The (Unofficial) Idiot's Three Minute Guide to
Trade Show Displays



Staffing for Trade Show Exhibits

Your trade show exhibiting success is directly linked to the success of your trade show exhibit staffing. If you have bad staffing, it's hard to have a successful trade show exhibit. Many first-time exhibitors spend all their time and energy obsessing over their trade show exhibit, like whether or not they should have a big massive floor exhibit or a small portable table top exhibit, and they spend so much time thinking about the structure of their exhibit that they forget to think about a much more important element - the people (i.e. staffers) who will be in their exhibit booth. So remember the human element, and make sure you follow these ten points for staffing trade show exhibits, and make you next trade show a great success. Whether it's just you or a crew of twenty, you don't want to overlook the importance of the people in your trade show booth. Some veteran trade show exhibitors make think these points are common sense, but from many of the trade show exhibits I've seen, they aren't.

random trade show convention scene 51. STAND UP. Get off your feet, stand up, and keep standing up. Don't sit. Staffer members who are standing are more approachable than those who are sitting with their arms folded, looking off into space. You should stand the entire time you are in your trade show booth (don't forget to wear your comfortable shoes).

2. TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF. Be sure to take care of yourself! Get enough sleep the night before, have a good breakfast, drink plenty of water, and wear comfortable shoes (common sense!).

3. IDENTIFY YOURSELF. Have a name tag and wear it. Make sure it is easily read. And if you have a name that is difficult to pronounce, think about adding a nickname after your real name.

4. BE PERSONAL. Ask your prospect what their name is and then use it. People like a personal touch (figuratively speaking of course). Find out who you are talking to and address them by name. When your conversation is done, be sure to thank them, again using their name.

5. ASK. Find out what your customer's issue or problem is (before you give them the solution). Don't launch right into what you can do for the prospect until after you know what they need. Ask questions, listen, and be sure to find out what they need... only after you know what they need can you then tell them how you can help them.

6. AVOID YES-NO QUESTIONS. Ask open ended questions. When you ask yes-or-no questions, you will probably get a simple yes or no answer (and usually it will be NO) as your potential prospect keeps walking down the aisle looking at all the other trade show exhibits and trade show booths.

7. LISTEN. Follow the 90-10 rule. 90% of your conversation should be listening. Only 10% should be talking. You learn a lot more about your customer with your mouth shut. Ask, and the listen. Listen, Listen, Listen...

8. IGNORE. Don't spend time talking with the other trade show staffers. Trade show exhibit booth business hours are not the time to chat about where to eat dinner or where to watch the ball game. Don't talk to your fellow booth staffers while you are manning your booth (unless it's business, and the business of your customers). Keep all your time free for your potential prospects and focus on them.

9. GIVE / GIVEAWAY. Have trade show giveaways available and hand them out. A simple but useful trade show giveaway (with your business name and contact info - ie website - printed on it) is a very nice way to thank your prospects for spending time talking to you, and to help them remember your company later. When trade show attendees give your a portion of their valuable time talking to you, you should show your appreciation back with trade show giveaways.

10. FOCUS. Focus on your trade show exhibit booth, not the booth next to you or down the aisle (even if they have booth babes, a magician, a trade show savant, or a semi-famous former reality show celebrity signing autographs). Fight the temptation to slip away and "research the competition". Do that after hours instead of watching the ball game. During the hours the trade show exhibits are open, you should be in your exhibit booth, standing, and ready and prepared to do business.

Follow these ten basic points for staffing trade show exhibits, and ensure your next trade show exhibit is a huge success.

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