Working your Trade Show Booth

Dec 7


Rick Hendershot, M.A.

Rick Hendershot, M.A.

  • Share this article on Facebook
  • Share this article on Twitter
  • Share this article on Linkedin

When you're at a trade show, you're ... with ... else for ... You have to make your booth ... ... and worth coming to. It has to create a great first ... A


When you're at a trade show,Working your Trade Show Booth Articles you're competing with everybody else for competition. You have to make your booth attractive, noticeable, and worth coming to. It has to create a great first impression. And so do you, as the guy working it.

Just think of what goes on at a typical trade show. There are literally thousands of people strolling around and hundreds of booths to visit. Is yours going to "get the visit". Or will people walk right by not even taking a notice. How do you attract the attention of potential visitors? How do you get them to come to your booth rather than your competitor's.

Most experts in trade show marketing agree: "You have to be aggressive and proactive. You can't just wait for people to come to you. Just being there isn't enough. You have to reach out and grab people's attention.

Considering all the money you spend on these shows — for transportation, hotel, fees and the trade show booth itself — it's important to get the most for your buck. Here are some key tips:

Don't put a chair in your booth. Chairs take up valuable space and make you appear lazy. "[Attendees] did not come to that trade show to sit down," says Ed Leslie, a Certified Association Executive and trade-show veteran "They came to that trade show to get information and make the best deal they can." So design your trade show booth space in a business-like manner.

Ask open-ended questions. The biggest fault of trade-show participants is asking closed questions, according to Leslie. "Any question that can be answered in a yes or a no is detrimental to you establishing your product or service," he says. The reason is pretty simple. Prospects see closed questions as easy to avoid. They give you a "yes" or "no", and they keep on walking. That's not what you want. You want them to pause and think about your product. Make them stop and answer your question. Get them talking. Think of some good "openers" before you even get going.

Blow your own horn. LOUD. Make a clear and concise list of your product's benefits, and rehearse them until they are second nature to you. (Of course as an effective sales person, you should have done this already). What does your product or service do that's unique? Does it have a 100% guarantee? Will it save money in the long run? Is it the first on the market? Find that selling point and make sure it's visible to passers-bys. It should be visible in your trade show graphics. And it should be prominent in your presentation. Don't just highlight your company name; participants are coming to find that special product or service. "If they see what they're looking for initially, they're going to come to you," says Leslie.

Make your handouts standout. How many times have you seen people toting a canvas bag chock-full of brochures? This material, according Leslie, is likely to become firestarter. People tend to keep things with bulk, such as product samples, cds and other more substantial give aways. He encourages substantial novelty freebies such as yo-yos. If you're not willing to spend the money on these types of handouts, at least invest in business cards with a picture or graphic of your product on the flipside — a quick reminder of what you had to offer. Cards can be filed away in pockets and wallets. Says Leslie: "That business card will last much longer than multi-colored fold-out material."

When copying or reproducing this article, or parts of this article, please give appropriate credits to Richard Hendershot,

Trade Show Tips: Working your trade show booth