A few months back I posted a blog post that tore into the use of Booth Babes. Using booth babes from a leads point of view doesn’t work, and their very presence says something about your company and how you operate. I’ve overheard some exhibitors use the term “booth babe” as an all encompassing term for hired booth personnel, and I felt that I needed to make a finer distinction about professional booth staff.

First off, I personally define a booth babe as a hired model who is provocatively dressed to attract attention. If you read my past post, you know I don’t recommend this as a way to generate more trade show traffic and leads. As I’ve said in my Trade Show Traffic Secrets Webinars, “Capturing attention without intention comes off as desperate and transparent.” Not exactly the kind of message you want to be putting out there.

There is another type of hired booth staff that I do whole heartedly recommend, and that is of a talented and professional Crowd Gatherer. While they may be known by many names – attendee engager, brand ambassador, etc. – they have a few skills that your typical exhibit staff doesn’t have.

Booth Hustle

Crowd Gatherers have what I call “Booth Hustle.” They know how to engage attendees quickly and to qualify booth visitors to get their badges scanned. They then hand the visitors off to a product expert or sales person from your company. If you are having an in-booth presentation especially with seating, this is where CGs really shine. They can very quickly assemble an audience for your presentation. This is especially important when your presenter is of the in-house variety as he or she typically doesn’t possess the crowd generating skills of a professional trade show presenter and Infotainer.

Don’t take rejection personally

It takes a special type of person to be able to handle the kind of rejection a Crowd Gatherer receives. It’s not easy having people say no to you over and over again, or having them walk by and completely ignore your existence. Your in-house booth staff won’t typically “put themselves out there” like that. Even if they do, their attempts will soon diminish when they realize how difficult it is to keep asking and engaging. Professional booth staff who are worth their salt, know how to keep asking, and they realize that some will, some won’t, so what, who’s next?

Skill Set

Crowd Gatherers are hired for their skill set, not their “big set” as is the case with Booth Babes. CGs are friendly, gregarious, and outgoing people who possess social skills that are off the charts. They are true students of social dynamics. Through thousands of repetitions of approaches they have honed their skills to be razor sharp.

If your company typically staffs their booth with engineers and product experts who aren’t exactly known for their affable nature and social graces, you may want to look into hiring professional booth staff. In addition to being great with greeting members of the public, some Crowd Gatherers may have a degree in business, speak several languages, or may possess some other unique skill or talent that would be beneficial to your exhibit.

Energy levels

A professional hired booth staff are very much used to the daily grind of being on their feet on a concrete floor all day long. They know how important it is to be positive, professional, and friendly to the visiting attendees. Unlike the staff you brought with you to the show, CGs are like those battery-operated bunnies that keep going and going and going. They will have the same fresh and energetic attitude in the last hour of the show as they did in the first hour.

The pay off

Until you have worked with an experienced Crowd Gatherer, you don’t understand the power of having a trained, engaging person who knows how to interact, win-over, and persuade random strangers. I think of them as booth staff on steroids. Let’s face it – the people you bring to the show aren't all exactly winners. If you exhibit at trade shows and you care about the number of leads and scans that you generate, you owe it to your company to try hiring professional booth staff for your next event. I usually find that they can easily replace two if not three of your booth staff with their work ethic and their ability to interact in social encounters. Leave your worst performing company representative at home, and the money you save on hotels and flights alone can easily buy you one Crowd Gatherer for the entire show. Ask any company about the quality brand ambassadors they employ, and they will tell you CGs are worth their weight in gold.