Alexis Exhibits

Staff Your Trade Show Exhibit to Win!

Anyone who has attended a trade show can tell you that the best booth, in the best location, with the best promotion, may not get the sale if you do not put together the right team to represent your company.

Overall, you are looking for people who are fun to be with and who can help bring your booth to life. Here is a checklist of critical factors to consider when selecting your team.

  1. Make sure you have the right number of people to staff the booth. It depends on the type of show, your business sector and the type of promotional campaign you plan. A good rule of thumb is one person for every 50 square feet of booth space, including break coverage.
  2. Make sure that the people staffing your booth have an appearance that is consistent with your brand and trade show campaign.
  3. Look for people who are naturally friendly and outgoing, and who smile. You want people who are eager to meet attendees.
  4. Select people who are good listeners and who know how to ask open-ended questions that encourage prospects to talk about their needs.
  5. Choose team members who know your business sector or who can be quickly trained to knowledgeably answer questions. It is best to select people who know your product, your company and its capabilities, and who know the competition.
  6. Think about attire and set a dress code. Don’t leave this critical element to chance. Make sure your entire team is willing to follow the dress code.

Once you have selected your team, make sure they have the tools they need and are properly trained to represent your company, qualify leads and secure sales.

Putting your Best Face Forward: How to Staff your Trade Show Booth

You can spend lots of money creating an eye-grabbing, elaborate trade show exhibit, but lose potential customers if your booth personnel are not well trained and prepared. Make it an essential part of your pre-show strategy, right along with pre-event marketing and demo preparations. Keep in mind that these people will leave a lasting impression, good or bad, on your attendees and potential customers when they leave your booth, so pick the best and brightest to represent your organization.

Here are a few more tips on how you can ensure that everyone in your trade show staff is show-ready:

Make sure they are well versed. This is particularly important when using temp workers. These people need to know detailed background about your company, its mission, goal, target audience, products or services, as well as your sales and marketing message.

Practice makes perfect. Establish a pre-show training session and conduct them before every show. Prepare a list of objectives and make sure everyone is aware of their role. For example, some people might be assigned official greeters, while others might be reserved for fielding more detailed technical questions.

friendly tradeshow staffChoose friendly folk. This might seem obvious, but the more outgoing and friendly a person is, the better they will be at engaging prospects.

Stick to the script. Training booth personnel should include a well-practiced script that includes a quick introduction of themselves, a one-minute overview of your company and its products; a few questions to qualify the attendee as a potential prospect; and a request for contact info for effective follow-up after the event.

Dress the part. Make sure that booth staff understands what is expected of them in terms of how to dress, proper etiquette (no gum chewing, eating, etc.), the importance of arriving early and being prepared, and how long they are expected to be on duty.

Don’t overstaff. It’s human nature to avoid excessively crowded spaces and nothing is more intimidating then walking into a booth and being besieged by a throng of over-eager salespeople. Proper staffing will depend upon the size of the actual booth.

Put sales staff on the front line. Even if you rely on temporary help at trade shows, it’s vital to have salespeople in the mix and preferably taking the lead in greeting visitors and doing demos.

Listen more, talk less. Companies can learn more about potential customers and how they might be able to help them by taking the time to listen to their needs, pain points, issues, etc. Booth staff should adhere to the 80/20 principle: listen 80% and talk only 20%.

Tradeshow Booth Staffing Tips

Hiring tradeshow talent and booth staff can provide an exhibitor much better returns on investment than in years past, providing that one understands the need, and seeks the most qualified candidate(s) to fill that need.

Pre-Qualify Prospects: Trade Show Talent Acts as an Ambassador for Your Booth

Browse the internet for convention and tradeshow models, and you’ll find that there are hundreds of agencies providing this type of service. With so much to choose from, where to begin? First, prioritize your needs as an exhibitor. The early days of car show models & booth babes have expanded into tradeshow talent that can not only greet attendees but also demonstrate products and engage attendees in conversation. When considering hiring staff, be sure to consider what the role of this hired talent will be.

