Exhibiting at a trade show is an excellent way to grow your business, especially if you choose all the right events for your industry niche. However, as anyone who has attended a trade show knows, there is a wide variety of moving parts that must come together to create a strong event. Having the skills necessary to plan, execute, and manage the trade show well is critical – otherwise, you’re looking at an ROI loss and a big hit financially.

Because of this risk, more and more companies are choosing to hire a trade show manager. And while hiring an outside person to manage your event might seem like a bit of a gamble, if you ask the right questions and choose the right candidate, it’s more than likely that benefits will really pay off in the end. Here are five essential questions to ask when hiring a trade show manager for your company.

What types of trade shows do they usually manage? Do they have a specialty?

Every trade show is different: each one caters to a particular industry or business niche, and there are typically significant differences between them. Having detailed information on the events they have managed in the past will provide you with a better insight into their specific qualifications and if they are the right fit for your particular industry or business.

Do your best to gauge their approach to trade show management as they run through previous events, their successes, and also the issues they have faced while managing events and how they overcame them. It’s also a great idea to interview candidates face to face and provide them with situations to see how they would handle it. This line of situational questioning can help you evaluate the way the person thinks, whether they are easily stressed and rush through things, or if they are calm and analytical.

Like this article? You’ll love our free trade show secrets ebook!

Download our free guide to generating more crowds, traffic and leads at your next trade show.

What specific services do they offer?

Before you hire a trade show manager, it’s a good idea to find out what services they can offer you and your event. You want to be sure they can fully understand and handle the requirements you need to hold a fantastic trade show. How do they typically go about deciding which trade shows to attend? How have they handled working with various vendors leading up to the event? What types of pre-trade show lead generation activities have they been successful with?

All of these questions are vital topics to discuss with whichever professional you’re leaning towards hiring. At the end of the day, it’s all about the services they can provide to you and also about the services you need to make a great event.

How do they remain up-to-date with the event industry?

Staying relevant in any industry is the mark of a serious professional. Things change, new technology emerges, trends come and go. Keeping up-to-date with all of the latest trends and new tech is an essential quality in your trade show manager. Are they affiliated with professional organizations? Do they regularly attend conferences on trade show management? Do they hold any specific certifications that would add to their appeal? (e.g.CTSM, CMP, CMM) These questions might seem unimportant, but they could be helpful in determining the right professional.

What types of trade show/event software are they familiar with/use regularly?

If your company uses specific technology or tools to prepare for or during a trade show, your event planner should also be familiar with that type of technology. Discover which tools they utilize for project management, budgets, event websites, registration, ticketing, and analytics/reporting. Knowing this information will ensure they are using the best products available. Using specialist event and/or trade show technology not only helps to certify a well-organized production, but it can also provide consistently added value.

What are their references?

References are a great way to get to know a trade show manager’s point of view. Reviewing their previous events with photos, videos, and perhaps even testimonials from earlier employers will show you the professional they are. Every event manager should have references available upon request. These references will deliver insight into how your prospective planner has worked with clients in the past and what you can expect from them in the planning of your event.

For more trade show tips and tricks, visit our other blogs; or take a look at our trade show services, including training and consulting.