Energizing Your Trade Show Booth Staff
If you’re attending a one-day trade show event, it’s easy for your sales team to power through it with energy drinks and pep talks. However, if you’re keeping a staff at your trade show displays through an extended (3-4-5+day) show, you’re going to have to start looking for more creative ways to keep the energy levels up.
The goal is for your trade show booth staff to be able to greet the last visitor on the fourth day with every bit as much enthusiasm as they greeted the very first visitor on day 1 – if they can do that, you’ll know you have the right staff working in your trade show booth!
Motivating Your Trade Show Displays’ Staff During Long Shows
I. Start before the show.
Picking the right staff to work in the trade show booths can be the most important factor of all. Give serious thought to the people that you bring. Look for people who are honestly enthusiastic about the company and its products. Recruit them directly, face to face. Make it a special opportunity and emphasize their importance to the team.
If you take motivated people and give them a sense of responsibility, they’ll make the most of it.
II. Train hard.
Once you have your staff selected, train them. Give them some time off from their regular duties to practice learning scripts, conversational techniques, and facts about the product. Familiarize them with the trade show displays that will be used, as well as all the media tools that will be available at the show. Show them some presentations on sales techniques and “cold reading” people. These are the techniques that they’ll rely on during the show. The better-prepared they are, the less chance they have of burning out.
III. Eat and act healthily.
This is an obvious one, but it bears repeating: Good meals and a full night’s sleep will go a long way towards keeping your staff’s energy level up. Don’t succumb to the temptation to let them spend their “vacation” nights drinking and partying; make sure they go to bed sober at a reasonable hour.
If your crew seems disappointed at not having fun during the trade show itself, make it a special treat for the end of the project. If your trade show display is a success, then they can have the night (or perhaps the weekend) of fun they’re hoping for before they go home.
IV. Send them on reconnaissance.
A great way to cycle your staff members and prevent burnout is to periodically give them an hour or two to wander around the trade show while checking out everyone else’s trade show displays. This doesn’t have to be too rigorous (or else you’re turning their down time into more work), but encourage them to take pictures, talk to people, and make note of things that seem to be working or not working. Compare notes during your end-of-day debriefings.
V. Bad interactions happen; don’t overreact.
While it would be wonderful if every single interaction with a visitor went positively, this rarely happens. If a crew member at your trade show display loses their cool, or gets baited by a heckler, or something along those lines, send them away to cool off for awhile before they come back. Don’t chew them out directly unless the incident was truly major, or else it just increases everyone’s stress level.
VI. Use group rewards.
In general, it’s best to use group rewards as motivators rather than individual awards, since the last thing you want is your trade show display staff fighting with each other, no matter how covertly. If you want to reward personal effort above-and-beyond, do it after the show rather than turning your display stand sales efforts into a competition.
Keeping your trade show booth staff motivated is one of the most important things you can do at your trade show displays. If you stay organized and keep them pumped up and enthusiastic, you’ll have a more effective booth.