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Did you go to the recent trade show?

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

We did. We always like to go see how people display their businesses and run their trade sites.

And there is always a vast difference in techniques, from a friendly engaging sales style to the more passive “I’m here if you need me” approach. Everybody pays good dollars to be there, yet some sit in their stand looking at their phones, waiting for the passers-by to come to them.

The point to remember in this situation is that this is more of a ‘show’ and less of a ‘hard sell’.

It's a time to expose new and exciting innovations. Perhaps it's a new colour range, or a new product altogether. For others it is simply a chance to expose their business to the wider world. But what every stand has in common is that this is a great opportunity to get leads for future business, if they do it right. A trade based business should expect to collect enough leads at an event like this to fill an order book for 3-4 months at least.

So, we thought it might be timely to share with you a few tips on how to run a successful stand at a trade show. And hopefully, when the next one rolls around, we will see many more happy stand-holders making the most of their investment.

Our tips include:

  • Use pictures, posters, items, anything that tells a ‘story’ in your stand about what you do and how you make peoples’ lives better.

  • Do not just recreate your shop floor. Create something interesting, an interactive or engaging experience, that stops people walking by.

  • Show a ‘before and after’ real display if you can, or have a product demo running. (A recent favourite display was a moving but broken printer, so the stand owner could tell visitors the true cost to a business of a printer that does not work properly.)

  • Stand outside the stand area in the flow of passing people traffic. Don’t hide away in the stand, because as a rule, people won’t come to you. (Get off that phone!)

  • Give stuff away to passers-by. (One stand holder in Napier was giving away free copies of a local magazine. What a great conversation starter!)

  • Talk to people, ask them questions about themselves. Do they have problems like the ones you solve? Is this something they might like some more info on in the future?

  • Get their contact details! I’ll say it again because this is the whole point of being at the show - get their contact details!

  • And offer a free prize draw for people to enter. It's a highly effective way to capture details from less engaged visitors to the stand.

  • Remember, many people at trade shows might not be ready to buy for another 6 months so don't try the hard sell on them.

  • Also, make them a show special offer like a X% discount if they buy within the next 3 months. This creates urgency in their minds. People hate missing out on discounts!

  • After the show is over follow up every contact, every lead. A trade show is a big waste of time and money if you don’t follow up on your leads!

  • Finally, repeat your show special offer in these follow up calls – and remind them it has an expiry date. Again, this heightens the urgency and their ‘fear of missing out’ that will help you close the sale.

There is nothing more frustrating than packing up from a trade show and feeling it wasn't worth the time, money and effort to be there.

But if you make an effort with your stand, a trade show can be a lot of fun, and very lucrative, if you do it right!

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I'm Roger

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