Does Your Booth Staff Feel Appreciated?

Graphic: Digital Juice

Graphic: Digital Juice

It’s a basic tenet of human nature: People love to feel appreciated.

Yet how often do you show appreciation to your booth staff? Is it just another assignment to them, with no hope of any reward? If so, you’re likely getting only half-hearted results from them.

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What can you do to make them feel valued and rewarded? There are many ways, but one of the most effective is to gamify the trade show experience by creating an incentive program. By providing a sense of achievement and a desire to exceed expectations, it can also more than double staff performance. Since many people are not self-motivated, an incentive program can give them that extra bit of encouragement needed.

You can choose to reward positive behavior/actions (can be based on customer feedback surveys) or results (such as a certain number of sales or leads). Either way, it’s important to reward both the team and the individuals. Remember it must be fair to all staffers. If you reward only the top individuals, some will certainly feel left out and unappreciated. By rewarding only the team, those who work the hardest may resent the “loafers” who still are rewarded when the team achieves the goal. By rewarding both, you allow everyone to celebrate the victory, yet still give extra incentive to achieve individually. Another idea is to make it a competition between different teams or shifts in the booth.

The most successful way to reward is with an open-ended program where everyone who meets the goal wins. Achievers at each level are rewarded accordingly, with the biggest prizes reserved for those at the top level. This creates a greater sense of equality than close-ended programs where only a few people receive awards.

So how do you create a successful booth staff incentive program? You have to have a game plan. Designing a program doesn’t happen overnight. Spend some time selecting creative rewards that are fair, and you will see a significant increase in your show results.

But here’s a word of caution: Never use a contest as a sympathy tool with attendees! They don’t care whether you’re winning a big-screen TV or whatever. They only want to know what’s in it for them. Besides, what good does it do to win if you don’t have any qualified leads to follow up on later?

Want to discover more ways to motivate and reward your staff? We’ll be focusing on this topic in October’s Advanced Strategy in the Exhibit Marketers Café.

© 2015 Marlys K. Arnold (from the September 2015 TradeShowTips Online with portions excerpted from Build a Better Trade Show Image; To receive tips like this in your inbox every month, please take a moment to fill out this request.)

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With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. Exhibit Design That Works (the first book in the YES: Your Exhibit Success series) debuted in July 2017. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community.

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