Trade Show Booth Tips

August 27, 2019 | Trade Show Tips Trade Shows

In this article, we’ll share some of‘s top trade show booth tips. From selling strategies to booth signage tips, you’ll learn the secrets to having a profitable trade show.

Trade Show Booth Tips for Staff?

Sales Strategy and Trade Show Etiquette

Are you spending $1,000s to $100,000s to exhibit at a trade show? Training your staff in how to conduct sales conversations in your trade show booth is essential!

Without training, staff will be little more than warm bodies and your trade show will be a waste of time and money. We know that hiring consultants to train staff is expensive and tip lists aren’t the complete guide your staff needs.

To solve this problem, we’ve created Tradeshow Basecamp™—the first online video course series of its kind. This course is designed to teach you how to have profitable sales conversations at your trade show booth in just Five Easy Steps!

More than trade show tips and tricks, this course is a complete guide to selling at your trade show exhibit.

Keep reading to learn secrets from our Tradeshow Basecamp™ pros!

Tina Nicola, M.A.

Tina is the founder of and has been creating profitable marketing and exhibit strategies for startups, small businesses and nonprofits for over nineteen years. Her main goal is to broaden access to the techniques she has developed so anyone can benefit and improve exhibiting strategy, sales conversations and follow up.

Tradeshow Basecamp™

Our acclaimed course series, a complete program designed to help you have profitable trade shows. Get instant access to the full course series (101, 102, 103, 104).

Be fully prepared for your next event and earn your  Certified Tradeshow Basecamp Exhibitor™ (CTBE™) today!

Training a team? Check out our For Teams course series.

Introducing...Tradeshow Basecamp™

Trade Show Booth Tips for Budget Signage

Design Signage for Re-Usability

If budget is an issue for your company, always design signage with re-usability in mind. Many companies love retractable banner stands because they are more affordable and easy to carry. However, even a large retractable banner stand can cost $300 or more per sign.

  • Design expensive signage around generic marketing messages and stable products rather than contextual promotions.

Always ask yourself: Will we be able to use this sign at our next show? For instance, will a 50% off promotion no longer be in effect? Contextual promotions like this can be printed on cheaper poster board signs, table-top signs or even adhered to your sign or its hardware with temporary adhesive.

Print Signage at the Show

If you are designing for an exhibit space larger than 10×10, it’s tempting to buy new or used booth properties to reflect your brand. However, this is not necessarily the best investment for a budget-conscious company. Booth properties need to be shipped, sometimes at great expense to you. Once at the show, union regulations often require that you pay official labor to assemble your booth—another large expense.

A cheaper solution is to work with the vendors endorsed by the trade show itself to rent booth properties that are then installed at the event. Shipping is not an issue at that point. If new signage is needed, have it printed at the show for installation in the booth properties you have rented. Best of all, official show vendors tend to offer similar options in terms of booth property sizes. That means that the signage is frequently re-usable from one show to another.

Want to re-use the signage you’ve printed at the trade show? Make a plan to pack up and ship just the signage after the show. Since this signage is usually just prints mounted on foam board, the signs are light and cheap to ship. Ship back to headquarters or directly to your next show!

Trade Show Booth Lighting is a Must

It’s tempting to skimp on lighting, but don’t. Trade show booths without lighting look less professional and your messages will get lost in a large exhibit hall. Since the exhibit hall itself is well lit, your signs need lighting to stand out.

Check out our article on Trade Show Booth Lighting for a budget-conscious LED light buying guide.

Is Your Signage Portable?

When it comes to booth property and signage, shipping costs must always be considered. Somehow the signs have to get to your trade show booth. We’ve already discussed how to rent booth property and print signage on site to avoid shipping costs. But there is another way to keep signage transportation affordable: portable signage.

Portable signage saves on shipping and installation. This kind of signage can be installed by your staff at the trade show. The trade show and union rules governing trade show booth installations usually won’t apply and you can avoid those installation costs.

There are many varieties of portable signage solutions on the market. From retractable banners (which we love!) to pop-up displays, this signage can be transported by a single representative in a car or on a plane. Consider weight when purchasing and also whether a sturdy signage carrying case with wheels can be purchased for the product. For the sign you are considering, ask yourself:

  • Is it lightweight?
  • Does it come with a sturdy carrying case that has wheels? If not, can you buy one?
  • Can one (or two) staff assemble the signage quickly and easily?

Ask sales staff if the signage solution is truly portable. If you are not the one who will be transporting the signage, be sure to ask the staff who will be what they think of a sign option before you purchase. Something you think is portable and ‘lightweight’ may not feel that way to a team member who is older or has physical limitations.

