Optimizing Trade Show Performance with Staffing Strategies

our trade show display staff needs to be carefully selected and trained in strategies and techniques for use on the day, and this means you need to formulate protocols for dealing with logistics through to staff attire and decorum on the booth, through to how to manage attendee/prospects.  Frequently, companies find that they need to recruit temporary staff into to handle the exhibition on the day, but you still need to ensure everyone knows their responsibilities and duties.

Booth staff should have a good personality and be approachable; they should be confident and have a good appearance.  Certainly, booth staff should be capable of initiating and holding a business conversation aimed at introducing your business and extracting relevant information from the attendee as part of a defined qualification process.  Clearly, individuals with sales training are ideal but this should not be your only selection criteria in selecting staff.

Booth staff should be properly prepared and trained with a script for them to use. Typically, this script will involve a fast ice-breaker greeting, moving on to a very brief presentation of your business (hint: more than one minute is too long).  The script should have plenty of open questions to be asked of the attendee in order to get them to open up about what they are looking for, what their needs are, what timescales there are for transacting business and who will actually be making the decision within their company.  This should end with a promise of a follow-up after the trade show, unless the prospect is hot and looking to do business now, in which case you should have a pre-determined procedure for handling the sale there and then.

Ensure booth staff are inducted in standards of dress, the logistics of the day (where they eat and take breaks – don’t have staff eating in full view of attendees, nor should they be sitting down chatting with one another).  You should also have a rotation in place, which will allow your staff to remain fresh and alert during the whole of the trade show day and also provide them with the opportunity to circulate around the show arena and proactively looking for prospects from fellow exhibitors.

Finally,  don’t have too many people manning the booth as this can be intimidating for attendees or make your booth look too crowded.  Look at your business objectives for the trade show and see how many prospects you expect to be qualifying, then split that into a reasonable number for one person and find out from these two numbers how many staff you need on the booth plus any support staff.

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