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Should You Staff Your Trade Show Exhibit with Booth Bimbos?

by Jennifer Beever on December 14, 2012

Booth BimbosMy answer to the question is “Yes, but not just because sex sells.” There is more science to the story.

In my 29 years in sales and marketing, I have worked a lot of trade shows. And I have seen proof of the pudding (so to speak) that sex sells. Well, it may not close the deal, but it sure does attract people into your exhibit space where you can start selling to them.

At one point I was selling and marketing software to the maintenance departments of manufacturers and industrial and office facilities departments, it wasn’t unusual to walk into my prospects’ offices and see “girlie” calendars on the wall. I don’t think anyone would get away with that today, but that was then. One of our competitors (I was probably the only woman in sales in the industry) hired booth bimbos to stand outside of their booth and slide garter belts onto the arms of the guys who came by.

When it came to sales, I also watched how the guys who were our prospects would steer clear of our male sales reps, whom they perceived as aggressive and in high sales mode. We also found that when I was in the booth, saying “Hello” or “How’s it going?” in a low key way, we’d get a warmer reaction. In fact, studies showed that women cold-calling in sales got two to three more minutes on the phone. That’s a lot of time when you are in sales!

So this is not to say that women are bimbos and men are all aggressive. But think about what attracts your prospects to your exhibit. Maybe it’s time for the men to tone down that aggression and for sales departments to hire more women.

By the way, there are male and female “booth bimbos.” (I hear that there are a lot of both at the Computer Electronics Show, CES.) I am an equal opportunity sex exploiter. If you have an audience of women buyers, have a women staffing your exhibit, but consider having a nice looking man in it, too. Oh, and by the way? They have to know what they’re talking about, because attracting someone in doesn’t mean you retain their interest.

What do you think? Booth bimbos YES or booth bimbos NO?

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