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