Your company's participation in a trade show is a significant investment intended to drive business and awareness. While much time, creativity and thought are put into the visuals and environment, the one element that can make or break your efforts is often overlooked - your booth staff. According to CEIR, 80% of the way an exhibit is remembered is not the space itself but the interaction with a staffer. In addition, 98% of the time an exhibit is rated "poor", it is because of the staff. Here are some ways to boost your staff performance and maximize your show investment.
Assigning a single job: When planning booth staffing, sort potential staffers into two groups: engagers and demonstrators. The engagers will work the aisle, inviting passers-by into the exhibit and qualifying them with a short question or two. Prospects can then be passed to a demonstrator for a more in-depth discussion of products and services, and, even if not a prospect, the attendee will be left with a positive impression of your brand. This works even better if you can select which staffers will work your exhibit, allowing you to assign a staffer by personality into his or her natural role.
Staying fresh: Keep staffers working the booth for no longer than four-hour shifts. After that amount of time on the floor, staffers have a difficult time staying focused and fresh, and you want every attendee to feel as if they are the first one the staffer has spoken to that day.
Focusing on apparel: First impressions count in face-to-face marketing, and sloppy attire is something that is noticed immediately. A neatly pressed and polished staff projects a professional appearance. Make sure the apparel is appropriate for your industry: for example, shorts and t-shirts may be fine at a sportswear show, but are probably not acceptable at an event where attendees are physicians.
Remembering training: Even your top salesperson is probably not their best at a trade show. Why not? Because trade show selling is a completely different style than your salesforce uses every day. Your staff will need to be (re)trained on expectations and messaging specific to the show. Engaging in trade show staff training is one of the best investments you can make. From sharing tips on how best to communicate wordlessly to teaching your key messages for different target audiences through actual scripting and practicing attendee interactions, training your staffers for every show can make the difference in your success.
Creating a staffing plan with the same care and deliberation as other show elements ensures your staffers will be focused on your organization's goals and contribute to the success of the show.