Whether it is your first or 10th tradeshow, you are a big company or a small one, you have a big budget or you’re doing things on a shoestring, you will find the steps you take to get ready for your tradeshow, from concept to completion, is fairly similar for everyone rushing to make their booth stand out.
So where do you start?
Let’s assume you have the concept. Your marketing team has designed a booth that will WOW everyone. Literature has been created, and everything has been ordered with the venue. Some might think they are done; they can sit back and relax until it is time to pack a suitcase and head to the show. Others might fret about what to wear and who they will socialize with after the event each evening. But, what everyone needs to be focused on at this point is who will work in the booth.
Will you do it all by yourself? Will you bring Bob from sales? If the tradeshow is far away, you have just doubled the cost if Bob now needs to book a flight, stay in a hotel, etc. What if Bob wants to bring more of his team? Suddenly your budget is getting crushed. With all the extra money you might need to spend to send your team to the tradeshow, you should consider partnering with a company that specializes in providing local, educated and experienced booth staff to be extensions of your team.
A local talent staffing agency can provide you with local talent who can work your booth. It is a very cost-effective measure. Now Bob can leave his team behind and work with local talent to drive up interest and sales. The booth talent can talk with people at the show and draw them in, and even answer some basic questions about your company, product or service, and brand. Then when these prospects are ready to buy or have specific questions, Bob will be there. Your team will be rock solid, and the brand exposure will be widespread.
There are a lot of companies that claim to provide experienced booth staff, but since you have options, do not jump at the first one you come across. Do your homework. Research agencies. Ask friends if they have used agencies, and if so, learn about what went right and what went wrong. If you don’t pick the right one, a lot can go wrong. A quality agency will have a large general liability and workers’ compensation insurance policy in place to protect you and the talent.
When selecting a talent staffing agency, think beyond just your one tradeshow. Think about how many tradeshows your company participates in each year, and then find an agency that can work with you on all of the tradeshows. Global agencies, like CMT Agency, can look ahead, find and train talent in multiple cities, making your tradeshow costs go down and the ROI go up.
You’re not done once you select an agency. The next step is to pick your talent. You can tell the agency who you want (i.e. how many people you need and let the agency select talent for you), or you can get as detailed as you want and hand pick the talent to represent you, your company and your brand at the tradeshow. Whether you need male or female, tall or short, skinny or full-figured – you get the picture – a good agency will act as your matchmaking partner and find exactly who you want for your booth. A good agency will give you an extension of your team. A bad agency will just give you a warm body. When it comes to the success of your tradeshow, and a positive ROI, the agency can make all the difference.
Once you have the team selected, you can work through the agency to train the team or have the agency take ownership of training the team, again freeing up more of your time to prepare for the tradeshow, and saving you money.
Outsourcing your talent needs is less expensive, in most cases, has a proven ROI, and offers much more flexibility in planning your events worldwide. It is very clear the right move for your brand is to work with an outside agency to staff your tradeshow.
Shelly Justice is the CEO of CMT Agency, a full-service provider of models for tradeshows, events and alcohol promotions in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia.
For more information, visit cmtagency.com.