The Do’s and Don’t of a Trade Show
The Do’s and Don’t of a Trade Show
The following is a list of Trade Show Do’s & Don’t(s) that I have accumulated over the past 5 years.
Do learn the 80/20 rule and take it to heart. The best exhibitors are those who listen 80% of the time and talk 20%. Focusing on attendees’ wants and needs is a surefire route to success.
Do prepare a sales pitch. Have a story about your products. What inspired it. What does the product do. Be prepared to talk about the features & benefits of this product.
Do dress professionally & get a manicure. Business casual is perfect. Wear comfortable shoes. Those 4″ heels are cute but after standing for 5 hours you will thank me.
Do show up on time and have your table prepared before the set-up time ends.
Do keep your booth neat and clean. Keep all banners and display materials within the booth area.
Do have brochures &/or catalogs on the table so that an attendee may just take the literature if they choose not to stop for the sales pitch.
Do greet & thank attendees when they stop at or enter your booth.
Do bring hand sanitizer.
Do stay hydrated. Lots of water helps avoid headaches & improves concentration. Bring Tylenol in case a headache comes on.
Do actively engage show visitors. Stand and face out and use good eye contact. Give people who approach your display a friendly welcome, and welcome their questions. Be sure your body language is friendly; don’t stand there with your arms crossed over your chest.
Do have a good supply of order forms, pens, credit card slips, or anything else you need to conduct sales and keep track of people’s orders.
Do have wrapped candy in a candy dish or a pretty basket. Chocolate will slow visitors down every time. They may not buy, but they have stopped and they have looked.
Do put the word out that you’re participating in a particular trade show by inviting your clients, customers, suppliers, and other contacts to attend the show. Send out an email blast about your product. Be sure to include a “Come see us at the Calgary Moms Trade Fair” (Be sure you give them all the details, such as your table number.)
Do follow up when the show is over. A trade show is only as good as the business it generates, so don’t stash that stack of business cards in a to-do-later file. Send out email, regular mail, or make the phone calls to follow up on the contacts and leads you made during the trade show as soon as possible.
DON’T over stuff. Simpler is better. Overcrowded and cluttered booths will overwhelm visitors. Showcase only your new and top-selling products.
DON’T grab buyers in the aisle or solicit buyers from another booth. Let them to come to you.
DON’T leave a show early or break down your booth early. You may not be permitted to exhibit at a future show.
DON’T forget to drop off your door prize if you said you would provide one. Coordinators depend on prizes to bring in attendees.
DON’T sell samples. Most shows do not allow this.
DON’T place merchandise outside of your booth area.
DON’T eat, text or chat on your cell phone at the booth. If you are alone and need to eat, choose something that is easy to eat. Bring hand wipes so that you can clean your hands.
DON’T have your children in the booth.
DON’T bash your competition.
Don’t ignore other vendors. A lot of the business that gets done at trade shows is vendor-to-vendor.
Don’t sit. Sitting behind an exhibit booth sends the message that you’re not interested. People will just keep on walking. Stand and make immediate eye contact and greet or at least acknowledge every single visitor to your booth.
Don’t focus on passing out lots of sales literature, brochures, etc. Most of this will be thrown away. Instead, organize a draw or other mechanism for collecting potential customers contact information.
Don’t assume that trade show attendees will call you. Follow up with those who expressed interest in your product or service.
Don’t expect results to be immediate. It may take several months before you see the fruits of your labor.
Britt Raposo – Calgary Moms Trade Fair Coordinator