Trade Show Tips for Exhibitors

Trade Show Tips for Exhibitors

Trade Show Tips for Exhibitors #1:
Always be active

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Trade show exhibiting isn’t a spectator sport.
Being a successful tradeshow exhibitor means always being active.


Being active should be your first priority when making a direct sales strategy plan for your next trade show. Here are some examples of how and why you should be active in your trade show exhibit.

It’s your job to stop traffic.

In an ideal world, great pre trade show marketing ideas and exhibit location will keep traffic pouring into your booth all day long. But that’s not the experience of most trade show exhibitors. Instead, show attendees often meander past. Few may glance your exhibit’s direction and fewer yet boldly march into the exhibit space.

That’s why an active direct sales strategy plan must start with the Icebreaker. It looks like this:

  • Stand at the edge of your exhibit.
  • Smile often, look open and friendly.
  • Talk first! Don’t wait for a potential customer to initiate.
  • Ask open-ended questions to people passing buy to get them to stop and talk to you!

Check out our article on sales Icebreakers for more on effective Icebreakers!

Trade Show Tips for Exhibitors #2:
Don’t launch into a sales ‘pitch’

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Active listening leads to sales.
Rather than launching into a ‘sales pitch’ after you start a conversation with a potential lead, briefly introduce yourself. Then, start asking THEM short questions to gather sales information.


Any conversation with a potential customer should include what we call the Quick Intro. Unfortunately, inexperienced trade show exhibitors often take this opportunity to launch into a long sales ‘pitch’ that loses the customer’s interest. Big mistake! After all, no one likes being talked at.

Instead, make your Quick Intro 2-3 sentences and less than 10 seconds long. You are just keeping the conversation going. Include your name and something interesting about your product or company like this:

[quote]“I’m Julia. I’m here sharing samples of [Company]’s new organic cereal.”[/quote]

Then, move into step #3 of your direct sales strategy plan: The Lead Interview.

The Lead Interview is your chance to find out if the person you started a conversation with is a good lead! Ask short, strategic questions to find out if the person is likely to buy from you. Respond with short, relevant information about your solution or company.

Check out our article on Lead Interview to learn how to conduct a lead Interview!

Trade Show Tips for Exhibitors #3:
Know your sales goals.

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All trade show conversations should be focused on meeting one or more sales goals.
Decide on these sales goals before the trade show. Sales goals include making a sale, but also should include other goals that move potential customers closer to a sale.


Here are examples of specific sales goals:

  • Make the sale (sell off the show floor)
  • Sign a sales contract with your lead
  • Get contact information for a colleague for follow-up after the trade show
  • Complete price quotes
  • Schedule a demo
  • Share a product sample

Consider your customer’s journey to purchase (also called the ‘Sales Funnel’) when creating sales goals for the trade show. Do most customers need to see a demo before making a purchase? Make signing up for a demo a sales goal! Do customers look for unbiased reviews of your product before buying? Make sharing these customer reviews via a website link or handout one of your sales goals!

Most importantly, get contact information!


Want more trade show tips for exhibitors?

Check out guide for beginner’s on executing a Direct Sales Strategy Plan. Or, check out our Direct Sales Training Course!

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