The Road to Trade Show Success

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Exhibiting at trade shows is the perfect way to gain exposure in an industry and get more out of an audience in a short period of time. Trade shows are also cost effective ways to meet multiple prospects and clients.

In order to ensure your trade show appearance and execution is successful, a lot of planning is required. For a well planned out trade show, consider the 6 tips below:

1. Booth location

When planning for a trade show, choosing the right location for your booth is key. Consider areas that will have high foot traffic, and keep in mind the surrounding exhibitors when choosing your booth location. Start early, as good booths get reserved fast!

2. Creative Matters

The way your exhibit looks and is set up is essential to how visitors are drawn to your booth. Booth creative should be simple and eye-catching – you will be competing with hundreds of well-dressed booths and to make sure yours stands out consider use of colour, compelling imagery and unique layouts. If your company/brand is not yet well known, opt for key phrases at top/eye level of booth rather than the company name itself.

3. Goal Setting

 In order to be able to measure the success of a trade show, it is important to go into it with measurable objectives. Goal setting will keep the whole sales team on track of what the expectations are coming out of the show. Openly discuss with your team the sales targets including the target number of scanned badges and qualified leads, target sales coming out of the show, and total sales from show exposure including post-show sales.

Don’t hesitate to assign sales targets to each team member. Once these targets are set and communicated with the show staff, it is crucial to hold periodic team huddles at show site to keep track and stay on the road to trade show success. 

4. Staff Training

Staff training and goal setting go hand in hand. By now, your trade show team knows what to get out of the show, but staff training will show them how to achieve their sales objectives. Teach your crew best practices of how to greet and engage with visitors and what types of qualifying and closing questions to ask. It’s important to keep in mind that there will be visitors at trade shows that will want to ask questions while some visitors will prefer to keep to themselves. Respect the ones that want their space, and engage with the ones that are looking for your attention.

5. Giveaways, Food & Drink

If you are planning on having giveaways at the show, make sure they are relevant to your business. Keep your company’s branding on product at a minimum and hand out trendy and useful giveaways to prevent attendees from throwing them out post-show.

Offering food and drink at the show will definitely attract attendees to your booth. However, proceed with caution as it may attract all attendees just for the sake of the freebies, and not just your target audience. 

6. Pre-Show & and Post-Show Activity


One of the best ways to build awareness about your exhibiting company is to engage in pre-show activity. Leverage social media, email campaigns, and word-of-mouth to create buzz about the upcoming show, email sneak-peek show special offers and promote the newness you will bring to the show. Invite current clients to the show and consider providing your elite customer base with complimentary show tickets.


The secret behind a successful trade show is following up on time with the leads you capture. Follow up with all your leads within three days, perhaps with an email, then a phone call, or vice versa. Close sales that you started to work on during the show, answer any pending product inquiries and follow-up with sample requests. It’s important to stay top of mind, and to continue to follow up and stay engaged with prospects one, three, even six months post-show. Sometimes some sales take longer to close, and need consistent follow up.

Follow these tips and tricks to get the most out of trade shows. Just remember – it’s a show, not a boardroom… Have fun, network and bring in your target sales! Good luck!

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