Trade Show Tips and Tricks

August 26, 2019 | Trade Show Tips Trade Shows

Why Trade Show Tips and Tricks Are Not Enough

Despite it costing $1,000s to $100,000s to exhibit at a trade show, most companies do not prepare their staff to sell. Hiring consultants to train staff is expensive. And since there is a lack of online trade show training courses, businesses often rely on lists of trade show tips and tricks to get by.

Unfortunately, these are usually lists cobbled together by trade show organizers or booth property vendors mainly for the SEO value they provide. These folks have rarely worked a trade show booth themselves.

The result for you? Unprepared staff, a low return on investment and a wasted sales opportunity.

Finally… an Affordable Trade Show Course!

To solve this problem, we’ve created Tradeshow Basecamp™, the first online video course series designed to teach you how to have profitable sales conversations at your trade show 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.

Just looking for trade show tips and tricks?

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™

Driving Show Traffic: Trade Show Tips and Tricks

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.

For a small 10×10 booth, a ‘presentation space’ might be as simple as a projector screen or a large screen TV. For a large space, you might include a presentation screen, podium, sound system and seating.

Either way, plan 1-2 presentations at your exhibit for each day of the show. Promote those presentations as a part of your pre-show marketing effort. Print a large poster board with the schedule and display it prominently in your exhibit, accompanied by schedule handouts that you can pass out.

Use Great Icebreakers

Learning how to create and use great icebreakers is key to having a successful trade show. 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!

Icebreakers are questions that you use to stop passersby long enough to start a conversation. Without conversations, you can’t hope to have a sale.

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

Pre-show marketing sets the stage for a great trade show performance by maximize the chance to have a large audience!

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.

Be sure to include the following in your pre-show marketing emails:

  • Great Headline: Consider putting the name of the show in your email header. (“Going to Trade Show XYZ? Learn more about…”). Emails that include the trade show name in the header are more likely to be opened, as attendees may think they are coming from the trade show organizers themselves or pertain to an important deadline. Once opened, you have the chance to introduce yourself.
  • Booth #: While obvious, you’d be surprised how often companies forget to include their location (booth #) in pre-show marketing communications.
  • In-Booth Presentations: Now is your chance to entice attendees to your exhibit! Include the schedule for in-booth presentations to give attendees a specific reason to visit you.
  • Schedule Appointments: Invite attendees to schedule one-on-one appointments with your company. Ideally, some of your staff should be ‘booked’ with appointments before the show even starts!

Staff Training: Trade Show Tips and Tricks

Sadly, too many companies send staff to work trade shows without giving them a guide on how to do so. While pre-show marketing sets the stage for a great trade show performance, you still need to train your staff how to play their roles! For a show to be profitable, you need more than trade show tips and tricks from your booth vendor. You need Tradeshow Basecamp™!

What’s 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.

Want a complete, step-by-step guide? Try Tradeshow Basecamp™

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!

Trade Show Training with Tradeshow Basecamp™

Tradeshow Basecamp™ is an acclaimed online trade show training course specifically designed to train you and your team to have profitable trade show sales conversations. Designed by trade show pros with thousands of hours of real-world experience, there is a solution for every need and budget.

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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