Trade Show Displays

How to Work a Trade Show Booth

How To Work A Trade Show Booth

Trade Shows are an essential aspect of almost every business. It allows you to get your products or services out into the public eye. Your reach goes far beyond just the people that attend simply through coverage of the trade show and word of mouth. In the past, we’ve discussed how to find the right trade show for your business. Once you do find the right one, you’ll then need to know precisely how to work a trade show booth. Don’t worry, though! We’re here to help you get started.

How to Work a Trade Show Booth

Be Prepared and Make Appointments

This seems like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised by how many people that skip this vital question: what are we looking to accomplish? In other words, what kind of results are you looking for from having a trade show booth? Are you trying to increase awareness, gain leads, or build customer relationships? It’s very possible it could be all three. However, you want to know exactly what your bottom line is so you can work toward accomplishing it.

About 4 -6 weeks before the show, it’s time to start reaching out to the people you want to meet. Set up appointments with past attendees (if you have a list) or specific people you would like to meet. They may be leaders of other companies or sales directors, senior buyers, etc. Find the information you need on their company website or LinkedIn and contact them to set up an appointment at the trade show.

It’s recommended you pick odd times for your appointments such as 1:35 pm vs. 1:30 pm. It’s been shown by studies that an “odd time” is more likely to be remembered. Keep track of all of your appointments and if one gets missed make sure to reach out to the person and attempt to reschedule.

Make a Memorable First Impression

First impressions are important. Studies have shown we form our first opinion of another person in only a 10th of a second. With a website or a brand, that first opinion is formed within a 5th of a second. It is also said that 95% of that opinion is based on the overall design presented. That means you quite literally only have a fraction of a second to capture someone’s attention and have them form a positive opinion rather than a negative one.

That may seem intimidating but the key to success was mentioned in the previous paragraph… design. The design of your trade show booth is everything. It can make or break your success. Even if we remove the opinion factor from this equation, your booth will be amongst hundreds or thousands of others. How can you stand out from those around you? Creative, modern, simple, and effective design.

Don’t let that intimidate you if that isn’t your area of expertise. When you work with Display Pros, you’ll gain access to our team of expo industry design veterans absolutely free. We know how important it is to stand out amongst the crowd. So, all of our trade show display booths are printed with a state of the art “dye-sublimation” process. The result is a permanent, high resolution, full-color print that will allow your business to make the best first impression possible.

Engage Attendees and Give them Free Merch

It might seem counterintuitive to give away a bunch of free things when you’re trying to make money but it can be vital. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive, it just needs to be something cool and/or interesting that has your logo on it. For example, it could be a light-up lanyard with your logo, a unique branded paracord bracelet, or large stickers with funny or artistic designs. You’ll likely find everyone else does this as well so try and find items that are unique and stand out but still pertain to your brand.

First of all, make sure you engage all of the attendees rather than just throwing free stuff at them. Talk to them, get to know them, and exchange business cards or information. Make sure they are a potential buyer or someone you want to network with. There doesn’t need to be an exchange of information but you want to make a positive impression on the person and then offer them some merchandise to wear. We’ll share one of our favorite trade show secrets with you. Get one larger item to raffle off, a pair of wireless headphones for example, and let people know that if they’re seen wearing your other merchandise around the event, they’ll be entered into a raffle to win the item at the end of the show.

This strategy can be a great way to spread your brand like wildfire throughout a trade show. Once others see everyone else wearing your items, they’ll want one, too, which will cause them to seek your booth out. 

Create an Interactive Experience

While this can and should be accomplished on a face-to-face level, it would be a good idea to also offer another interactive experience. This ultimately depends on your brand and what you are offering. However, it can be something as simple as touch screens attendees can scroll through and interact with. It could also be something more physical like a model or product they can see, touch, and use.

This will not only give the person an actual experience rather than just an idea, but it will also create a memorable moment. When the attendees go and tell other people about the trade show, they likely won’t boast about how much money they could save. Instead, they will tell others about what was most memorable to them; a fresh interactive product, a hands-on exhibit, or an interactive game they got to play. Make your trade show booth experience something people want to tell their co-workers and friends about. Word of mouth is a powerful tool!

Trade Show Booth Success

Your trade show booth will be a success as long as you are prepared and focused ahead of time. First, make appointments will anyone you want to speak with at the show. Then, most importantly, make sure your trade show booth has a high-quality, eye-catching design that allows you to stand out amongst the crowd. Finally, be ready to engage attendees, offer them branded merchandise to wear, and offer them an immersive, interactive experience. With these key factors, you now know how to work a trade show booth to accomplish your business goals.





About Ryan Schortmann

Ryan Schortmann is the Founder and Managing Partner at Display Pros, where he works to help businesses of all sizes make an impact with their customers by providing quality trade show and retail displays at affordable prices. A graduate from New England College, Ryan holds a degree in Business and Computer Science. When not hard at work at various marketing roles, he enjoys cooking, travel, and gaming.

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