Common Sense Trade Show Advice

By Rena Patton

There are volumes written on trade show exhibitions and what to do, what not to do and enough numbers to give an aspirin a headache! What trade show exhibiting boils down to is good, old-fashioned common sense and a sense of salesmanship. Your business is on display, and the trade show arena is a stage for you and your sales team to perform upon it.

The key to success is to attract trade show attendees – once you get them hooked enough to pay you attention, then you must maintain their interest while you qualify them. For those which are qualified, you want to go further with the sales presentation – assess whether business can be transacted now or whether follow up is required after the show.

View Your Trade Show Display as the Proverbial Needle in a Haystack

Imagine a crowded shopping mall on Christmas Eve and it is packed with last minute shopping after all the prices have been slashed by 90%. Now you have an idea of what a trade show arena feels like – it is a busy and bustling place to be.

Your trade show display is a needle in that haystack of business humanity and it must stand out from the crowd.

A dull display means reduced attraction, which means reduced traffic, which means fewer interactions with your booth staff, which means fewer potential sales contacts, which means fewer sales.

Use a very vibrant display with a thought provoking tag – you can even risk being provocative – this only makes you interesting.

Be Big

There are no prizes for being backward about coming forward – spell out who you are in BIG LETTERS!

You have a second or two at most to make an impression on the mind of an attendee and you must seize that fractional opportunity. An attendee must be able to see who you are and have an understanding of what you are offering very, very quickly. One hint is to sum up your business in a sentence and use that as your supporting tag line.

Test the display on staff and existing customers and anyone you know who will give an honest opinion. When they see it they should be able to tell you, ‘Yup, I see who you are and what you’re doing, no problem!’ If they can’t it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Explain ‘What’s In It For Me?’ to Attendees

This is a basic question attendees will be constantly asking – what is in this interaction, this display, this sales pitch – for them!

There are two aspects to this question.

Explain what’s in the whole process for the attendee and this is where you can make excellent use of promotional techniques and free giveaways. So, ‘enter our prize draw with your email and contact information and win a guaranteed prize’ or ‘conduct our survey and take a gift on us!’

The second part of this is showing the attendee what you do and what you can do for them in a business sense. If you sell lubricants for lawn mowers, this is what the attendee should know and understand from the word go – this is what your business does and this is the context for the exchange of information between you and the attendee.

About the Author: Rena Patton is the president of ExhibitWholesale, a leading provider of

trade show displays

and accessories such as

pop-up displays


banner stands

. ExhibitWholesale can be found online at: .


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