Dos and Don'ts of Trade Show Booth Staff Etiquette

February 19, 2019
Andrew Doerfler
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An industry trade show offers a great opportunity to share your products and services with potential clients. But creating an eye-catching booth display is only one element of success. To attract buyers to a trade show booth, your staff will need to know the rules for trade show stand etiquette.

Follow these ideas and suggestions to prepare for a trade show booth. Training your expo booth staff in appropriate conduct will make the difference between a sale and a lost opportunity. Use the following best practices, guidelines and etiquette tips for a successful experience at your upcoming trade show.

How to Greet People at a Trade Show

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What’s the most important part of trade show booth etiquette? It all starts with an enthusiastic greeting. Making a strong first impression on the show floor is the key to attracting attendees to your trade show display.

Be sure to smile and make eye contact to make buyers feel welcome. Your staff should warmly introduce themselves and the business by name before explaining the available products and services. Tell attendees that you’re excited to share what the company does. Never underestimate the value of a strong handshake, and be sure to thank visitors for their time when they decide to stop by.

Body Language Tricks You Need to Know

When it comes to body language, your event booth staff needs to follow a few simple rules. This is trade show booth staff etiquette 101: Express openness and warmth. Think of yourself as a host.

  • Stand up straight (if you are physically able). Sitting suggests idleness or lethargy.
  • Avoid crossing your arms or putting hands in pockets.
  • Keep yourself from fidgeting and other nervous movements.
  • Never turn your back to the buyer.
  • Remember to smile.
  • Keep your attention on potential visitors, not other booths.
  • Actively listen while your visitor is speaking.

How to Stay Focused on the Show Floor

For a good return on investment, your team will have to spend its time efficiently on the exposition floor. An event staff needs specific instructions to stay focused, including talking points to hit upon and introductory phrases that will attract visitors to your booth. Giving staff specific tasks and goals will minimize distractions.

Don’t spend much time chatting with people from other trade show booths. While some networking opportunities may arise, you’re more likely to waste time that could be used pitching to prospective buyers.

It is important to remember to schedule break time for for those who man the booth. Your trade show staff needs to be alert and energized, and taking adequate breaks helps to ensure that. An attentive staff on the show floor will send an inviting, welcoming message to other trade show attendees. Proper trade show staffing is also necessary to guarantee your team isn’t tired and overworked. Using a trade show booth staff schedule template can be helpful.

Can I Eat at the Trade Show Booth?

Trade show staff should not eat or drink while working the booth. It distracts the staff from giving potential clients their full attention -- and it’s just plain unprofessional. Even chewing gum is a major no-no for trade show booth staff etiquette. You don’t want any half-consumed food, empty water bottles or wrappers littering the display.

However, it’s important to keep staff from getting too hungry or dehydrated while working. Staff should use their break time to recharge on food or water away from the booth. Company-branded reusable bottles are also a great way to stay hydrated while keeping trash off your booth.

How to Train Your Booth Staff

Your booth staff should be equipped with a set of talking points about your business. Preparing an elevator pitch prepared in advance will ensure your team sends a unified message to all potential clients. The team does not need to read the script verbatim, but should remember the key details to hit upon with each prospective client.

Your script shouldn’t be a monologue, however -- you’re aiming to start a conversation with the trade show visitors. To achieve this, prepare open-ended questions that will get visitors thinking about the ways in which your products and services would be useful to them. You want to get them talking about their business needs so you can share how your business can help. Avoid asking questions that can be answered with a flat yes or no. That will only halt the dialogue.

How Do I Dress at a Trade Show?

Trade show booth staff attire should be clean and professional. This doesn’t necessarily mean the trade show dress code requires suits and other formalwear, though. A team wearing a uniform color -- a set of boldly colored polos, for example -- can make for an eye-catching booth on the expo floor.

With long hours spent standing, comfortable shoes are a must, but make sure they are still professional and clean. Business casual attire works for most trade shows, but your clothes should be ironed. Your appearance sends an immediate message to prospective clients.

Closing Strong at a Trade Show

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Whether or not a team member manages to close a sale, every trade show visitor should walk away from the booth feeling that they were treated with respect. That’s where the send-off comes in. Be sure to thank each prospective client for their time and offer any informational material that you’ve prepared, along with a business card.

Put Trade Show Booth Staff Etiquette into Action

Now that you know how to work a trade show booth, be on the lookout for the best expo for your business. Here are a few of the biggest trade shows happening in the United States:

How to Ship Your Trade Show Booth

Use R+L Global Logistics’ services to get your booth display to your trade show promptly and securely. To get started, chat, email or call R+L Global at (866) 415-8986 and ask about trade show shipping.

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