5 Types of Trade Show Reps

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Now that the 2013 accounting conference season has begun, it's a good time to talk about the Trade Show floor, an important part of any provider's public relations program. I've told this story quite a few times over the last several years - always to be met with some great laughter, so I thought I would share it here.

I think there are five types of trade show people - not the attendees, but the company reps who work the shows to gain leads for business:

  1. The Go-Getters - this group is the one that excels, always thinking ahead to the next stop-by attendee and truly putting his or her best foot forward. The Go-Getter often is in front of the booth instead of behind a table or behind a kiosk, welcoming each and every attendee and talking to any potential leads as possible. These are the ones you want working your booth. They care about business and do everything they can to engage attendees in conversation that isn't always necessarily about product.
  2. The Italian Suit Guys - these are the Mr. Slicks - the guys who are more concerned with their appearance than they are with selling a product or service. They are always on their cell phones ... combing their hair ... and looking in the mirror to ensure they are all put together.
  3. The Sit-Down Laggards - how many times have you been to a trade show in which the reps are sitting down, totally unconcerned with booth traffic and just about anything else. They are unconcerned and usually checking e-mail, and are not the ones you want on your team. Yuck.
  4. The Logo Shirts - images of cheerleaders come to mind, although "energy" is not a bad thing; still, you do not want to be mowed over with corporate speak when it comes to trade show reps. These folk live and breathe the company mantra. OK - that's not so bad either, but it's often too deliberate and too in-your-face for my taste.
  5. The No-Shows - there's nothing worse than walking the trade show floor and seeing a booth without someone there. Every conference clearly posts the trade show floor hours to exhibitors, so why can't the reps man the booth like they are supposed to? Regardless if you want to learn more about the provider's offerings, an booth without a person sends a clear signal to attendees that a) the company doesn't care about putting its best foot forward, and b) they don't care about your business. Bottom line: Show up on time! 

OK - now it's your turn. Give me a some feedback and some stories on your favorite or unlikeable trade show reps.

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Don't forget the "Can I buy your love with bad swag?" Who uses thumb drives and mouse pads still?

You forgot the most important sales rep utilized by more and more business today: Booth Babes.
My former (female) marketing director used this term to describe the young, slim, smiling, model-esque reps that always attract visitors to the booth. They are the pharma sales reps of the trade show industry. No matter how cheesy the swag, many will gladly accept it from them in exchange for their contact info or a badge swipe. :-)