Tips for the Trade Show Rookie

Posted by Exhibitor Source on Aug 20, 2019 10:45:00 AM
Exhibitor Source

Managing a trade show is not a job for the faint of heart. It is a demanding job with a lot of moving parts, which we’ll discuss below. A trade show manager might work for the sponsor or the organizer of a trade show; or they might work for a company participating in a trade show. If a business is smaller and only occasionally participates in trade shows, the trade show manager hat might be worn by the marketing manager or to someone from the sales team. No matter where the trade show manger comes from, their job is to provide an experience benefits the company and satisfies the customer.

Know Your Role  Your primary role as a trade show manager is to meet your company's business objectives. Your company might decide to participate in a show to meet new prospects and generate more sales leads. It might decide to take part in a show that offers opportunities to establish a presence in a new market or new sales region. Part of your job is to ensure that the show aims to attract the target audience your company wants.

Know Your Budget Trade shows are expensive undertakings. Designing, building, renting, shipping, and stocking the booth all cost money. Add in renting space and carpet, securing electrical and internet access, and reserving accommodations, flights, and more for staffers and you can have a hefty bill on your hands. If you know your budget and your company’s goals, you can use the former to meet the latter. A low budget doesn’t necessarily mean a mediocre booth, just as a high budget doesn’t ensure a great trade show return.

Take Your Time Besides the anxiety and unknown of a trade show, there are the endless deadlines and end dates of the projects to get there. Making a calendar of events – even down to the hours and days before the show – can help keep you organized and can help manage your time effectively. Being timely can guarantee you a better spot on the show floor, ensure you earn early bird pricing, and secure the best rates for flights and hotels. Not only does managing your time well help in practical ways with the many pieces of the expo puzzle, but it also helps you be a calmer, more rested, more enthusiastic trade show manager.

Prepare Yourself  Thanks to technology and the internet, it’s easy to be prepared way ahead of time for a trade show. You can reach out to prospects and clients to schedule meet-ups during the show; you can research your competition and peruse their websites and photos of previous shows they’ve done; you can blitz social media with the details and ticklers about your event. As a matter of fact, much of the work of the traditional trade show can now be done ahead of time. You no longer have to wait until you arrive to start getting leads and information. You and your team can do that ahead of time!

Engage With Your Audience  Chronologically, this item comes next, but in importance, it is primary! Engage with your audience. It’s the reason you are at the trade show! Greet your visitors warmly, not just with the standard, “Hi, how are you?” {BORING!} Try saying something like, “Thanks for stopping by today. What brings you here?” or “Come on in, and let me share with you what we are doing here at our company.” This way, you are engaging them with no pressure. Whether they are decision makers or influencers, it is important to greet them warmly to draw their attention. Once they are in, ask them why they are there and follow up with them accordingly.

Collect Data  Oftentimes, so much energy and effort is exerted at the actual show that managers forget that there will be a debriefing of sorts AFTER the show. The company execs are definitely going to want to know the answer to the question, “Was it worth it?” For that reason, you need to collect the data that answers this question. If you’ve captured leads and know your ROI, you’ll be able to troubleshoot and plan for the next show. Qualitative data is also important. From which direction were people flowing in? What part of the booth got the most traffic? What parts were dead? Were any parts not visible when the booth was full of people? Paying attention during the show to traffic flow, body language, and more will provide you with information to grow and change your booth design to fit your clients’ needs.

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This article was inspired by "Trade Show Basics" by Chris Rowe and first appeared at

Topics: Nashville trade show displays, Nashville trade show exhibits, Nashville trade show installation, trade show marketing, Blog, trade shows, Tradeshow event, tradeshows, trade show leads, success, F2F, face to face marketing, B2B, booth staffing, client engagement, event planning, human interaction, trade show etiquette

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