When Hiring Talent for your Tradeshow Booth, Find a Reputable Agency

tradeshow_presenterIf you expect superior communication skills, good eye contact, and a witty personality, then you shouldn’t just go online and start looking for price quotes. You’ll want to start by finding a reputable agency, preferably one recommended by a display house, that has numerous testimonials and references. Furthermore, you will want to outline, in writing, precisely what you will expect from your hired tradeshow staff. They are, after all, an extension of your sales staff, as the CMT agency states on it’s website “More important than just being attractive, they know and exemplify the fact that being outgoing, friendly, engaging and professional are what matter most on the tradeshow floor.”

Base your search for hired staff on your written outline of criteria. Speak to the agency about the qualifications and experience of each booth model. Ask the agency the tough questions, don’t be afraid to shop around. You will find that some agencies book superior talent, far beyond what might be considered standard or acceptable, including interpreters, product presenters, costume characters or entertainers. Find some talent with more than just a pretty smile. You might find that a well-qualified presenter just happens to be available during your show days, and needs the work. Why settle for a bikini model when you can have an excellent ambassador in your booth?

Include Tradeshow Booth Talent in Your Booth Staff Training

Before the show, outline a plan for your hired staffers. Share it with them well in advance so they may ask questions and get clarification. Expect them to show up well before the show starts each day, and have a briefing about expectations and or goals. INCLUDE THEM IN YOUR BOOTH STAFF TRAINING! You will want to emphasize the importance of pre-qualifying prospects, a major part of booth staff training. At the end of the day, have a wrap-up meeting, and again, include them with your staff. You are, after all, paying a premium – so why not demand a little more? If you make your staffing choices well, you can not only increase traffic and lead generation, you will also ratchet up tradeshow ROI.

The Perfect Trade Show Booth Requires a Great Team

teamHave you ever been to a trade show and see a great exhibit, but no one is there to greet you? Or you start to approach a booth and see a couple disengaged people slumped in chairs, hiding? Or the booth staff is occupied talking on their cell phones and texting? My bet is that you just passed this exhibit by.

The team who staffs your booth is a critical part of a successful event. Make sure they are properly trained, motivated and equipped to succeed.

  • Select people to staff the booth who have the right attitude. You need people who are open and approachable, who can smile when their feet hurt, and who really enjoy meeting new people.
  • Train your team so that they know the main messages you want to communicate at the show, and can answer most customer questions. Knowledgeable people in your booth will generate higher quality leads and more sales.
  • If product demonstrations or structured sales presentations are part of the exhibit, make sure that every member of your team is at least loosely scripted and has rehearsed.
  • If you have any special promotions, make sure the booth staff understands all the details and deal terms.
  • Have a formal staff schedule and base the staff rotation on the expected trade show volume at given time. Develop a contingency plan to adjust staffing if needed.
  • Establish a dress code which is consistent with your company’s or organization’s brand and the booth theme.
  • Formalize the lead qualification process and make sure everyone uses the same criteria to qualify prospects and record contact information.

What do you think is the most important factor when selecting someone to staff your trade show booth: product knowledge or positive attitude?

Take the Lead: How to Leverage Tradeshow Prospects

The number-one priority of nearly every tradeshow exhibitor is to leave that event with a high number of qualified leads that with proper follow-up can be converted into future customers. Leads replenish the sales pipeline, bring in new customers, and generate sales revenue. Efforts to do this must start by developing a strategy for gathering and qualifying leads in the early planning stages for an event.

Assess an attendee’s interest in addition to obtaining relevant information

5324511_sRepresentatives of your company who will be working in your booth need to know in advance what information they need to gather from each attendee to determine whether that person has the potential to buy your product or service. In order to determine that, the booth personnel need to assess an attendee’s interest in addition to obtaining other relevant information on their specific needs, budget requirements, and timing for a potential purchase.

Select an automated tracking system

Automated tracking systems can also facilitate the process of capturing prospects’ contact information, though they might lack the personal contact that conveys that your company is truly interested in their needs and how it might be able to help them meet those needs. Automated tracking systems can be rented and work by electronically capturing data by having booth visitors swipe their badges as they enter the booth.

These systems vary, so do your research. Be sure the system’s output provides all the data you require for post-show marketing initiatives. Educate yourself on which equipment and software will best achieve your objectives. If automated systems can’t provide all the information you need, you might be better off opting for manual means of tracking tradeshow leads.

