This article originally appeared March, 29, 2016
An exhibit manager asked me recently how outside talent could be effective trade show staffers. I wanted to ask, “How much time do you have?” Because the truth is, although your employees may be stellar sales people, trade shows are a different beast. They require approaching strangers and talking to new prospects, not just existing customers. Plus, trade shows demand the moxie to invite visitors to watch presentations, attend demos and the dreaded scanning badges to capture and qualify leads. Not everyone in your organization has the personal skills or attributes to be friendly, approachable and energetic representatives of your brand in a trade show environment.
When speaking to this same person about TPG’s cadre of trade show professionals – he said “Oh, you mean booth babes?” – it occurred to me that many exhibitors, newbies or seasoned, may not know that we’ve come a long way, baby. So, here is a list and definitions of the hired guns who specialize in increasing the effectiveness of your own trade show staff, expanding brand awareness and helping assure that your exhibit investment pays off.
A Brand Ambassador is talent hired to represent your products or services in a positive light. In doing so, they generate booth traffic and increase brand awareness. Often, they are the face of the company in your exhibit, creating a great first impression by embodying the company corporate culture, demeanor and spirit.
What they do:
- They attract, greet and invite attendees into your booth who may otherwise not have entered. They possess a friendly, trade show savvy communication style and enough product knowledge so they can talk intelligently about your company and what you’re promoting in your exhibit.
- They learn who’s who in your booth and link the visitor to the appropriate company staff.
- They guide prospects to in-booth presentations or demos and discus what they can expect to learn.
- They direct visitors to the correct product depending on their interests.
- They scan badges, gather lead information and qualify prospects.
Sometimes known as Subject-Matter Experts (SME), these trade show super-heroes possess in-depth product knowledge that make them indistinguishable from a high-level company employee.
What they do:
- Product Specialists staff a particular product area, conduct demos, engage in deep conversations with prospects, qualify leads and pass that information to the appropriate sales staff.
- They conduct booth tours and discuss the entire product line.
- They develop and deliver expert presentations in a breakout session or educational seminar.
- They facilitate sales! (You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Truck)
Trade Show Presenters
A great way to attract people in the aisles and deliver your message to the masses is to create an in-booth presentation. But your staff may not be topnotch public speakers or feel comfortable talking to groups. Time to bring in some talent. This enthusiastic trade show pro specializes in articulating your brand message.
What they do:
- Trade Show Presenters learn your script and deliver it at regular intervals throughout the day without notes.
- They work with your marketing staff to craft a message likely to be the most effective to your target audience.
- They pique the interest of your audience and encourage prospects to remain in the booth for in-depth follow up with your staff. (SPECIAL DELIVERY: 5 Ways a Professional Presenter Brings Your Brand to Life.)
Now that you’ve decided to add an in-booth presentation, how do you get visitors in the seats? The aptly-called Crowd Gatherer does just that. This energetic trade show pro isn’t shy about getting people out of the aisle and into the theater and won’t take it personally if they resist. Trust me, this is one role your own booth staff won’t want.
What they do:
- Invite people to watch the presentation and escort them to the seats.
- Explain to visitors the subject matter of the presentation and a brief description of what is covered.
- Hand out any appropriate literature to audience members.
- Assist in the giveaway after the presentation.
- Scan audience badges.
- Straighten the theater and prep it for the next show.
If you really want to attract, sparkle and excite, give ‘em the old razzle-dazzle by adding trade show Infotainers to your next exhibit!
- Game Show Hosts
- iPad Magicians
- Celebrity Impersonators
- Flair Bartenders
What they do:
- These specialized trade show entertainers weave your brand messaging into their acts.
- Their amazing skills and talent instantly draw a crowd that is guaranteed to increase brand awareness and boost leads.
The beauty is that many of these trade show pros can be used interchangeably. For instance, Brand Ambassadors can double as Crowd Gatherers. Brand Specialists can double as Presenters and they are all effective at lead capture.
I hope you find this list will help you think outside the babe! Professional trade show talent are on the front lines of your exhibit. Once you experience the benefits of supplementing your exhibit team with these approachable professionals you’ll want to use them time and again. Your own team will thank you, too, because they’ll see an immediate increase in booth traffic in addition to making their jobs easier! After all, you want to optimize your own team, create happy prospects who feel taken care of and generate sales down the line.
Whether virtual or live, on-site or behind-the-scenes, we have the producers, scriptwriters, booth directors and other experiential marketing staff to create meaningful connections with your audience.