If your company has decided to deliver its message via a theatre style presentation at a trade show, one of the easiest ways to fail is to use an in-house presenter. The only exception is if your company is hosting the show or you have the biggest booth and the latest “hot thing.” If that’s so, then an in-house presenter may work. However, if that is not the case, and you’re just “another exhibitor” at the show, no matter how great you or your executives “think” your product is, using an in-house presenter can reduce your ROI and most likely deliver bad, if not embarrassing results.
By embarrassing, I mean your booth will suffer from few attendees in seats, attendees leaving during the presentation and more. This translates into few quality leads, even fewer demos, angry sales reps, and even disgruntled employee/presenters, as well as executives who can’t understand why the seats are empty and no one is listening. What’s worse is an empty booth with nothing but chairs and no attendees – talk about sending a message. (The message: no one really cares about what you have to offer.)
And don’t kid yourself into thinking that “those who stay and listen are better qualified.” That’s a cop-out. You have no idea if those who got up and left were qualified or not. They were bored and you lost the opportunity to provide them with your messaging. (Additionally, if you ask the hand-full of porfessional trade show magicians that work full time at trade shows, we will tell you that we love to be next to a booth that has an in-house presenter as we will gather all the attendees missed by your booth.)
So, why do most in-house presentations fail? Primarily, because most in-house presenters (employees of your company) do not possess the same type of personality on a professional level as that of a professional trade show presenter and they can’t compete against a professional trade show presenter, let alone a trade show magician who blends content with entertainment. Bottom line: While your in-house presenter may be the “funny” one at the office or perform at local theatres, they lack the same level of professionalism, as well as the skills and knowledge to perform the job.
As a trade show magician with nearly 30 years of experience in a variety of industries, I know that facing an audience 2-3 times an hour for 8 hours a day is challenging and hard work, but a professional trade show presenter knows how to do it. They are professional speakers who earn their living week after week by providing this service. They know how to keep information fresh and exciting. They know how to guide attendees to demos and keep the seats filled.
While using an in-house presenter will save you money, it’s not unlike an airline using an unseasoned pilot to fly a major airplane. The risk far outweighs the cost savings.
After all, your company has spent a small fortune in exhibiting at the show – from the booth and set-up to hotel expenditures and promotions. And contrary to your executive’s belief system, it’s not more cost effective to sponsor the golf tournament or lunch than to use a professional presenter. Attendees don’t remember which company sponsored what – nor do they care, but they will remember your message, if delivered properly. And what’s more important – a chicken wrap for lunch or your message being heard by attendees?
To try and save money at the exact point where you have an opportunity to deliver your sales message to existing and potential customers is ridiculous. Yet, I have seen many trade show managers drop the ball, when it comes to getting the main message out in a professional and engaging way. True, oftentimes, it’s not their fault, as a product manager or executive thinks that their people can “do the job” and attempting to convince them otherwise is like trying to teach a pig to sing. They only find out they were wrong at the show and secretly blame the trade show manager for the poor result.
However, if you do have the power to decide whether or not you should out-source the use of a professional trade show presenter or try and save money by using one of your own employees, remember that while your employee may be good at his or her job, they are not a professional speaker who specializes in working trade shows. And since the theatre is the main focus of your exhibit and the key area where your messaging will be heard, you don’t want an unseasoned person “flying the plane.” If you do choose for the in-house presenter, be prepared for a lower ROI, followed by a lot of explaining on your part, when you get back to your office after the show.
Bob Garner is recognized as one of the best trade show magicians in the industry. With an impressive worldwide client list of Fortune 1000 corporations, Bob helps his clients increase their trade show ROI via effective presentations, as well as consulting. Visit his trade show magician site for demos and video client testimonials.
©2013 Bob Garner. All Rights Reserved. You may use this article, but you must use the whole article, the byline and author resource links.