Booth Staffing


Published on Apr 25, 2017 2:40:15 PM


conversation started at trade shows.jpg


I cannot tell you how many times people have said to me after a conversation on the trade show floor “I am so glad you stopped me.”

Questions Staffers Can Use to Engage Visitors

One of the hardest things about staffing is knowing how to start a conversation without feeling like a used car salesman.  You want to be authentic, but at the same time, you can’t just wait for people to come to you.


Here are 10 Sample Engagement Questions Staffers Ask:

1. What brings you to the show?

2. What have you heard about our company?

3. What problems are you looking to solve by attending this show?

4. What have you seen at the show that you have found interesting or      useful?

5. What are you looking to learn by attending this conference (or event)?

6. Have you seen our demo and what did you think about it (if you don’t have a demo you may want to consider it)?

7. Can I offer you some water, soda or a snack? While this may draw people who are not necessarily in your target it is a small cost to pay if your exhibit is empty and you are more likely to meet someone interesting by doing this than by just standing around.

8. Did you sign up for our <fill in relevant> giveaway raffle? {Make sure you prequalify prospects.}

9. What did you think about the keynote speaker?

10. Did you want to sit down for a minute? Use this with qualified prospects.


You know that your booth staffers are one of your most valuable, if not the most valuable asset when exhibiting at a trade show or hosting a business event.  However, you may feel like you have little to no control over how they perform at the show.  

Yet, by selecting the right staffers, offering appropriate incentives, recognition, and training, you can be sure they will rise to the challenge and become excellent brand ambassadors for your company.



Make Staffers Accountable


For example, if you have no accountability for the leads or connections that they make at the trade shows they are likely to be unmotivated to reach out to prospects and may spend most of their time on their phone.  Think about it, if they answer their emails they will be rewarded by their supervisors or clients for being responsive.  Furthermore, if you as a trade show manager don’t provide goals or incentives staffers will have little motivation to make a big effort to reach out to prospects.

Make sure staffers know that you will evaluate and communicate their performance to them and to their supervisor.


Communicate Goals


Communicate the team goals for the show to staffers and give them an idea of the number of meaningful conversations they should strive for each day, but spend the bulk of your training time talking about your company’s goals, your customers, what you offer as a company and how to be a good host.  The overall message should be to treat each booth visitor as the important guest they are.  You want clients leaving the booth with a better impression of your company than what they started with.

Some would argue that this could be a waste of time.  What about the competitors that come to scope us out?  What about the client who you know is not buying anything else?  What about the person who is just coming over for the giveaway?  Let me say this, I would much rather a staffer spend too much time talking to a competitor or give away a few too many giveaways than they are inattentive or rude to a visitor because they did not take the time to listen or because they prejudged someone based on preconceived notions.


The Power of Interrogative Sales Talk




If you motivate staffers simply based on the number of leads they get, then they will think of prospects as “just another lead” rather than as an individual.  Granted, if you select your staffers appropriately they will likely be polite and qualify prospects.  Yet, they may rush from one interaction to the next because they are focused simply on the number of leads.

Part of this issue can be overcome by properly training staffers on the right qualifying questions to ask.   Still, if you are judging their performance on the number of leads that will likely distract them from taking the time to ask questions and have a meaningful conversation with the prospect.


Good Luck.

Happy Exhibiting.


This article was first published in

About the Author

Sofia is the Customer Engagement and Industry Relations Manager for Skyline Exhibits. An experienced marketing professional with branding, innovation and product commercialization expertise, she heads up Skyline’s marketing efforts in customer engagement, exhibitor education, industry relations and market research. Sofia has more than a decade of experience with both B2B and consumer packaged goods companies and an MBA from the University of Arizona Eller College of Management with an emphases in marketing and entrepreneurship. Sofia is fluent in Spanish having lived and studied in Latin America, and currently sits on the board of directors for the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa.


Topics: Trade show booth staffing, Trade show booth logistics