Know as much as possible about each sales prospect

More is better when it comes to information about potential leads. By knowing as much as possible about a sales prospect, you can devise a more effective follow-up strategy that more closely aligned with the specific needs of each person. In addition, detailed information enables you to evaluate the potential of each lead so you can prioritize your efforts. With detailed lead information, you can fine-tune your post-show marketing efforts and focus on the prospects you can most likely to convert to future customers.

Follow-up after the show is also critically important. Be sure and have booth personnel make note of how each prospect would prefer to be contacted by a company representative. After the show, contact prospects by phone, mail, or email. Be sure and follow up—either by a personal call or written contact—within a week of the show. After the show, track leads to determine each show’s effectiveness and expand efforts in shows with the best return on investment (ROI).

Who Makes the Best Trade Show Booth Staff?

What to Consider When Determining the Best Staff for your Trade Show Booth

It may not always be the best idea to have your top salespeople staff your tradeshow display. There are several reasons to consider others to staff your booth.

  1. Most salespeople are born and bred to “close sales” and very few sales can actually be closed at a trade show.
  2. Salespeople will most likely have a number of current customers at the show. Tradeshow marketing objectives are, for the most part, based on gathering leads. It may be better to allow your sales staff the freedom to spend time with their customers and use others to staff your booth.
  3. Salespeople are typically very hard to manage. A well trained, disciplined approach to booth staffing may produce better results.

salespeopleSo if not salespeople, then who does make the best booth staff? There is no one correct answer to this question. I believe that each company needs to look at the goals and objectives that they have established for each show and staff accordingly. Each tradeshow exhibit, large or small, should have a preplanned basic procedure for handling visitors that is designed to properly communicate your chosen message, answer any questions and record lead information for follow-up.

There should be people assigned to greeting and qualifying visitors to the booth. This role should be filled by a person who is approachable, pleasant, smiling, energetic and a good communicator. Choose people to fill this role very carefully, as they will make that first and lasting impression on your prospects. Once a prospect has been qualified, this person should also be capable of delivering a brief presentation on your company.

As conversation with the prospect continues into more depth, there must also be someone in the booth that is very product or service knowledgeable. This could be a technical person, manager, or inside sales representative. Ideally, with the help of your staff, the prospect gets the information they need and leaves your booth with a positive impression of your company.

Think about your goals for the show and make sure to select and send the staff that gives you the best shot at not only meeting your goals, but exceeding them.

Top Ten Tips – How to Work a Tradeshow Booth

Your company has invested a great deal of money into a beautiful tradeshow exhibit and you’ve been selected to work the booth. How do you prepare yourself to make the most of this opportunity?

Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Create a preshow plan. Profile the type of prospect you wish to attract to better focus your efforts. Get a preregistration attendee list and contact as many of the suitable prospects as possible before the show. Extend a personal invitation to your tradeshow booth and give the attendee a reason to stop by – something new for them to see works well. You should contact any very important prospects to try to set up an appointment at the tradeshow.
  2. businessman_handshakeFamiliarize yourself with the entire convention agenda. Be aware of keynote speakers, educational sessions, and social events. Prioritize them and make sure to attend. Be prepared to discuss these sessions with prospects who come to the booth.
  3. Study the design of your exhibit. Read and understand the graphics. Have a plan for giving the prospects a quick tour of the booth and recording lead information for follow-up.
  4. Develop a plan to deal with current customers efficiently so that they do not monopolize precious prospecting time.
  5. Memorize a few greetings. Try not to ask questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Your goal should be to encourage the prospect to talk about themselves or their company so that you can tailor your presentation to their interests.
  6. Be approachable. Refrain from eating in the tradeshow booth, checking your Blackberry, or holding extended conversations with coworkers. It is human nature not to be rude and interrupt people and it will make your tradeshow exhibit seem uninviting.
  7. Be sure to have a disengagement line or two. The best one is “thanks for stopping by”, but if you are talking to an important prospect it might be better to say “where do we go from here?” or “how would you like me to follow up?”
  8. Take notes. There are so many people and so little time. Brief notes will help you to be more effective with your follow-up.
  9. Try to schedule breaks throughout the day to deal with voicemail, email, and just catch your breath. Remember, quality is more important than quantity.
  10. Follow up in a timely manner, meaning the next day. Don’t risk letting your prospect forget you.

Are you interested in exhibit management for your entire tradeshow program? Our exhibit management is based entirely on strategic planning. Contact us today if you are in need of trade show help.