March 25, 2015
by Anders Boulanger, guest blogger
Recently, I posted a blog that tore into using so-called “booth babes.” From a leads point of view, hiring booth babes does not work, and their very presence says something about your company and how you operate.
I’ve overheard exhibitors use the term “booth babe” as a general term for hired booth personnel, and I felt the need to make a finer distinction about professional booth staff.
First off, I have personally defined a booth babe as a hired model provocatively dressed to attract attention. If you read my previous post, you will notice that I don’t recommend this as a way to generate more trade show traffic or leads. As I’ve said repeatedly in my Trade Show Traffic Secrets Webinars, “Capturing attention without intention comes off as desperate and transparent.” Not exactly the kind of message you need to be putting out there.
Luckily, there is another type of hired booth staffer that I do recommend wholeheartedly, and that is a talented and professional crowd gatherer. While they may be known by many names—brand ambassador, attendee engager, etc.—they have a few skills that typical exhibit staffers don’t have.
Crowd gatherers have what I’ve termed “booth hustle.” They know how to engage attendees quickly, and they know how to qualify booth visitors in order to get their badges scanned. Then they hand the visitors off to a product expert or sales rep from your company.
If you have an in-booth presentation, especially one with seating, this is where CGs shine the most. They are quick at assembling an audience for your presentation. This is especially important when your presenter is an in-house expert, as he or she typically doesn’t possess the crowd-generating skills of a professional trade show presenter and infotainer.
It takes a special type of resilience to be able to handle the kind of rejection a crowd gatherer receives. It is not easy to hear people say “no” to you over and over again, or have them walk by and completely ignore your existence. Your in-house booth staffers are not typically trained to “put themselves out there” like that. Even if they do, their attempts will soon diminish when they realize how difficult it is to keep asking and engaging attendees.
Professional booth staffers who are worth their salt know how to keep asking because they know this: some will, some won’t, so what, who’s next?
Crowd Gatherers are hired for their skill set, not their “big set” as is the case with booth babes. CGs are friendly, outgoing, gregarious people who possess social skills that are off the charts. If your company tends to staff its booth with engineers and product experts who aren’t exactly known for their social graces, you may want to look into hiring professional booth staff for your trade show events.
In addition to their outstanding ability to greet and engage members of the public, some crowd gatherers may have a degree in business, speak several languages, or possess some other unique skill or talent that would be beneficial to your exhibit.
Professional booth staffers are very much used to the daily grind of being on their feet on a concrete floor all day long. They know how important it is to be positive, friendly and professional to the visiting attendees. That outlook may not be shared by the staff you brought with you to the show.
CGs are like those battery-operated bunnies that keep going and going and going. Their trade show stamina means they will have the same fresh and energetic attitude in the last hour of the show as they did in the first hour.
Until you have worked with an experienced crowd gatherer, it’s tough to appreciate the power of having a trained, engaging person who knows how to interact, win over and persuade random strangers. Think of them as booth staffers on steroids. Let’s face it: the people you bring to the show aren’t all lead-gathering machines. If you exhibit at trade shows, then you care about the number of leads and scans that you generate.
Try hiring one professional booth staffer for your next event. I usually find one can easily replace two to three of your booth staffers due to their work ethic and ability to interact in social encounters. Leave your least-social company representatives at home, and the money saved on hotels and flights alone can easily buy you one crowd gatherer for the entire show.
Ask any company about the brand ambassadors or crowd gatherers they employ, and they will tell you CGs are worth their weight in gold.
Anders Boulanger, who has been called the “Human Prospect Magnet,” works as a Trade Show Infotainer, presenter, and trainer for companies such as Veeam Software, Fortinet, and Siemens. Give him twenty minutes, and he’ll swarm your booth with prospects. When he’s not rain-making for his clients, he can be found at home with his wife and two kids, walking his wiener dog or making sushi.
To reprint this blog on your site, please contact Anders directly.
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