Is your trade show team focused? Do they know their purpose, and more importantly does your trade show staff have a plan to reach their goals? If your answer is no, or that you’re not sure, then why are you in the show? Okay, that might sound a little harsh but seriously, if your people don’t know why they’re there, why your organization is participating in the trade show, then they are rudderless. When you don’t set expectations what can you expect?

How to Focus Your Trade Staff on Goals

Have a purpose

The process begins by understanding your purpose. Why did you choose this show, and what do you hope to gain? Are you there for lead generation, branding, to meet existing clients, or? Once you’ve established your purpose, you can focus on how to reach your goal.

Caution: It’s difficult to hit multiple expectations. It may be best to fix on one primary purpose and work toward it. In the fast-paced environment of a trade show where you only have seconds to connect with prospects, it’s usually best to keep it simple.

Create a plan

It wouldn’t do much good to establish a purpose and then share it with your staff without a plan to achieve the purpose. Whether your plan is to draw an audience to your booth with promotional giveaways, a sweepstakes sign-up, a spokesperson, or demonstrator, it’s essential to set the scene.


Next, you need a script, or system to gather the information you desire. But don’t leave it there, invest time before the show for staff members to practice their roles.


Keep track of the results. We control what we track. To track your efforts at a show, you first have to establish quotas. How many leads, connections, or sign-ups do you want? Then break it down by day and hour. In this way, you can stay on top of your goals and adjust on the run.

Train some more

Use the results to direct continuous training and be sure to recognize positive results to reinforce the behavior.

Schedule breaks  

Working a trade show, and I don’t mean sitting in the back of the booth on the phone, is hard work. Standing at the front of the booth for hours on end talking to strangers isn’t easy. Have a large enough staff to schedule breaks every couple of hours.

Bring the right people

Your best team will consist of outgoing people who love your company and know your product. And not only that, you want to staff your booth with people that want to be there. “If you have to force someone to work a show do you really expect an exuberant show staffer that projects a positive image of your organization? I guess you could get lucky, but I’d bet against it.” — Stop! Avoid these Trade Show Mistakes

Focusing Your Trade Show Staff

Building a successful trade show staff begins with knowing your purpose, creating a plan, and then training the right people. Unfortunately, most booths I pass at any given show are lost at sea without a clue of how to work a trade show. Does your team know what to do? Are they lost at sea or are they rowing together in the same direction towards the same goal?

Photo credit: collision.conf via / CC BY