the show floor. Be very clear about expectations so your staff understands what your company is looking to accomplish by exhibiting the show.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work – Teamwork is essential when creating a winning trade show marketing team. Look for team players who are not only great at sales and marketing, but who also work well in a group setting. Team players align their values with each other and work together to accomplish the same goal.
Diversify – Forming a group of staffers that have diverse personality types will encourage them to think outside the box and create a stronger unit. Encourage team bonding before any trade show event, such as team lunches or team building activities outside of the office.
Your booth trade show staffers are your biggest marketing asset but can sometimes be your biggest expense. Booth staff makes up an average of 20% of your trade show marketing budget, so make sure you pay close attention to expenses. Careful planning and coordinating to get the best deal for the group going to the event can help drive down expenses. Book airline tickets early to secure lower rates, check with hotels if they have group rates and shuttles for attendees. Alternative methods of transportation may need to be made so be sure to budget for taxis, buses, car rentals or other methods if necessary.
Visitors at your booth are coming to learn specifically about your products and services, so your booth staff should be as knowledgeable as possible and be ready to answer questions. New prospects want to feel like they can trust your company is an expert in its field, so giving booth staff the proper tools through education and training are a must for marketing success.
Don’t be so focused on pitching products that you forget to listen! Booth staffers must listen while communicating your brand’s message, but also allowing attendees to share their problems and concerns is just as important. Remember: you want potential clients to trust you’re there to solve their problems and deliver on that promise once they become a client.