Trade Show Booth Tips: Driving Traffic

Host Presentations—In Your Exhibit

Nothing grabs the attention of exhibit attendees like a presentation in the booth! Instead of renting expensive conference room space from the trade show itself, plan your exhibit to include presentation space.

Use Great Icebreakers

Regardless of your pre-marketing efforts or location, there will always be time when traffic is slow. When not engaged in conversation with a potential customer already, trade show staff should be at the edge of the exhibit space using icebreakers!

As you’ll learn in Tradeshow Basecamp™, great icebreakers are open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are those that require more than a yes or no reply. They are much more likely to make a trade show attendee stop to think about their response, giving you an opening to continue the conversation! Learn more about how to create icebreakers that stop traffic in this article.

Rent Mailing/ Emailing Lists

Most trade shows rent mail and email lists with contact information for those planning to attend the trade show. Email lists in particular are a great investment. Be sure to use a trusted source for managing your email marketing such as Mailchimp to ensure you are in compliance with the law.

Want more information on driving traffic and pre-show marketing?

Check out our article on Trade Show Tips and Tricks.

Staff Training: Trade Show Tips and Tricks

Why Tradeshow Basecamp™?

Tradeshow Basecamp™ is a complete guide on how to have profitable conversations at trade shows. This course will teach you how to set trade show goals that staff can use to effectively guide their trade show sales conversations. You’ll learn how to identify the Four Character Lead Types you’ll meet at every trade show and how to have successful conversations with each of them.

What are the Five Easy Steps?

Tradeshow Basecamp™ will teach you or your staff to have sales conversations in Five Easy Steps:

  • Icebreaker
  • Quick Intro
  • Lead Interview
  • Next Steps
  • Disenagagement

To learn more about the Five Easy Steps approach, read our article on trade show direct sales strategy.

Each step should take you closer to your sales goals. You’ll use Icebreakers to start conversations with exhibit attendees—conversations that might lead to sales! You’ll prepare Quick Intros in advance of the show—short statements about your company or product that keep the sales conversation going.

From there, you’ll qualify leads with the Lead Interview—asking specific questions to find out if the person you are speaking with is a ‘good lead’ likely to buy from you!

If at any point you discover the person you are speaking with is not a good lead, you jump right to the last step and Disengage (end the conversation)! If your conversation has uncovered that the person is (or might still be) a good lead, you try to meet a sales goal by proposing appropriate Next Steps.

Tradeshow Basecamp™ Staff Training Solutions

Have you learned anything in this article that you didn’t already know? If so, you’ll love Tradeshow Basecamp™!

Tradeshow Basecamp™ is a complete guide on how to work a trade show booth to maximize profitable sales conversations. You can affordably train yourself or even your whole team without spending $1,000s on trade show or event planning consultants. As you’ll see below, there’s a Tradeshow Basecamp™ solution for everyone!

The Training Handbook

Your least expensive option for training is the Tradeshow Basecamp™ Handbook, an eBook available exclusively via In it, you will learn the basics of how to have repeatably successful sales conversations, create reasonable sales goals, and keep good notes for following up with leads after the show.

Trade Show Training Course for Teams

If you’re managing a team, you might want to consider the Tradeshow Basecamp™ course series for Teams, which features team management and per-seat pricing. Training accountability with challenging quizzes and video watch time verification tracking will give you confidence they’ve paid attention and mastered the concepts.

Trade Show Training Course for Individual Professionals

Just want to train yourself in the Tradeshow Basecamp™ methodology? Check out our full Tradeshow Basecamp™ course series for Individuals, which includes hours of online videos, role playing, and downloadable resources. It is a complete program to ensure you are prepared for your next trade show, trade fair, or exhibit.

Train Staff on How to Work a Trade Show Booth In-House

Without trade show staff training, a trade show is a waste of money. There is no better way to boost your ROI than by making sure your staff is trained to sell! If you have the time and resources to conduct training in-house, check out our guide to direct sales team training ideas.

We hope this has been a helpful review of the resources for trade show staff training available at It’s our sincere hope that you and your team will find our Tradeshow Basecamp™ course series to be a valuable partner in your trade show success for years to come.

Tradeshow Basecamp™

Our acclaimed course series, a complete program designed to help you have profitable trade shows. Get instant access to the full course series (101, 102, 103, 104).

Be fully prepared for your next event and earn your  Certified Tradeshow Basecamp Exhibitor™ (CTBE™) today!

Training a team? Check out our For Teams course series.

Introducing...Tradeshow Basecamp™

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