Staffing Your Booth for Success
Updated: Mar 14
by Jim Cermak
One of the most important things you’re going to be thinking about is who should work the booth. If you’re a small business, you don’t have many choices – you go with who you got – and that might be just you!
· You need the RIGHT people who will give you the best chance for hitting your goals.
Here are the 4 STEPS that will help you staff for success!
· Step 1 – figure how many people you need to effectively work your booth. Start with how big the booth is. If you have a small 10’ x 10’ booth, you don’t want too many people – maybe 2-3. Any more than that and you’ll be bumping into each other. If you have a larger booth, make sure you have enough people, or else it can look empty.
· Next, find out how many people will be attending the show. Be sure you are staffed so you can take advantage of the crowds.
· Step 2 – figure out who you have available. Make a list of each person who you would consider working in your booth or have worked shows before.
· Write down some of the pros and cons of each of these people. Include how are they when working in a booth.
· One key thing to identify about each person – are they an introvert or an extrovert?
· Extroverts are those who love engaging people and get their energy through people. Introverts on the other hand, like their alone time and can be intimidated by approaching others. Being an introvert is not a negative, just need to understand their strengths and how they can add value to your booth.
· Options for when you need more people to work your booth than you have available:
· Think outside the box – or at least outside your business. Are there any colleagues, family or friends who you trust to be a strong ambassador of your brand and who can be effective at the show?
· Reach out to a staffing agency that specializes in placing product specialists and other outgoing extroverts at trade shows.
· Step 3 – Make a list of the tasks you have at a show.
· Possible tasks for inside the booth:
· Get people into your booth or to your table
· Qualify the attendees
· Gather contact information or scan badges
· Give demos or schedule demos
· Answer questions
· Give out information and literature
· Write orders
· Give out promo item, sign people up for your drawing, or help them play a game
· INSIDE THE BOOTH: Group all these things down to two categories – #1) engaging people and #2) giving out info.
· Think about your booth like it was a restaurant. Restaurants have a front of house and back of house, and your booth has a front of booth and back of booth.
· The front of the house at a restaurant is where customer interaction happens. A host greets the guest, and servers take their order and make sure they’re happy. The back of the house prepares the food and puts it on the plate in a way that will be appetizing to the customer.
· And so it is with your booth. The front of the booth engages with people, and the back of the booth gives info.
Possible tasks for outside the booth:
· Industry research
· Meet with customers or prospects
· Networking with other exhibitors
· Competitive research
· Host a reception
· Host a workshop/give a talk
· Take advantage of all the things that happen outside your booth!
· Step 4 – Assign your people to the tasks they will be best for
· Take the list of people you made in Step 2, match them up with the list of tasks from Step 3.
· First think about what you will do in the booth. Look at your list and find your extroverts – they should handle the front of the booth tasks. You want to get your extroverts out front engaging the attendees.
· Introverts should be in the Back of the Booth. Introverts are the best people to do demos and answer questions.
· If you are a solopreneur or the only person from your company working a show, you need to become an extrovert even if just for the length of the show.
· You and your booth staff are responsible for the success of the show. Period! It’s not your banners, your display, your literature, your giveaway or anything else. You need to engage attendees. Without engagement, you will not have good results.
· Also assign tasks for opportunities that lie outside your booth like gathering key industry research, attending a workshop or seminar, researching the competition, and more.
· Find out far in advance of the show if you have the opportunity to give a talk, present at a workshop, or even host an event for your customers. This can add instant credibility to your company and also drive people to your booth.
· Special Considerations: having salespeople at your booth
· However – a couple of things to consider:
· Salespeople are Type A personalities meaning they do things their own way and on their own schedule. Be clear with your instructions on what you want and need them to do or they may be doing something else.
· Also – if you have multiple salespeople in your organization and not all of them will be at the show, be aware of lead hoarding by those in the booth.
· BONUS: Go over to our website at tradeshowu.biz, sign up for our email list, and I’ll send you our SMART Goals worksheet specifically for Trade Shows! It will take you step by step through setting your trade show goals so you can achieve success and maximize your ROI!