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The 10 Types of BAD Trade Show Rep

Trade shows and exhibitions are a fantastic opportunity to showcase your brand to a new audience – but all that time and effort can go out of the window if you choose the wrong staff for your booth.

At every event we attend we come across trade show reps that, through some action or behaviour, completely puts us off visiting their stand, let alone going into business with them! To help you avoid choosing similar bad sales reps for your own events we have categorised these misdemeanours into ten easily-recognisable characters:

#1: The Evangelical

Also known as the ‘Yes Man’ and in some circles ‘The BS merchant’, The Evangelical will promise to revolutionise a visitor's business overnight; they will make the attendee richer, more productive, fitter, happier; whatever the visitor suggests, they have a solution ….. the problem is once they’ve promised the world and your company can’t deliver, you will end up losing your reputation!

#2: The Wet Lettuce

To quote the singer Morrisey in 'Ask', ‘Shyness is nice, and /Shyness can stop you/From doing all the things in life/You’d like to.’ Morissey himself would be a pretty terrible trade show rep and that’s
because successful staff, unlike the cantankerous Mancunian, need to be able to get out there and speak to strangers with confidence and positivity otherwise you risk missing out on valuable leads.

#3: The Predator

The opposite to the wet lettuce, The Predator will seek out any passer-by and bombard them with sales spiel to lure them onto their stand. Leaving the attendee dazed and confused, the predator will get lots of business cards from people just wanting to escape their attack, however by not engaging the attendee effectively this sales rep is unlikely to develop any meaningful leads.

#4: The Mannequin

Pretty to look at, but with not much of an idea of what they’re doing, this type of sales rep might lure customers in, however with no in-depth product knowledge they are more likely to get romantic propositions than business ones. Now, of course, it’s possible to be both good-looking and knowledgeable, but just make sure your team is clued up before they begin the event.

#5: The Boozer

Burning the candle at both ends is a common habit amongst some exhibition staff, and even if they think they’re on form the next day, chances are attendees can either see (or smell) that this isn’t the case! Manning an exhibition stand is physically and mentally draining so get your staff to reign in the drinking until the show has finished.

#6: The Pen-Peddler

The Pen-Peddler will go to any lengths to make sure you take their freebie, be it a pen, bag or other branded piece of plastic, from their stand. These booth reps might be too bored to explain the details of the product or be a little too desperate to offload the freebies and impress the boss, but either way they probably won’t create any substantial leads with their tactics (who keeps all those pens anyway?).

#7: The Angry Bird

Buried in a phone or tablet, The Angry Bird seems to think their sole purpose at a trade show is to get some valuable time updating their friends on how bored they are on social media. They might think they aren’t missing any leads, but of course they are, they just can’t see it. They live by the mantra, if it's not digital, they're not interested!

#8: The Clock-Watcher

Similarly to The Angry Bird, The Clock-Watcher isn’t the most motivated of sales personnel, preferring a good sit down and perhaps even a snooze (we’ve seen it!!) to any serious sales activity. This type of exhibitor is the most likely to commit the cardinal exhibiting sin of packing away before the show has ended, potentially missing out on some last-minute trade.

#9: The Back-Slapper

This chatty character is happy to meet visitors at their stand and chat about everything from their last golfing holiday to the state of the food at the venue; however they sometimes forget they are there to further the business’ aims rather than their own. The biggest issue with this blabber is that they risk speaking too long to one customer and end up missing out on other visitors who may be interested in their services.

#10: The Display Stand Masochist

The Display Stand Masochist is the most painful for us as display stand suppliers: the exhibitors that seem to have no regard for the long-term health of their banner stands, pop ups and other print items. On top of this, probably the most unforgivable sin is putting up the graphics incorrectly making a beautiful stand look tacky. Make sure all your staff have experience putting up stands before the big day.

How do you avoid these bad trade show staff?

Don’t lose all hope – of course there are still excellent trade show representatives who can engage visitors at your stand and help you build your brand. Making sure you choose the right sales rep or, alternatively, finding a good event staffing agency is vital and could be the difference between your event being a success or a failure.

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