At The Trade Show

A successful trade show is the result of careful planning and preparation. We have some suggestions for how to prepare for your next show, including making sure your people are equipped with effective selling strategies and supplies.

Getting Ready

Check that your display and all materials will be ready at "show time". Be sure your booth will be staffed and open during all show hours. Dress in a comfortable, conservative, business-like way. Get plenty of rest and exercise before and during the show.


  • Use lighting to set the mood and spotlight your products

  • Flowers and plants can be used to hide wiring and to set a more natural mood

  • Select a booth and graphic materials that are durable and lightweight for easy, affordable transportation and storage

  • Be sure you have plenty of easily accessible storage space for sales literature

Preparing Your People

Choose your exhibit team carefully, selecting personnel with proven sales and communications skills. Establish a game plan well before the show and train your team to run the exhibit, greet visitors and make effective presentations. Make sure your people know why you are at the show, what you are exhibiting and what specific objectives you expect them to meet.

Approaching Prospects

To make the best possible use of your available "selling" time at the show, consider these fundamental strategies for trade show presentations:

  • Prepare your display, staff and greetings to make a positive first impression

  • Ask questions to determine a prospect's interest in and need for your products

  • Spend 20% of your time talking, and 80% listening

  • Present the features, benefits and competitive advantages of your products in a clear and forceful way

  • Write down as much information as possible about each good prospect. Because 64% of trade show literature is thrown away, hand out less expensive literature at the show, and then send top-quality material only to your best prospects.

  • If a prospect is very interested, explore budget and purchase timing options.

  • Practice your greeting, presentation and closing techniques. And then practice again.

Stocking Supplies

Be sure to have plenty of general business supplies on-hand, including business cards, lead forms, sales-order forms, pens and paper, calendars, file folders, appointment books and other basic items. Double check that all show-specific items—such as special-exhibit promotional materials, work orders for any show labor, press kits, and giveaways or promotional items—are on hand.

Dismantling Your Exhibit

Make sure that all computer files or hard-copy notes on new leads are processed and forwarded to your sales team immediately. This information is the most valuable outcome of your trade show investment and should be treated as your number one priority. A trade show exhibit that is easy to dismantle, pack and ship saves you valuable time and labor once a show is over.