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7 Best Ways to Motivate Your Trade Show Sales Team
June 30, 2018

7 Best Ways to Motivate Your Trade Show Sales Team

If you’re about to exhibit at a trade show and are concerned about motivating your sales team, then you’re not alone.

It’s common knowledge that your sales staff can make the difference between success or failure, so we’re here to help.

This article explores proven ways to help you get the very best from your sales team, and ensure your exhibition experience is a success and above all, profitable.

In the following chapters, we explore proven actionable techniques you can apply to ensure you get the right sales team in place and motivate them to perform as best as possible.

Here’s a list of key ways to motivate your sales team, that you can apply now or at future trade shows:

  1. Get Your Team Size Right
  2. Create a Shortlist
  3. Gauge Interest
  4. Provide Incentives
  5. Set Goals
  6. Offer Training
  7. Prepare in Advance


No matter the size of your business, a trade show requires time, effort and a considerable financial investment.

To get that investment back, you need to have confidence in your sales to to ensure they attract visitors and encourage them to commit to a purchase.

Without the appropriate staff in place, the success of your exhibition stand will be limited.

There’s little point investing in an eye-catching trade booth if your sales team aren’t up to par.

Therefore, planning and preparing in advance is critical to ensuring the trade show goes off with a hitch.

Use the following motivational and preparatory tips, and you’ll be well on your way to successful exhibition.

Diverse Sales Team

1. Get Your Team Size Right

First things first! You need to calculate how many sales people your stand realistically needs.

This greatly depends on the scale of your exhibition booth, as well as the size of the trade show and the expected turnout, not to mention how much your service or product offering may be in demand.

Certain days may generate more traffic than others. So on those days you may need to add more personnel to compensate.

2. Create a Shortlist

Once you’ve decided on the number of sales people required to run your stand, you’re next step is to shortlist the most appropriate people by skill set and experience.

Those who have attended a trade show before will already know what to expect.

There will also be one or more sales people who have spent many years working for you, and will have a deep understanding of your brand, company values and offering.

But don’t discount new faces. Youthfulness and fresh energy can bring a lot of benefits.

So strike a balance between experience and youth to ensure your team appeals to a wider demographic of potential customers.

3. Gauge Interest

Once you’ve a shortlist of names in mind, approach each individual to gauge their interest and enthusiasm in attending the trade show and representing your business.

Trade shows can be demanding and involve long days, many of which will be spent on their feet speaking to prospects and customers alike.

The demands can be high so it’s understandable that not all employees will be willing to do this.

Moreover, the trade show may be located far from home or even abroad, so you will also need to make them aware of this.

In most cases, the responses will most likely be mixed, but this is perfectly normal.

It will give you a real insight into the types of people you have working for you and their attitude to sales.

Their response should tell you fairly quickly who’s right for the role and who is not.

Any salesperson who’s selected against their will is not going to be motivated, regardless of how hard you try to motivate them.

So don’t try to bully them into agreeing to do something they don’t want to. It will only backfire!

Stick to employees who show a real, active interest in being part of the sales team.

This will create a happier, more motivated team that is far more likely to produce better sales numbers.

Piles of Twenty Pound Notes

4. Provide Incentives

Even if you feel you’ve got the best possible sales team together, there’s always going to be a situation where one or two may not seem to be as enthusiastic as others.

It’s quite common for individuals who showed great willingness to attend, suddenly become withdrawn when the realities of a trade environment hit home.

If this occurs, you may need to consider offering various incentives to encourage better performance.

As with most employees, monetary incentives such as a higher hourly rate or a bonus generally work best.

But if this approach feels a little crude or impersonal, you might want to try to offering them a gift certificate or voucher.

5. Set Goals

It’s important to establish a set of objectives that will guide your team and give clarity on what is expected of them.

For example, you may be taking part in a trade show for one or more reasons, including:

  • Launching a new product or service
  • Being present among other competitors
  • Trying to increase your customer base
  • Retain or improve your reputation
  • Increasing brand awareness

To get the best from your sales team, they must know what you need to achieve at the trade show so they have targets to reach.

If coincided with incentives, the two will dovetail and act in unison.

The clearer your goals, the more motivated they are to reach them. If the incentives are good, they will perform.

6. Offer Training

Training your sales staff is of critical importance to avoid any misunderstandings or mishaps during critical sales situations.

They need to have the right information and knowledge in various aspects, including:

  • The product or service they will be promoting or selling
  • Any particular features or specifications
  • Technical details that might be important to specific products
  • Information on any special offers or discounts that may apply
  • Information on warranties or guarantees where applicable
  • Complete answers to frequently asked questions posed by customers

There’s nothing worse than having an ill-prepared salesperson who is constantly tripped up by basic questions they have no answer to.

Spend suitable time well in advance fo the trade show to give your sales team a complete breakdown of what they need to know and how to handle any difficult questions.

A well prepared salesperson is far more likely to have the confidence to sell and close a deal.

Exhibition Sales Team Meeting

7. Prepare in Advance

You do not want your sales personnel to rush into the trade show unprepared.

Apart from being a turn-off, it will demotivate them and possibly lead to anxiety and poor performance.

Moreover, customers will quickly realise if a salesperson is knowledgeable and willing to help them or not.

You want to make the right impression on potential customers, while improving your brand recognition and reputation.

Any deficiencies will go down badly and you’ll be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Thus you must prepare your team as best as possible well in advance.

So before the event takes place, organise a group meeting to discuss all aspects of the trade show and what to expect, including:

  • The goals and objectives
  • The products or services that will be showcased
  • The setup of the stand
  • The days and hours of the trade show
  • Any special offers, gifts or other incentives that you plan to offer
  • Any gimmicks you will make use of to attract people to the stand
  • The way that the sales persons are expected to dress
  • The way the sales persons should approach visitors and prospective clients


Never underestimate the importance having a great trade show sales team.

Prospective clients want to be nicely greeted, receive detailed explanations to questions and be properly informed if they make a purchase.

All this will most likely depend on the interactions they have with your sales team.

Therefore, properly managing and motivating your sales personnel is key to the success of your trade show participation.

Cut corners and it could backfire on you big time.

Like this article? Then try reading: 19 Actionable Trade Show Success Tips

Doug Ramsey

Doug is the Operations Director at Rock Solid Exhibitions. When he is not busy penning new blog posts for the company website, he is heavily involved in the design and build of numerous client exhibition stands at trade shows all over the UK and across Europe. Doug is passionate about delivering incredible exhibition booths to businesses of all sizes and loves to offer insight and opinion on our blog using his extensive experience within the industry. To find out more from Doug or to discuss an exhibition stand design, contact us on 01483 338978, email us or follow us on social media.