Crucial Elements of a Successful Trade Show Experience

setting up a trade boothThis is a guest post

You are going to your first trade show and it is the first time you are exhibiting. You’ve probably already been to and gotten all your convention display gear and paraphernalia, but understandably you have a small case of nerves and are wondering if you are prepared. After all, there’s a big difference between strolling the aisles and actually exhibiting. Here’s a brief checklist to see if you’re up to the challenge.

Plan Ahead

This means you start early—some say six months out—and really do your homework. Know who is attending, plan your logistics, plan your goals. (More on that in a minute: think sales.) Have everything worked out in advance as far as your team: who will man the booth, break times, scheduling re: arrival and set-up, everything. Plan your message and have a strategy to attract visitors into your space with an interesting and visually-arresting set of displays. You only have six seconds to grab their attention at a show. Make the most of those six seconds.

Emphasize Sales

Make sure your team knows the number one goal is to secure sales. That’s why you are getting leads, harvesting contacts; that’s why you’re going to follow up on the leads. The number one priority is to get your maximum ROI (return on investment) on that pricey trade show and that means sales. Selecting the right people for your booth is important, too. In fact, it’s absolutely critical. Not everybody is up to it. Sales are not everybody’s cup of tea, especially in a fast-paced, chaotic convention atmosphere. You rise or fall on their efforts, so choose them well.

Prepare for Follow-Ups, BEFORE the Show

Everybody knows it’s important to develop new leads at shows, but it’s how those leads are followed up that separates the big boys from the also-rans. You should prepare kits (and strategies) in advance for the booth personnel that will help develop the leads, answer customer’s questions, and establish a basis for follow-ups. Your home base staff should be coordinated with this effort so it is a complete effort. You don’t want an isolated, weekend “maximum effort” show by your show staff alone. Your pre-game and follow through are equally important here.

You’ve prepared, you’ve done your homework. Now, get out to those shows and grow your business. You can always find an excellent selection of trade show materials, all at great prices, simply by visiting

Image by schoschie

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