Staffing Your Trade Show Booth

The people manning your booth can make or break your success at a trade show. Here's how to make sure your staff will be effective.

Without dynamic trade show staffing, your pre-event marketing activities, eye-catching exhibit, effective signage, product demonstrations and high-appeal giveaways can all be wasted. Booth personnel are the lifeblood of your exhibit strategy.

During your events, booth representatives carry the responsibility for prequalifying your exhibit visitors, establishing relationships that convert prospects into leads and then into buyers, and personifying your product's quality and image.

In other words, the effectiveness of your exhibit team can make or break your success at any given show.

Therefore, you should staff your booth with the best and the brightest representatives from your organization--those who deeply believe in your product, have superior communication and customer-service skills, and fully understand your objectives.

If you must use volunteers, they need to have extensive training on all aspects of your organization, products, goals, target audience and sales message. Here are some guidelines for effective trade show staffing:

  • Your booth personnel must be friendly, lively and fully engaged in achieving your company's goals.

  • Training for trade show staffing should include a well-practiced script where attendees are greeted quickly: Staffers introduce themselves with a one-minute overview of your company and its benefits, ask questions to find out if the visitors are good prospects, then spend another 30 seconds giving details on products or services and getting visitor information for effective follow-up after the event.

  • Tell trade show personnel what'll be expected of them. This includes how to dress, when to arrive, how long they'll need to staff the booth, proper trade show etiquette (i.e. no eating, drinking or sitting down), and, above all, remaining polite and professional.

  • Don't overstaff your booth. Staffing your exhibit area with too many people may turn away potential visitors who may think your exhibit is too crowded to navigate.

When you return from the show, have your booth representatives follow up with leads immediately with phone calls, packets, personal letters and invitations for meetings to discuss next steps.

Jules Sowder is an executive marketing advisor with 20 years of experience developing strategic marketing and sales solutions for businesses. For more information, visit her resource website

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