Trade Show Exhibits: 101 Tips for a Successful Show


Getting prepared for your trade show exhibit

  1. Plan Ahead: Planning and preparation for a major trade show can take 12+ months.
  2. Create a great first impression. From your booth, to staff apparel, it all plays a part.
  3. Practice: Practice makes perfect, so keep practicing what you’ll do at the trade show.
  4. Have a test show at your business and ask friends and family to come by. Offer them free food.
  5. Balance genders at your booth.
  6. Listen more, talk less. People will sell themselves, so talk less, but be prepared to answer questions.
  7. Be upbeat: Make sure everyone has a positive attitude about your products and services
  8. Sleep and rest: It takes a lot out of you to be on your feet all day. Get the proper rest.
  9. Research the show before you attend. Make sure the show is the right fit for your company.
  10. Budget: Make sure you have a budget and keep track of all expenses. Additional expenses always pop up.
  11. Pre-show marketing. Send out something to the attendees list. Get them involved before the show
  12. Lead collection: Make sure your team knows how to collect attendees information. Make it easy.
  13. Staff member roles: Each member should have a specific role.
  14. Be ready to succeed!
  15. Give the impression of demand for your products and services, within your trade show exhibit.
  16. Send enough people to ensure adequate trade show booth coverage throughout the show.
  17. Stress the value of friendly greetings, polite manners, and appropriate body language.
  18. Practice answering questions.
  19. Have a technical person there to answer more in-depth questions.
  20. Set-up your booth as early as possible. If your done early, let people take a break before the show starts. Being late is very bad!
  21. Engage, engage, engage. Get creative with engaging elements to your booth.
  22. Breath mints, no gum. Enough said.
  23. Wear shoes that are comfortable.
  24. Eat healthy for longer stamina.
  25. Drink plenty of water. Water gives your energy and clarity.
  26. Consider giving away water bottles with your logo.
  27. Don’t pitch. Ask lots of questions.
  28. Don’t allow one attendee to take up all your time. Get their info and questions and move one. Get in touch after the show for a more en-depth conversation.
  29. Include some interactive displays, touch displays or multimedia in your exhibit.
  30. Make your message simple and clear.
  31. If you are not a designer, hire someone to design your trade show displays. Worth every penny.
  32. Don’t close down early!
  33. Tease them with info. Leave them wanting to know more.
  34. Make purchasing your products or services available at the show
  35. Make friends with your neighboring exhibitors, and refer attendees back and forth.
  36. Don’t waste your time with unqualified attendees.
  37. Arm your staffers with answers to common objections.
  38. Be aware that everyone is watching you. Dress and act in an appropriate manner.
  39. Appeal to the 5 senses: Look, touch, smell, sound & taste.
  40. Ask open ended questions to engage attendees.
  41. Have a contest or raffle to get people to return to your booth
  42. Make your booth fun, yet professional
  43. Plan for security of your booth. People walk away with iPads all the time.
  44. Make it easy for people to get information, even when all staff members are with other attendees.
  45. Give product demonstrations at specific times.
  46. Order services ahead of time. Making deadlines = big savings.
  47. Create an inventory list. Make one person in charge of making sure everything is at your show.
  48. If your a first time exhibitor, go to other shows ahead of time as an attendee. You’ll gain great insight and ideas from other exhibitors.
  49. Decide on your main message and make it clear and up front.
  50. Be unique with the design of your exhibit. Stand out from the crowd.
  51. Exhibit at proven shows with a track record, not new shows.
  52. Talk with each attendee before scanning their badge.
  53. Have a follow-up plan in place for leads.
  54. Email attendees the night after the show. Remind them about you and your company as fast as possible.
  55. Offer attendees that visited your booth on day one, a reason to return the next day.
  56. Create a buzz online about your exhibit before and during the show.
  57. Use social media to promote your show and engage attendees.
  58. Book flights and hotels far in advance for big savings.
  59. Understand the shows rules and guidelines for shipping your displays to the convention center. (Know all the costs up front)
  60. Make sure you have enough give-aways with your brand so you don’t run out.
  61. Give them something useful, with a long lifespan. Think T-Shirts, Bags, etc…
  62. Do not rely on the venue’s internet connection. Bring demos that do not require the internet.
  63. Visit your booth as an attendee would before the show.
  64. Use the lulls in traffic to network with other exhibitors.
  65. Add some fresh flowers or greenery to your booth.
  66. Do not “Sell” – EDUCATE.
  67. Arm your staffers with answers to common objections.
  68. Reward staffers for great performances and lead generation.
  69. Always be ready to demo your products or services.
  70. Offer a discount to show attendees.
  71. Give each qualified prospect something with your landing page, to gather after show data and statistics.
  72. Work with a professional trade show display and exhibit company.
  73. Wear a professionally made name tag.
  74. Don’t rely on the shows internet. Have offline demos available.
  75. Create a company promo video and have it loop on your display.
  76. Think through the show from beginning to end.
  77. Marketing and design your booth from your end client’s perspective and needs.
  78. Re-read tips 1-76 for a deeper understanding.
  79. Hold brainstorm sessions with your company ahead of the show and at the beginning of the planning stages.
  80. Reward employees with great ideas.
  81. Pick your best to work the show.
  82. Include a manager at the show
  83. Create your top 3 goals for exhibiting at the show.
  84. Keep your focus when planning and attending. Stay focused on your top three goals.
  85. Choose your exhibiting space wisely. Ask the person who is selling you your exhibit space, about the convention center and best locations. Be by the food or bathrooms!
  86. Keep an eye out for big business opportunities.
  87. Have a system for collected and categorizing key leads.
  88. Be professional at ALL times and to everyone.
  89. Always have info about your company with each staff member at all times. At dinner, Breaks, the pool, etc…
  90. Take pictures of your booth and exhibit or even shoot video.
  91. Walk around and get ideas from other exhibits for the following days or future shows.
  92. Development a plan for lost displays, broken equipment. Have back-ups.
  93. Have your best sales person on the floor.
  94. Set-up your booth ahead of time.
  95. Pick a hotel that’s close or at the convention hotel.
  96. Learn to read prospect body language.
  97. Stand unless your sitting down with a prospect.
  98. Hit the gym, or go for a walk before each show day.
  99. Have samples of your past work or case studies proving your company’s worth.
  100. Give away bags with your brand so attendees can carry around show to promote your brand even more.
  101. When you think your ready for your show, start from the beginning and review the entire exhibit.

For additional tips, advice and specific ideas for your trade show exhibit, contact APG Exhibits and work with one of our Trade Show Experts. Free advice with every purchase. Ask to speak with Matt Baron and mention this article for 5% off your order.

Phone: 866-752-2192