You can have a killer trade show exhibit design and an awesome trade show marketing plan—but if your exhibit staff doesn’t perform, your program is going to come up short.
The challenge is to get the members of your team to take ownership. A trade show booth staff that feels that the success of the exhibit marketing program reflects on them personally is going to be a high performing booth staff.
So how do you do this? Here are nine of our favorite tactics to empower your exhibit staff to perform in your exhibit:
1. Assign jobs based on each team member’s strength. Sometimes, what looks like a lack of interest on the part of a staffer is really a sign that the staffers is uncomfortable working in the exhibit. And while maybe you can’t afford to give them a reprieve from booth duty, you may be able to adjust team members’ roles so that everyone will be comfortable.
For instance, extroverts can be assigned to engage visitors from the aisle and then hand them over to your introverts. Introverts—who typically hate to engage but are great with conversations—can take over giving demos. You may also have technophobes who should be kept away from your interactive demos (and possibly your lead gen system), specialists who should be assigned to discuss the products they know well, and generalists who are comfortable engaging, but not discussing anything in detail. Assign each of these types a role that plays to their strengths and you’re likely to see their performance improve.
2. Schedule shorter shifts or breaks. No one can keep their energy up for more than a three or four hour booth shift. And certainly no one can work a booth non-stop for two or three consecutive days. Keep the energy level in your booth high by assigning your staffers shorter shifts. Or, if you can’t do that, give them a sizable 30-60 minute reprieve to break up their day.
For instance, you can schedule all hands on deck during the busiest periods of the day and then let half of your staff have a break once the crowds die down. The other half can take their break once the first half of the staff returns.
3. Allow the staffers to select their own specialty area. The members of your exhibit staff will appreciate being asked what role they’d like to play in the booth—or the product specialty they’d like to be responsible for. The psychology behind allowing them to choose for themself increases their feeling of responsibility as well as their desire to perform well.
4. Treat working the show as a perk or reward. When attending the show becomes something team members are selected for because of initiative, performing well at past shows, or their achievements in the office, their sense of competition kicks in. This will increase their desire to be part of your booth staff and ensure that they behave with pride and enthusiasm once they’re at the show.
5. Turn your staff into stakeholders. Most exhibit staffers know little about plans for the show until everything is finalized. Then they’re told where to stand and what to do. A more empowering approach is to involve the staff early on in the planning. Get their input on possible activities and ask for their feedback on ideas. Even go as far as to include them on the teams that develop your exhibit engagement activities. By the time they get to the show they’ll feel like they have a stake in the exhibit and its outcome. They’ll care more, work harder and ensure your program’s success.
6. Create a competition. Everyone likes to win—especially sales people. Attach some sort of challenge to your engagement and you’ll have your staffers working harder than you ever imagined. This could be a gift card or simple verbal acknowledgment for whoever collects the most leads, gives the most demos, takes the most orders, or engages the most promising potential new customer.
7. Praise your top performers. People like to be recognized for a job well done. A quick word to compliment how smoothly someone engages or the great way they’re transitioning people to the demos makes them feel appreciated and encourages them to continue their stellar performance. Depending on the team dynamic, you might even recognize them publicly.
8. Assign booth captains. Reward your top performers by designating them as booth captains and asking them to work with other staffers to help them become more comfortable engaging in the booth. Sometimes a little tag-team practice is all it takes to help a shy staffer transition into a top performing exhibit staffer.
9. Conduct exhibit staff training. The more prepared your team is, the better it will perform.
What tactics do you use to improve your exhibit staff’s performance?