Tradeshows are primarily about face-to-face contact with your market. Therefore, booth staffing is a critical success factor. One of the biggest mistakes we see while conducting E3 Exhibiting Effectiveness Evaluations falls under the category of booth staffing.
The first major question is: “How many people should you have in your booth?”
Over-staffing or under-staffing are big mistakes which can limit your booth traffic, impact your lead quantity and quality, and ultimately limit your return on investment.
The staffing rule of thumb is 50 sq. ft. of space per staffer. If you’re in a 10 x 10 booth, you have space for two staffers. If you’re in a 20 x 20 booth, you have space for up to eight staffers.
The second major question is “What types of staffers should you have?”
Most companies seem to staff their booth with sales people. In a general sense, this is not a bad idea, but you may want to consider having staffing from different disciplines in your organization.
One reason I say this is because attendees do not want to be pounced on or feel like they’re being sold to. They primarily come to exhibits to learn and to see if your company, products/services, and people might be a good fit for them.
I strongly recommend having a variety of booth staffers including marketing, customer service, technical or product experts, and at times, your senior executives.
It’s also important to prepare each type of booth staff for what their specific roles will be in the booth and to provide skills training to make them comfortable in the meet, greet, qualify and disengage or hand-off skills.
According to industry research approximately 86% of booth staffers have never had a single hour of skills training on how to work a booth. In this forces them to make behavioral and communication errors that may limit your booth traffic, reduce lead quantity and quality, possibly impact your company’s brand perception in your market, and reduce or block return on investment.
Invest a little time to make sure your booth is staffed at the right level with the right types of people and you’ll be on your way to a more successful exhibit.