Trade Shows Aren’t Training Days

by: Mark Harnischfeger SHARE POST

According to CEIR data, when senior executives attend trade shows, they are serious shoppers. They are making purchasing decisions about what products and services to buy for their companies.  They are decision makers with specific concerns and objectives.

If this is the case, is it wise to staff your exhibit with rookies who may or may not be up to speed on product information, but, who certainly do not have the experience and industry depth to talk to high level attendees with any degree of empathy? Intelligent staffing is critical to the return on your trade show investment.

According to IAEE’s white paper on future trends, “A major aspect of the attendee experience is the quality of the exhibitors’ face-to-face interaction.” When we talk about “senior executives,” we are not making generational distinctions but on levels of responsibility within the company. Most of us are aware that CEOs can be under 30—and new recruits can be boomers re-entering the job market. Smart, informed staffers know how to make distinctions and do not jump to any conclusions based on age or gender. The most memorable interactions at trade shows are conversations that demonstrate an awareness of the prospect’s pain points.

“A major aspect of the attendee experience is the quality of the exhibitors’ face-to-face interaction.”


What’s the lesson? Invite your top executives to the show. Schedule times for them to be in the booth, to make appearances or to speak. Promote their attendance, and facilitate peer-to-peer connections with high ranking visitors who are interested buyers. Make sure your staff is trained to make those introductions and brief them so they know who these senior executives are and what to do when they come to your booth. Showing your market that you are serious enough about your presence at the trade show to bring your top people establishes your credibility—and builds a platform for success.

New Call-to-action

About the Author

Mark Harnischfeger Director, Client Services

With more than two decades of success in the exhibit industry and many leadership roles to his credit, Mark is at heart a client-focused professional with a passion for business development and account management. He has worked with companies across industries in fields as diverse as aerospace, consumer electronics, entertainment, and healthcare.