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Every Second Counts At Trade Shows

Every second counts at trade showsAt almost every show there comes a time when your watch seems to be moving in slow motion.  If you had three wishes from a genie, you’d use one to have the show end.

But trade show time should never be wished away.  Your company has made a big investment to get in front of hundreds, if not thousands of potential clients during a finite number of show hours.

That’s why booth staffers must retain a sense of urgency as long as there are attendees walking the show floor.  You’ve paid for the access, get your money’s worth.

Make It Real

To make your investment more tangible for your tradeshow booth staffers, show them how much you are spending every second of the show.

For example, if you have a total show budget of 36 thousand dollars, and there are 10 hours of show floor time, then your trade show presence is costing you a dollar every second.

Tell your staffers, “Every second, this show will cost us a dollar – a dollar, a dollar, a dollar, a dollar, a dollar …”

You can make that even more explicit to your staffers in a pre-show meeting by laying dollars out on the table, one after another every second, saying, “Every second, this show will cost us a dollar – a dollar, a dollar, a dollar, a dollar, a dollar.”  That way, your staffers understand the cost of easing up.

Even if you have a small booth space and are only spending, let’s say $9,000 for a single show with 10 hours of show floor time, then your company is spending about a quarter every second, or a dollar every 4 seconds.

While that cost to exhibit seems like a lot of money, remember that there will be thousands of dollars of potential business walking by your exhibit every minute.  You just have to maintain your focus throughout the show to get your best ROI.

Two Times Booth Staffers Relax

Two common slow times at shows are near the end of the show, and during lunch time.  If you slack off at the end of the show because it’s slower, remember that some of the most serious buyers come by then, because they’ve shopped the floor and now know who they want to get even more info from.  And think about during lunch:  People who skip lunch to walk the show are very motivated!

Two Other Traps

A common trap booth staffers fall into during slower times is what I call the 30-second rule. The people picked to do booth staffing are friendly, outgoing, even gregarious.  So if they haven’t talked to an attendee in a while, about 30 seconds, they turn and start talking to their co-worker instead.  Bam, now you have two booth staffers out of action.

chatty trade show booth staffers
Do your booth staffers talk with trade show attendees … or each other?

Another challenge is that some staffers get a great lead and get cocky.  They want to take the next ten minutes telling everyone about it, rather than getting another lead.  Instead, booth staffers need to keep their focus on getting that next lead…and the lead after that…and the lead after that.  And if they can’t keep that focus going all day long, then you need to choose booth staffers who can, or have enough booth staffers to schedule shifts to keep them fresh.

So, when your booth staffers truly understand your company’s trade show investment, and keep focused on getting leads every second of the show, then you’ll get even more from your investment.  Because while time at the show may seem sometimes to be passing slowly, it’s actually quite precious.

Booth Staffing GuidebookTo get even more ideas on building a top-notch booth staff, click here to get your free copy of the 48-page Booth Staffing Guidebook, filled with useful articles, checklists, and worksheets.

About the Author

Mike Thimmesch was Skyline Exhibits’ Director of Customer Engagement, for over 25 years. He is now retired and spends his time freelancing, traveling, and enjoying time with his family.

One response to “Every Second Counts At Trade Shows

  1. The best way to beat “boredom” or relaxation time at a trade show is to train demo staff to get away from the ped and out into the aisle. Work the crowd…strike up a conversation about anything (other than your feet hurting) then begin talking about your company’s solution.

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