Trade Show Staff – Hiring Promotional Staff Vs. EmployeesTrade Show Staff – Hiring Promotional Staff Vs. Employees

Exhibition and trade show season is upon us. At major venues across the UK, there are trade shows that cover every industry and sector, from Grand Designs Live to the National Pet Show.

That means for every business, there is an upcoming promotional event that could see their profit margin increase. Booking a trade show stand is all well and good – now you need to staff it.

And that produces a conundrum of ‘which is best – using employees or hiring professional promotional staff’?

Solving the Trade Show Staff Conundrum

#1 Knowledge & enthusiasm

For many clients, this is the issue that they often raise with us – promotional staff may have the enthusiasm, but what about knowledge?

Conversely, employees may have the in-depth knowledge but is the enthusiasm there to staff the trade show stand all day long and for several days on end.

A combination of both is clearly what any brand is aiming for with the people staffing their trade show stand but you will find that with a high-end promotional staffing agency, hire trade show staff do come heavily briefed and with a working knowledge of the client, and their products (or they should!).

#2 Customers & visitors

Exhibitions are often the annual event at which brands are ‘seen’. It is a ready platform in many cases to lunch a new product or showcase services.

The truth is that depending on the exhibition or trade show, buyers may come to browse and collect leads, not necessarily buy on the day.

In other words, making the decision on who the best people are to staff your stand depends on many factors, one of which is the actions and behaviours expected of your customers and visitors on the day.

#3 Costs

Many brands, especially smaller businesses, opt to staff their own trade show or exhibition stand because they think that this will be the cheaper option. It can be but there are downsides;

Time away from the office – for a stand to run well at a busy show, you need a team of three or four people. Can you afford to release this many people from the office?

Understaffing – is worse than having the wrong staff. It creates an impression that as a business, you are just ‘not ready’ for the marketplace.

The returns – not everyone has the gift or skill of being able to attract customer attention, sell or market goods and services. For some employees, a trade show stand is their worst nightmare. Anyone who doesn’t really want to be there or is hating every minute will not bring the returns the company needs. This is not deliberate sabotage on their part but the subconscious message being given out.

Hiring promotional staff for a trade show or exhibition will yield a return on investment

* Flexible – hire one person or hire a whole team, there is no minimum or maximum in terms of number or how long you hire promotional staff for.
* Skillspromotional staff are not only trained but experienced in all kinds of events as well as industries. They have a whole heap of skills, so much so, they make it look easy.
* Creativity – you don’t have to stick with the ‘tried and tested’ either. For example, costume performers circulating with your marketing material makes a great gimmick that gets you noticed or hiring a trained presenter for showing off your products can make people take more notice of who you are.

The answer is…?

For many clients, the answer lays in a mixed team. In other words, they hire promotional staff for an upcoming exhibition, briefed to welcome and chat with customers and to qualify leads.

For example, if the hire promotional staff understand that the person stood in front of them is or could be a buying customer, they filter them through to company employees. If not, they still treat customers like the VIPs that they are!

What has been your experience of hiring professional promotional staff for exhibitions and trade shows?


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