Stand out as a promo model and book repeat business… Here’s how:
Getting ahead in the competitive world of trade show modeling can be frustrating. It’s crucial to understand what clients are looking for and what you have to offer. The days of know-nothing “eye candy” are long gone (thank goodness!). Although your image is important, don’t sell yourself short thinking you’re only a “model.” There are countless attractive people, many of whom are willing to work for less than you are. What value do you bring to your work that justifies your rate?
Go above and beyond the duties as a booth hostess.
On one of my first jobs as a booth presenter, a friend and mentor of mine gave me some advice: “Figure out what your value-add is.” In other words, what do you have to offer in value to your client that others are not?
If you are hired as a lead generator for at trade show, don’t think your only duty is to smile and scan badges. If you walk in with that mindset, you’re missing a valuable opportunity to engage with attendees. Or if you’re a hostess and instructed to hand out pamphlets, don’t assume that’s all you can do.
What initiatives can you take to make yourself more productive in your given role? Here are a few things you can do that will impress a new client:
Know the client’s products or services.
Sometimes you will get a debriefing on a new client, but often we’re given very little information at the start. In this case, you should do a little research on the company before you arrive. Know something about their product offerings, especially if they are announcing or showcasing new products. Know their mission statement and company values. If you can learn things like the year the company was founded, the location of their headquarters, and a little of their history even better! Come prepared and your client will be impressed that you went out of your way to learn about their brand.
Ask for a tour of the booth before your first shift.
Arrive early on your first day and ask for a tour of the booth or show yourself around. You will be better equipped to direct attendees to the appropriate areas. Even if it’s a small booth, your client has it set up in a way that fits their strategy. Understand where resources and supplies are, and where they’d like you to be situated. Ask your client if there are any key products or services they want you to know about and what they’re looking for in a lead. Introduce yourself to the key people in the booth, especially to sales people, so you can direct leads to them by name when appropriate. You want the booth visitors to experience a seamless transition and introduction from you to a salesperson.
Don’t be a wallflower.
Don’t just stand there and wait for people to come to you. Try out different questions to see what piques people’s interest. Ask what brings them into the booth or if they have any specific product interests. Often it takes several tries to figure out the best approach. After scanning a badge, don’t just let attendees walk away! Ask if there’s anything specific they’re looking for, and offer to bring them to that area, or hand them off to a salesperson. (Remember that tour I suggested? This is where that will come in handy.) Your client will be impressed that you made the extra effort.
Work with your client, not just for your client.
It’s important to communicate with your client and make sure you’re meeting their expectations. Each client has different needs. There may be some who prefer that you not engage as much or talk about the product, though I find most appreciate the extra effort. Talk to your client before you start and learn their expectations. Whatever those expectations might be, it will impress them if you come in knowing something about the company instead of just showing up saying, “Here I am! What do I do?”
Remember that you are much more than just a pretty face. If you put in a little extra effort, your client will take notice. Not only are you more likely to get re-booked, but your agent will get a glowing report, which will make them more likely to recommend you for future jobs. Clients these days have high expectations for trade show talent, and if you can think of yourself as more of a “concierge,” than a “model,” you will stand out competitively and land more repeat clients.
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