You budget time, money, blood, sweat, and tears to a tradeshow.  In the eyes of some co-workers, you are a ‘glorified party planner.’  How many times have you heard that one?  Well, now that you have planned your party, cleaned house, set out decorations, don’t forget the most important thing – be the hostess with the mostest!

Yes, staffing your booth is a critical piece of ensuring tradeshow success.  Some people relish the idea of being out of the office on a ‘company-paid vacation.’  Tradeshow venues are in vacation cities for a reason – to attract attendees to bring the family and stay longer.  This shouldn’t be the mindset of the booth staff.

There are 4 key things for Booth Success:  Engage, Qualify, Present, Close

1.        Engage – There is a lot of noise at a tradeshow.  It’s like walking through the tv section at an electronics warehouse where every display is set on a different channel at 2 minutes before the hour – commercial after commercial.  Your booth staffer has a tiny window of opportunity to engage that passerby.  Think of a question or statement that sounds comfortable in the words of the staffer and not like a used car ad.  This may take some time, but it is very important.

2.       Qualify – Sometimes those who stop to talk have none of the critical elements you’re looking for in a client – Money, Authority, Need.  They are simply passersby who are looking for someone to talk to.  After that attendee stops, it’s important to have 2 -3 qualifying items to be sure that the person you are talking to – while 10 more walk by – are worth that precious time.

3.       Present – Highlight the key benefits of the product.  Save the advantages for the handout that they can read in the hotel room.  It’s usually helpful to have a repertoire of 3-4 real world stories to share with the prospect.

4.       Close – How we all wish this meant close the sale!  Sadly, usually it doesn’t.  This close refers to a mutually agreed-upon next step.  Agree to talk next week, set up a face-to-face meeting or online demonstration.  Be sure to agree upon (and document for future reference) the what’s, where’s, and when’s.

If you take time to fully prepare your booth staff, as you spent time preparing the booth & giveaways, you’ll realize greater success with shows – more qualified leads and higher results.