Friday, May 23, 2008

When There Is Not Enough Staff For A Trade Show Booth

Writen by Julia O'Connor

It happens on occasion that you don't have enough staff, or the right staff, for a trade show. Often this occurs to small and/or new companies, when two shows overlap or there are staff conflicts – sales meetings vs trade shows. What to do? Here are Five Tips for finding appropriate folks to work the show for you....

..... CUSTOMERS are your number one cheerleaders - if you have done right by them. Offer to pay them real money. Some will decline, but if they accept don't begrudge them the bucks - maybe they think it just good business, maybe they really need it for a reason that is none of your business. It's a cost of doing business. Yes, pay for expenses proportional to their time - if they were planning to attend. If not, yes pay expenses as you would for any staff member. Give them time to attend an educational session or two. TRAIN THEM. There is company information they are not privy to, so be sure they know what they can talk about and what you don't want them to talk about. Discuss any problems with your product and this client in advance.

..... RETIREES, who are recent, especially those well respected within an industry association such as former national or show city chapter officer. Maybe your former top sales guy/gal. As long as the reputation is clean and they left on good terms - did you fire him, did she get her full pension? - this is sometimes a draw. Bring him up to speed. Pay him and-or offer a package such as (1) all expenses for the event, though he only works one day (2) expenses for retiree and spouse - offer but understand if he just wants to come by himself - it's a vacation for him.

..... CUSTOMER SERVICE REPS are great, especially who handle inside customer service or inside sales. Why? They know both company and products. They are attuned to voices, names, problems - plus customers love to put the voice to the face - Hey Gloria, I've been talking to you for years.

..... VOLUNTEERS because I always suggest to clients to write a job description and post it internally. Would you rather have an enthusiastic staffer who can be quickly trained than an assigned drone who doesn't want to be there? You know you can spot a bored and boring staffer from 70ft out.

..... HIRE AN EXPERT - There are two kinds - the hostess who greets, takes info but does not market the company, and the professional presenter. The first can often be found through local or national staffing companies. Be sure to ask for someone with trade show experience. The second is with companies such as that of Heidi Miller whom I do recommend -

Julia O'Connor - Speaker, Author, Consultant - writes about practical aspects of trade shows. As president of Trade Show Training, inc,, started in 1995, she works with companies in a variety of industries to improve their bottom line and marketing opportunities at trade shows.

Julia is an expert in the psychology of the trade show environment and uses this expertise in sales training and management seminars. Her most popular program - Camp Sho-M-Sel-M, will be held in Las Vegas, December 5-6, 2006. This is a 2-day program - Day 1 is How Trade Shows Impact Sales and Marketing Seminar. Day 2 is Field Trip Day - Walk-through of the Las Vegas Convention Center, discussion about unions and a half-day visit to a real trade show.

Contact her at 804-355-7800 or check the site

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