Is your booth staff a help or a hindrance?

You spend a ton to exhibit in shows.  Your long list of costs  include the real estate expense for that great booth location, the display and graphics costs for a professional impression, the marketing materials, give-a-ways and shipping fees to get everything to the show.  And don’t forget the time the sales staff spends out of the office and all the travel, accommodations and meals you have to pay for.

What you may not realize is that no matter where your booth is located, how impressive your display is, how cool your freebees are or how much pre-show marketing you did to attract attendees, it will all be wasted unless the people representing your company in the booth make a good first impression.  You think I am kidding?  Well here is a startling statistic from CEIR, the center for exhibition industry research. “80% of attendees base their opinions of your company on the actions of your employees at the booth”.  This is a
great incentive to provide advanced exhibit marketing training to the people who will be representing your company at the show. Unfortunately most businesses never get that memo.  The common practice is to send the sales team to work the booth. The assumption is that they’ve been selling for years so they should know how to sell on the show floor. This is somewhat true, but there are many differences between selling in the field and selling at a show.   Time to engage and qualify is limited, there are multiple distractions and the environment is noisy. A different sales strategy is required.  Unless taught otherwise, the sales person will
use the same pitch at the booth they use on the road or in the office.  The result is multiple representatives giving three different sets of information to prospects with no ability to determine why one person is successful booking appointments or selling products and the
others are not.  Without a consistent marketing message and call to action from each person in the booth you will be at a loss
to determine what works and what doesn’t.  Sales people are ego driven and take pride in their personal
techniques.  It is a difficult task to change someone’s behavior if they have been doing the same thing for years.  One way to get everyone on the same page and provide an opportunity to quantify results is by brainstorming with your team
before the show.  Develop a simple sales script that emphasizes customer benefits, showcases product features, highlights
services, qualifies or disqualifies and asks for the sale or lead.  If you write it down and require them to use it consistently, you will be able to track results from day to day.  A random approach by every different salesperson could never be tracked in that way.
Give it a try and let me know how it works out.

Susan Ratliff. The Exhibit Expert,


2 Responses to “Is your booth staff a help or a hindrance?”

  1. 1 Rainey Richards August 19, 2011 at 10:53 am

    I’d like to include this article in our exhibitor e-newsletter. May I do so with your permission please? I can also include a link back to your website if you’d lik.

  2. 2 susanratliff August 20, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Hi Rainey,
    I am delighted to let you include my article in your exhibitor newsletter if you would please attach the bio below along with a link to my website.
    Is there another topic you would like an article on? I also have some great tip sheets for exhibitors. Does your event hire speakers? I would love to present my “Exhibit Like an Expert” seminar for the vendors or “How to get your name in the News” for attendees? Have a super show!

    Bio: Susan Ratliff is The Exhibit Expert. She is an author, speaker, event producer and founder of an award-winning portable display company. In the tradeshow trenches for 20 years, Susan knows what it takes to turn any exhibit booth into a powerful profit center.
    Contact Susan to speak to your group or for any tradeshow display needs. or visit

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