Why You Might Need Professional Staffers to Knock Your Trade Show Investment Out of the Park

How-To Tips

While a stellar team of booth staffers can’t single-handedly guarantee a home run at your event, poor staffing almost certainly guarantees striking out. To avoid a trade show slump, you need to draft the right squad to ensure you’re getting quality leads. Sometimes, that means reaching outside your organization to recruit some All-Stars who can help you hit a grand slam. Like we did when we sat down with Becky Jo Schwarz, President & Chief Difference Maker for CE Talent, to find out what professional staffers bring to the plate.

TL;DR (BUT YOU REALLY SHOULD READ IT!)

  • Staffing Options: In-House, Professional, and Hybrid rosters.
  • Why a Staffing Agency might be a good fit.
  • But what do I get and how much will it cost?
  • Traits of Effective Staffers: Inquisitive, Engaging, Team Player.
  • Coaching tips to get the most from your key players.

Building Your All-Star Team: Staffing Options

When it comes to staffing your booth, consider these roster options:

All In-House Staffers:
Utilizing your in-house team ensures that staffers are deeply knowledgeable about your products and company culture. They bring a personal touch and a sense of ownership to their interactions. Think of them as your homegrown talent, ready to play ball.

All (Mostly) Professional Staffers:
For companies looking to maximize efficiency and impact, hiring a team of professional booth staffers can provide a polished and consistent presence. These pros are trained specifically for trade show environments and can seamlessly integrate with your brand. They’re your pinch hitters — always ready to step up to the plate.

Hybrid Approach:
Combining in-house staff with professional/agency staffers can offer the best of both worlds. In-house staff can handle detailed product inquiries, while professional staffers manage crowd engagement and lead qualification. It’s like mixing seasoned veterans with fresh rookies — experience meets enthusiasm.

Team Management: Why a Professional Agency Can Help

Engaging a professional staffing agency can significantly enhance your trade show strategy. Agencies offer:

Expertise: Agencies specialize in understanding the dynamics of trade shows and can provide staffers who are adept at drawing in and engaging attendees. They’re your coaches, helping strategize and execute plays.

Scalability: Need more hands on deck for a major event? Agencies can quickly scale your staffing needs up or down. They’re like your bullpen — ready to bring in relief pitchers when the game gets intense.

Reliability: With a pool of vetted professionals, agencies can ensure that your booth is always fully staffed with competent individuals. No more last-minute panics or frantic calls to the farm team.

Objectivity: Professional staffers bring an unbiased perspective, focusing purely on the attendee experience without internal biases. They won’t get caught up in office politics or who stole second base.

Database of Talent: You can custom tailor your talent from gender, age, attractiveness (you’d be surprised by how many exhibitors absolutely do not want a “booth babe”). Think of it as designing your team uniform — pinstripes, or no?

Specialized Knowledge: Looking for someone with a background in health care? There’s someone for that. Need a pitcher with a 100mph fastball? Might be tougher, but ask anyway.

Evaluation: Top-notch agencies will watch and evaluate staffers and report back to the client about who made the roster for the next event and who should be cut.

Who’s in the Bullpen and How Much Do They Cost? (Ballpark figures)

Welcomer: $715/day
Friendly faces who greet visitors and make them feel comfortable. Think of them as your lead-off hitters, setting the tone for the game.

Crowd Gatherer/Lead Generator: $780/day
Energetic individuals who draw people to your booth with engaging tactics. They’re the outfielders, always on the lookout for the next big catch.

Lead Qualifiers: $975/day
Skilled communicators who identify and qualify potential leads for follow-up. The scouts, identifying the best prospects for your team.

Booth Manager: $1,105/day
Overseers who ensure everything runs smoothly and efficiently. The team captains who keep everyone in line and focused.

Specialists: Prices vary depending on the talent
Experts such as presenters, performers, singers, jugglers, magicians, etc., who can effectively weave company messaging into can’t-miss performances. The power hitters, knocking messaging out of the park.

Squeeze Play: Thinking of Going It Alone?

If you’re determined to stick with the homegrown talent, we stole some tips from Becky Jo like the Astros steal pitching signs.

Traits of Effective Staffers

There are a lot of variables at play, but here are Becky Jo’s must-haves traits for everyone in her lineup:

  • Inquisitive: Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it fuels the perfect staffer. You need someone who can ask the right questions and, more importantly, listen to the answers.
  • Engaging: They should be able to turn heads faster than a curveball. And they need hit that sweet spot of being “respectfully aggressive.”
  • Team Player: Some salespeople only care about scoring runs in their own region. Leave them off the roster. You’re looking for true team players.
Coaching Tips to Get the Most from Your Key Players
  • Use Positive Reinforcement: Becky Jo says, “I’m always on the lookout for proper booth behavior. And when I see it, I reward it with something small like a Starbucks gift card. Sometimes I even carry a pocketful of $2 bills to hand out when I see something good.”
  • Change the Way You View Presentations: Becky Jo says, “When I prep presenters, I tell them (contrary to popular wisdom) that their job is not to inform — it’s to identify. What I mean is that they are reading the audience for cues that something in the presentation piqued their interest, whether it’s pointing to the screen or taking a photo with their phone. Be sure a staffer engages them immediately after the presentation.” Even better, have a few staffers on hand identifying the prospects so that everyone has a target by the end of the demo or talk.

Wrapping It Up

By carefully scouting and training your booth staffers, you can significantly enhance your trade show presence and knock it out of the park with attendees. Whether you go with an all in-house lineup, a hybrid roster, or rely primarily on professional All-Stars, having the right players on your team can make all the difference.

Stay smart, stay tuned for more insights, and most importantly, stay awesome!

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