Trade show staffing strategies

Trade show staffing strategies

Show Off Your Trade Show Staffing Strategies

By this time you’ve identified your staff best suited to achieve your goals at the trade show: they’re friendly, fully engaged, good conversationalists, polite, motivated, know what’s expected of them, and have practiced the company speeches. But what about your trade show staffing strategies? But do you have enough staff? And other than staffing the booth itself, what other special assignments can they undertake to maximize your presence at the show?

What are some of the trade show staffing strategies you can use to improve your trade show results?

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research estimates that approximately 16 to 20% of visitors will have at least some level of interest in your product or service. With this statistic in mind, how many staff will you need for the entire show?

First, ask the show sponsor how many attendees are predicted to register for the event. You can then calculate the total number of prospects by multiplying the number of registered visitors by 16%. Using 16% is a conservative approach; if you think your presentation and pre-show marketing strategy will be even more successful, then multiply by 20% instead of 16%. This number yields the total number of prospects, based upon the entire show attendance.

Next, take this number and multiply it by 50%, if the show is aimed at a general audience. Conversely, if the show is more highly targeted, then multiply by 40% instead. Now take your answer and divide it by the total number of hours your booth will be open to yield the total number of exhibit visitors per hour.

Finally, divide the total number of exhibit visitors per hour by the number of contacts and/or demonstrations your staff thinks they can handle in 1 hour. Now you can estimate how many staff are needed to look after the exhibit at any given time. Keep in mind, though, that no matter how many staff you think you need, your sales representatives will require approximately 30% of your overall exhibit space. Or use the exhibit space rule and allocate 50 square feet per staff member. In other words, don’t overcrowd your exhibit!

Avoid exhibit burnout by scheduling your staff for 2 to 3 hour shifts, with an extended break between each shift. Remind staff that they must arrive 15 minutes prior to their shift to guarantee a smooth transition. The lucky staff who are assigned the first shift of the day must ensure they ‘re ready for action before the doors open to visitors. Be prepared – don’t let visitors see you frantically searching for those wayward brochures or kick-starting your computer in frustration.

Consider some “unique” exhibit assignments to keep your company focused at the show. For instance, it’s a good idea to assign a senior staff member to conduct daily briefings. Are the staff members using the best sales strategies? Are they asking those important open-ended qualifying questions? Did Bob remember his breath mints? It’s the responsibility of the senior employee to constantly monitor the conduct of booth staff. He or she can also check that lead generation/qualification procedures are being followed, and manage the staff schedule for flawless attention to exhibit prospects.

Another exhibit staffer can be assigned the task of “competitor patrol”. Check out your competitors to see what’s new in product lines, sales strategies, displays, and pricing. While one employee is “researching”, another can take advantage of learning opportunities presented at the show. Listening to a seminar can yield valuable industry trend data, and is an opportunity for that exhibit staff member to mingle with attendees away from your own exhibit.

And what about assigning exhibit staff the task of evaluating other show displays? Trade shows are a great way to learn more about other marketing and communications strategies, giveaways, and graphics. Learn what works and what doesn’t work, and file that information for an even better performance at future events.

So with some simple math calculations, your company can best determine how many employees will be needed to effectively staff your exhibit. And try assigning your staff some unique roles to maintain their interest and motivation. Identify a senior staff member, a competition shopper, a sage seminar attendee, and some exhibit display critics to accomplish more than just selling at a trade show. Employing some of these smart trade show staffing strategies can make your event attendance even more profitable.