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Best Practices For Promoting Your Business At Trade Shows

Trade shows are a great way to get in front of lots of potential customers, all in the same place at the same time. Are you getting the most value out of your trade shows? Take these tips to your next one!

Why Trade Shows Are So Popular… And Risky

Trade shows are big business today and you probably already have a number of invitations from upcoming conferences asking if you would be interested in renting space to hawk your wares.

Over the years I have resisted these invitations.

They require money and manpower and the return on investment may or may not be there. In these difficult times, vendors are looking at their budgets and struggling with that decision.

Obviously, you can’t grow your business unless you are in front of potential customers in person or online. Luckily, trade shows are one way to get in front of many potential customers, all in one place.

Make The Most of Your Next Trade Show

Start off on the right foot by setting up your booth on time.

What kind of impression will you make with the trade show host and the attendees if you are still putting products and promotions out when the show opens?

Avoid eating and drinking in your booth.

The message you send when you are munching on lunch is, “Oops, I don’t have time for you now. I’m busy.”

Stand up during the event no matter how bad your feet hurt and your back aches.

A vendor sitting down appears lazy, disinterested and unapproachable.

Save your idle chatter with your booth mates until after the show.

No one passing by will care enough to interrupt your conversation for a sales pitch.

Be considerate of the other vendors by saving your sound and light presentation for another occasion.

During one trade show, the fellow in the next booth had so much audio and video going that it felt like half-time at the Super Bowl.

Draw passersby to your booth through your professional appearance and positive attitude.

Wear your most professional attire and greet everyone with eye contact, a smile and a greeting. “Hi, how are you?” as a greeting will generate the classic response, “Fine.” There goes your prospect. Be original.

Pay attention to your body language and maintain open posture-no crossed arms.

Stand forward in your booth with hands relaxed and at your sides.

Remember the 80/20 rule – listen 80% of the time and talk 20% of the time.

Otherwise, you will never learn what your prospect wants, needs or thinks.

Wear your name tag, the one that everyone can read without having to squint.

This will also make it easier for the people who visit your booth to remember your name and organization when the trade show is over.

Use the name of your prospect in conversation so they know that they are the focus of your attention.

Using your prospect’s name is a powerful way to make a connection with them and show them that their time is important to you.

Be consistent.

You are your company. If you are selling a clown act, be funny no matter how grumpy you may feel at the end of the day. If you are promoting business etiquette, be gracious regardless of other people’s inconsiderate behavior.

And finally, stay out of other companies’ booths.

Wandering into other people’s exhibit area is disruptive and gives them permission to barge in on you when they get bored.

When the show is over, the dust has settled and the aches and pains are subsiding, follow up with your prospects so that all that effort is not wasted. Turn your contacts into clients.


The Improvised Sales Intelligence™️ Book of Play gives you the tools, tactics, and techniques to become a more effective and agile communicator in spontaneous sales conversations. Download the FREE Book of Play here.

About the author

Lydia Ramsey

Lydia Ramsey

Lydia Ramsey helps people promote themselves and grow their business by showing them how…

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