One time, well ok, two times, I hired a person on the spot at a trade show to work for us based on how well they engaged customers at a stand they represented. Their ability to engage, charm and be passionate about the product they were selling was contagious and there were crowds of people around them waiting for their turn to engage. The first time it happened in Romania, and the second time it was in the UAE, so I guess it doesn’t really matter where the show is, all humans operate the same way. If customers like the person who is selling to them, they are 90% more likely to buy your product or service.

We see it over and over again-customers investing serious money in their presence at a global show, but the people who are manning (womaning?) the stand are totally disengaged, look bored, uninterested, can’t present and look like they are dying to go home (we know they are).

Some of your staff might be brilliant on the phone, great at closing deals in their own country, wizards at numbers and gurus of your product but they are just not your perfect ambassadors at international shows. Inability to engage around a crowd, lack of language, local customs and sometimes etiquette are very often a consideration for hiring locally based salespeople or outsource help locally. It also takes a super high energy person with serious stamina to be on their feet all day and still look happy 3 to 5 days in a row jet lagged.

One time we were building a stand for Boeing in Amman, Jordan and we hired a local representative to manage their stand. All was good, except she was (how should I say this and be politically correct?), not the most fortunate looking person on the planet. I addressed it with a stand’s project manager, who told me I shouldn’t be concerned, she is just absolutely the best. At the end of the show, we had a farewell dinner at the Sheraton, and Steve, our customer got up and said – “Big thank you to your team for making this a huge success for us, but especially to our hostess who was by far the best Boeing representative we ever had at any show hands down,” and they presented her with a gift. I was speechless.

Your people = your brand and they either add to it or they take away from it. You decide.