The 6 Booth Staffers We All See (though we wish we wouldn’t!)

At a trade show, a vendor’s main goal is to get noticed.  They want their booth to be the talk of the show due to the knowledge of their staff or the usefulness of their product, but sometimes it backfires when one of their employees creates an embarrassing persona for himself!  We’ve all seen these people at shows, though we may wish we hadn’t!

Squirrel Hoarding His Nuts     Uninterested     Overeager Carnie

The Overeager Carnie:

Typical Saying: “Step right up, step right up!!  Have I got the product for you!!!”

We get it.  It’s exciting to be in a room with so many opportunities and a little nerve-wracking to think of how you are going to impress all those potential clients, but these Energizer Bunnies of the exhibition center take it way too far.  They force their way to the edge of the aisle, calling out to anyone and everyone to come see the best darn product since sliced bread!  Energy is good for any sales situation, but too much begins to look fake and people passing their booth feel like they’ve stepped out of the trade show and into a traveling circus!

The Uninterested:

Typical Saying: “…”

Ever been interested in a booth’s product and had to spend ages searching for an employee who didn’t consider himself too busy to answer your questions? Whether they’re deep in conversation with their coworkers or completely shutting out the entire world to read their newspaper, these booth staffers make it perfectly clear that you are infringing on their time.  After what feels like hours of scouring the booth for someone to help you, you decide to leave them to their solitude, wondering what they expected to do at a trade show if not talk to people!

The Texter:

Typical Saying: “OMG LOL”

Once The Texter’s phone comes out, it’s like some indestructible force field surrounds him, preventing him from any contact with the outside world until he’s finally beaten his best score at Angry Birds.  A parade of dancing elephants could have passed through the convention center and he would be none the wiser as long as that phone is in his hands.

The Stalker:

Typical Saying: “Fancy meeting you here again!”

You sit next to a perfectly nice person at one of the show lectures.  He mentions his product and it’s exactly what you’re looking for so you exchange business cards.  You leave the seminar and all seems to be well…until you start seeing him everywhere!  You pass him in the hallway, he tries to strike up conversation.  You head to the elevator after happy hour, he’s there waiting for you.  You go visit another booth, he’s right next to you, shoving his way into another conversation with you.  Soon you consider changing your name, dying your hair, and disappearing without a trace just to escape another awkward encounter.  His attempts to be friendly backfire substantially when you find yourself shredding his business card as soon as you finally stop feeling like you’re being watched!

The Squirrel Hoarding His Nuts

Typical Saying: “*crunchcrunchcrunch*”

There are few things more awkward than trying to talk to someone who has to keep covering their mouth because they won’t stop snacking!  Like a squirrel, this trade show baddie keeps stuffing more and more nuts, chips, pizza, or whatever else is available into their mouth the entire time you’re speaking to them.  They shoot out stats about their product between bites, but you just find yourself fervently hoping that he doesn’t accidentally spit all over you!

The Car Salesman:

Typical Saying: “You don’t need this, but let me try to sell it to you anyway!”

The fast-talking Car Salesman will say anything to try to get a sale, but all you really get from him is a strong aura of smarmy.  Even after you say you’re not interested, he’ll rave about how amazing his product is, or how great a deal he can get you for something you don’t even need!  If you try to escape his iron grip, he finds a way to corner you and draw you back into the booth until you finally manage to break free, screaming to try to warn any unsuspecting passersby as you sprint back to the safety of the crowd!

These staffer archetypes have been at every trade show since the dawn of time.  Even though their behavior so obviously turns off potential clients, more and more offenders keep popping up!  Keep an eye out for these types in the staffers of your own booth, so your booth becomes trade show famous for only the right reasons.  Let your awesome product be the talk of the show, not your staffer’s antics!

What about you?  Is there another trade show horror story you’ve encountered people should be on the lookout for?

-by Jenna Marie, Chief Code Breaker

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Mission: Trade Show

So you’ve bought your booth space for the next trade show?  How much is it really costing you though? With the cost of displays, salaries for employees manning the booth, and promotional items, you are probably spending too much to risk an unsuccessful show, but how can you be certain your booth will draw in the contacts necessary to make your time and money worthwhile?

Think ahead.  Every good spy knows the importance of useful contacts.  You wouldn’t go into an important top secret mission without knowing who to meet, so why would you go to a trade show without knowing potential clients? Reach out through social media and try to find, and get to know, other people who will be there so you have leads before you even walk in the door.

