Sofia Troutman is the Senior Digital Marketing and Product Innovation Manager for Skyline Exhibits. Sofia heads up Skyline’s marketing efforts in new product development and management, lead generation, exhibitor education, industry relations and market research.
Each Booth Staffer Should Have a Role
There is a perception by some Event Managers that the best booth staffer is always the outgoing sales person who is outspoken and fun. While sales reps can be great staffers, there are other personality types and expertise characteristics that can be just as important to round out your perfect team. Below I outline some key roles for booth staffers candidates you can use to fill those roles at your next trade show.
It does not matter how wonderful your message and service is if you can’t find someone to talk to about it. That is where those people my colleague called “extroverts on steroids” come in. These are the people with the magnetic personality and no discernible fear of rejection. They will reach out to people in the aisle and ask just the right questions or share an enticing tidbit of information to get people to notice your exhibit and engage them in conversation.
This is the person who does not mind being on the spot. Whether it is running a demonstration, presenting new information and in general, being in the spotlight, they can handle the unexpected with ease. They love the attention and are quick with a joke to help the client feel at ease. Some sales people will fill this role but I have also found that creative people can do this very well also.
This is the person who welcomes people and makes them feel at ease. They will make sure they have a place to sit or some water. They are good at observing body language and asking just the right questions. They may or may not have the answers, but they will happily get the right person who does, and they will know who that is because they are good listeners.
Every modern booth that is any larger than a 10’ x 10’ space should have someone who can troubleshoot technical issues. Whether it is getting the monitor to play your videos, setting up a presentation or tethering your phone internet access to your iPad, it is always good to have someone on hand who can help. This should also be the person in charge of planning for any presentation backups, extra cords and for helping you decide what computer you need to have to run your tech.
More information about your company, product and services is available on the internet and therefore, potential clients may already have quite a bit of basic information about your company. In fact, some booth visitors may even be your current clients. In those cases, you will need someone who can answer their more detailed questions and know how to cross-sell or up-sell them as appropriate to their needs. This is a level of knowledge that is not easily covered in your booth staffer training – you will need the real experts. Whether it is an engineer, product manager or customer service representative, these people can be invaluable for those highly-engaged prospects and clients.
This is the person who makes sure staffers know what they are supposed to do and when and where staffers should be. They will give people breaks, ensure visitor appointments are kept and ensure everything is running as planned.
This is that marketing person who knows your brand, your client and how to talk to them. While you can pre-write a press release or schedule tweets, it is invaluable to have someone on staff who can perform on the spot when the opportunity arises. They will be in charge of doing any Facebook live posts, posting impromptu pictures of prize winnings or recording testimonials at the show.
This is the person who is great at easily flowing the conversation from your client’s or prospect’s needs or idle chitchat to next steps. That could be finding out what information they need to have sent to them, setting up a follow-up appointment or getting them on their way if your company is not a good fit for them. Each one of your staffers, with the possible exception of the “Engager,” should be able to fill this role. They need to determine needs and set up next steps. After all, that is why you are at the show to develop and further client relationships.
Do you have all these characteristics in your staffers? Did I miss any? Let me know what your experiences have been with each of these. Certainly, many staffers have the ability to fill several of these roles…but there are some who can’t. Select your staffers carefully because, as you probably already know, a good staff team makes all the difference in obtaining good results from your show.