Tricks of the Trade for a Successful Tradeshow

Since I participate in quite a few tradeshows throughout the year, I thought that it would be a good opportunity to share some helpful tips that could aid your staff and yourself to having a more engaging trade show.  I will also mention some common courtesies that tend to be overlooked by the general public too.

  1. First of all, SMILE SMILE SMILE!!! No one is going to approach a grump.
  2. Stand straight and have an air of confidence, not arrogance. Don’t stand guard at your booth with your arms folded across your chest as it is intimidating – be welcoming.
  3. Maintain eye contact with each person you interact with.
  4. Do not sit unless your prospect does.
  5. No eating, drinking or chewing gum while manning your booth. If you need to sneak something to keep hydrated and energy levels up, please do it discretely with no evidence showing.
  6. Dress clean and appropriately as you are representing yourself, the company and will show respect to the attendees.
  7. If you don’t know something, admit it. Better to be honest and get back to a prospect than to lie and have mud on your face?
  8. Try to organize the booth with a flow or inviting entrance. People don’t like to feel trapped.
  9. Do not hard sell, people are there to enjoy, gather information and educate themselves on their needs. Some people may make a decision right on the spot but in my experience a lot of buyers wait until after the show to make a calmer more decisive purchase, not based on impulse.
  10. When setting up, be polite and respect the rules of the venue. Remember honey attracts flies; not vinegar. You may need a roll of tape, an extra curtain etc. and it may save you from running back out to retrieve or buy it by simply asking the people in charge.
  11. Get to know your neighbours as they may have to be called upon if you are left alone and need a washroom break, just remember to respect their booth parameters.
  12. Above all …. Thank you, thank you, thank you – goes a long way.

And if you’re on the other side of the fence, attending as a customer, remember:

  • Use common courtesies. The exhibitors are all there to show their wares. Being polite can help them get through a usually long three-day event with a bit more ease. 
  • Everyone loves free stuff but use common sense when taking a candy, pen or other advertising paraphernalia. I have seen people stuff their pockets or return for more as if they won’t be recognized. 
  • If you do not want to be disturbed, just say you are only looking and not in the market to buy. That way you won’t be trailed and hounded afterwards in digital overkill of special offers and promotions!