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Incentivizing your Tradeshow Booth Staff

© Danny Orleans

Trade show Tips from Danny Orleans

Lesson 4 – Incentivizing Booth Staff

After finishing a 10-minute presentation in a client’s tradeshow booth, I noticed that one of the sales reps in the booth purposely didn’t try to engage anyone from the large crowd that had watched my interactive magic show. When I asked her, "Why?" I was stunned at the answer.

      "I hate working these tradeshows. They take me away from my territory and my customers. Besides, if I sell to a random customer, the credit and the commission for the sale goes to their rep, not to me. So not only am I not rewarded for my efforts, but I’m making another sales rep look better than me."  

Give your reps a T.I.P.

      How do you change the attitude of a rep like this? Consider a T.I.P. – an acronym for "Tradeshow Incentive Program."  A T.I.P. is a reward program that you design especially for the reps working the tradeshow booth. Incentivizing the sales reps in your booth is an important ingredient in the formula for a successful trade show booth. Research shows that 90% of sales occurring from an initial contact at a trade show are because of the staff. If your staff isn’t motivated you are losing an opportunity to maximize the number of interactions, and ultimately your sales, at the trade show. You want every member of your staff to be incentivized to sell to any and all prospects walking past your booth – not just ones "in their territory."

Motivation techniques

Here are a few ways to motivate and incentivize staff:

1. Have a daily trade show contest amongst your sales reps. Whichever rep gets the most leads, gets a prize.

2. If you’re allowed to sell product at the show, reward the rep with the highest sales numbers.

3. Have a mystery judge watch the booth staff. Reward the reps based on…

a)      Having the best attitude

b)      Showing the best effort

c)      Logging the most hours working the booth

d)      Getting the most highly qualified leads

e)      Attracting prospects to the booth

f)       Doing the most product demonstrations

4. Want your staff to work as a team and be rewarded for team effort? Create a team goal based on the total number of leads everyone gets at the show.


Then give away prizes each day during your wrap up meeting. Examples of great prizes that will motivate booth staff include:

a)      Bottle of Wine

b)      Gift card for dinner for two to a fine dining establishment.

c)      Tickets to a sporting event or a theatrical show.

d)      American Express Gift Card

e)      Weekend for two in Vegas

f)        Bonus check

Companies spend lots of money on exhibit booth creation, logistics, hotel rooms, airfares, sponsorships, give-aways and in-booth promotions – all to attract business and elevate their presence at a trade show. Be sure your budget includes a T.I.P. to motivate and reward staff. It may be the secret ingredient that can change the attitude, the effort and the results your trade show exhibit staff achieves at your next convention.


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