Do’s and Don’ts for Your Trade Show Exhibit Staff

Behind every great trade show booth is a great staff. Your staff members have the power to make or break your overall trade show experience. These men and women are the metaphorical bridge between your product and prospective clients. When hiring trade show staff, it’s important you’re getting the best of the best. We know how important staffing is, which is why we’ve compiled a list of staffing dos and don’ts to guide you in your trade show adventure:

Do’s:

1. Do assign roles based on personality
So you’ve got your staff members all rounded up. Now it’s time to assign their task for the day. Typically, a booth will spread its staff members out into different roles including host, models, greeters, demonstrators, crowd gatherers, lead generators and sales assistants. Here’s a quick rundown of these roles; the host will typically act as a brand ambassador, distributing product samples and tending to the food and beverage station. Models are meant to attract attention based on their looks and friendly demeanor. Having a good-looking man or woman dressing in your company colors can be (unsurprisingly) effective in attracting attention from prospects. Greeters are responsible for ushering prospects into the booth and answering any questions they might have upon entering. Demonstrators are in charge of showing how your product/service actually works and should know more than their fair share about your company as they’re the ones giving the grand tour of what you’re about. Crowd gatherers should be outgoing, loud, and friendly. They’re in charge of drumming up interest and attracting attendees to your booth. Lead generators would be in charge of targeting serious prospects and getting them interested in the product at a deeper level. Sales assistants will handle the sales meeting schedule, recording orders and making sure salespeople are available for demos. So, keeping in mind the diversity of these roles, it’s important to hire wisely. It’s easy to look at someone’s resume and assume they’re good at sales just because they’ve worked in retail. Have a face-to-face meeting and consider their personality and general disposition. Place them in a role that best suits who they are and your booth will thrive.

2. Do enforce grooming standards
Grooming standards in the workplace can be a sensitive subject. It’s not acceptable to require certain employees to wear certain clothing items or hair styles, so tread this area delicately when you bring it up in your training session. For starters, it’s a good idea to choose people who presented themselves well in the interview, that way, you’ll know there won’t be any qualms when it comes to following your company’s dress code. Keep the dress code simple and comfortable. Have something about your staff’s uniform that’s different from all the other booths, that way your staff members will be more apt to wear it and feel excited to be a part of a special and unique company like yours. In general, it’s always good to encourage your employees to wear a subtle fragrance, nicely styled hair, and basic, flat dress shoes.

3. Do provide regular breaks
Make sure you schedule regular, paid breaks for your staff. Most cities require a half-hour break every 8 hours, but it does tend to vary. Review the labor laws of the locale and make sure you’re following the rules. Some staffing agencies will also have their own requirements regarding breaks. A great way to keep your staff members’ energy up is to provide a lunch allowance or snacks for them to munch on throughout the day. Discourage them from using your exhibit as a “break area.” Instead, tell your staff members to either take their break out in common areas or explore another booth. You don’t want prospects to see your staff looking “lazy,” sitting on the booth furniture that’s meant for attendees.

4. Do rehearse before the show
They say that practice makes perfect and this is especially true when it comes to trade show pitches. Hand out a 30-second pitch, written out on card stock as an easy to answer to the popular question, “So, what do you guys do?” Give these cards out on training day and have another set ready to hand out before the booth opens. Write out a longer pitch for your lead generators and demonstrators so they have all the information they need to make a sale. Hold a practice session on training day by posing common questions to your staff members and see how they respond. This can be a great way to get their confidence up, and come trade show day, you can be sure they’ll know exactly what to say.

Don’ts:

1. Don’t skimp on training
Just because your staff members have impressive resumes, doesn’t mean they’re experts on your product. It’s always a good idea to give your staff members either a free product or free access to your service so they can see what it’s like to be a customer. Have a paid training session a couple of days before the actual event to relay things like expectations, dress code, how to pitch and a general run-down of how the day will go. This will also give your staff members the chance to ask questions about your company and give them a chance to really “get excited” about what you do.

2. Don’t pay the bare minimum
You might be tempted to pay your staff members the bare minimum, but consider paying them a little bit more. Working a trade show requires a lot of preparation both in terms of memorizing the pitch, wearing the right clothes and being exactly the kind of person the company expects. One way to supplement a lower wage is to provide a free lunch and perhaps a voucher for whatever product or service your company offers. This might not seem like a big deal, but it can make a big difference in your staff members’ general enthusiasm for the job.

3. Don’t wait until last minute to hire
Hire for your event at least 2-3 weeks in advance to assure that your staff members will be available. Hire too early and you risk your employees flaking out if and when something better comes along. Do it too late and you risk having to move to unaccredited sources like Craigslist due to other companies recruiting from the same local agencies. However, if you use employees who already work for you, this typically won’t be an issue.

4. Don’t allow cellphones on the floor
Everyone’s got a phone in their pocket these days and if phones or tablets are crucial to your booth experience then by all means, keep them on hand. However, if they’re not an integral part of your booth design and experience, have your staff members keep their phones off their person in a protected area that you will provide for them. We all know how distracting phones can be, and the last thing you want is for your staff members to be constantly checking their messages while on the floor. Not only does it look unprofessional, but it takes their minds away from the task at hand. Give your staff members an opportunity to have their phone for their break, but require that they put it back in the “safe” for the rest of their shift. It’ll be that much easier to convince your workers to do this if you pay above a decent wage and provide a free lunch!

Need more tips and advice? Consider partnering with a professional trade show service provider like Evo Exhibits. Our experts work with you to identify your unique goals, create a booth tailored to your needs, and conduct post-show follow-ups for success at all current and future trade shows. Get in touch today!

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