Creativity.  Draw a crowd with a game or video.  Find a clever way to draw people into your booth that pertains to your particular business.  Anything that will help you establish a more personal relationship with potential clients is fair game, so be creative!

Effective Displays.  Small booths can be spectacular! Get creative with graphics and eye catching displays that will stand out from the rest.

This unique display fits perfectly in a 10-ft box space, but stands a crowd-attracting 11 feet tall!  While personalized booths like this may cost a bit more, they will pull their weight by attracting floods of impressed passersby.

Effective Staff.  Just as super sleuths are trained well before going out into the field, it’s important to train your staff beforehand if you want a truly successful show. It could be helpful to come up with a list of conversation openers to break the ice with potential clients without getting straight to business.  Dress your staff in black pants and branded, brightly colored shirts to complete the professional look.

A little planning plus a little more investment might just catch the eye of your dream revenue client!  How much are you willing to put into your next show?

-by Jenna Marie, Chief Code Breaker

The Business Card Investigation

Undercover Printer is out networking in the business community — a lot! We see all types of companies getting the word out and building relationships. We also see a lot of businesses making one huge mistake – they are seriously damaging their first impressions by handing out common, boring, flat business cards.

Did you know that the business card is the #1 marketing piece that people hang onto? It is small, fits into a wallet or suit pocket, and carries all of the necessary contact information a person needs. It is the one piece that never goes out of style – and will continue to be used when all the other electronic media completely takes over.Custom-business-cards-undercover-printerUndercover Printer sells more business cards than we do any other marketing piece. We print all sorts of cards, including the aforementioned high demand common boring cards – the cards that are so affordable everybody thinks they are getting a huge deal – but is it a great deal is it if your card gets tossed after cocktails?

A business card is like the front of your store in the networking world. If created properly, it tells people who you are, what you do, and what kind of company you are. Take a look through the stack of cards I am sure you have somewhere on your desk. Which ones stand out? Which are memorable?

die-cut-silk-business-cards-undercover-printerThere are a ton of options out there for affordable, creative, stand-out cards. Of course, we offer these options to our clients, but whomever you use for design and printing – if your cards are not a showpiece, isn’t it time to invest some of your marketing dollars into the front of your “store”.

Click here for some more ideas on Customizing Your Business Cards.



There is nothing like the power of a good connection. Just by mentioning garanimals in last month’s post, we were contacted by the company via Twitter (@garanimals). And what a cool company they are. We may never do direct business with them..but, then again, we just might!

It is astounding the number of ways to connect with your clients and prospects, and to connect them with each other. Building a network and learning how to work those connections is invaluable to the success of your business.

Are You Connecting your Connections?
Helping others connect is truly the key to building a successful network. Hiding in your network may be your client’s dream connection that could change their business. Take a little extra time when meeting with your clients to see how you can help them, and who you may already know that can solve that problem. Everyone is looking to meet someone –and that someone just might be your next door neighbor! Always be on the lookout for connecting others!

Networking or Notworking?

So many businesses are jumping on the networking bandwagon to increase their referral sales. But is your networking really working? Are you meeting the right people to add to you business circle or just finding yourself hanging out at the bar with a few friends? Or both?

  • Take time to research the events you plan to attend and walk in with a plan for success. At first glance, some events seem like a success due to the flurry of attention you may get as a newbie. But, are the right contacts at this event for you to expand your referral circle?  If you don’t leave every event with at least one good contact to follow up with, the event may not be one worth attending again.
  • When joining an organized referral group such as a lead share or a BNI chapter, do your homework and make sure you can afford the time commitment to really make it a success. Also, be sure you get into the best group for your business. Every group has its own culture and mix of members. “Court” several groups to find the one that suits your culture and that has the members you want to build relationships with and can refer business to.
  • Investment vs. Return. The monetary investment may not be that much, but the time commitment can be very expensive. Every three to six months, run a revenue report and check off every sale you received as a result of the various networking activities. This is a great tool when deciding which events to continue pursuing, and which to ditch!

Most of all, when you are networking, whether at a Smart CEO event, mixer, a speed event, a lead share group, or at the Chamber casino night, ask for the referral that you want  (or the person that you want to meet). You can’t be paired with the perfect referral, if people do not know who you are looking for!