Trade Show Fatal Flaws

Exhibiting at a trade show represents a significant investment in time, effort and – of course – money. So it’s surprising to seasoned attendees how often exhibitors neglect to take some basic steps that will maximize their return. Check this list of all-too-common “don’ts” to be sure your company isn’t sabotaging itself when it should be shining:

  • Not taking advantage of free exposure, such as the exhibitor listing in the show directory and on the website. It’s free. It’s exposure to visitors who can become customers. Make sure you’re present and accounted for.
  • Not including your booth number in print ads. This is probably just an oversight – especially when you run the same ad several months over – but costs you a valuable means of promotion.
  • Poor booth signage. Treat signage as an integral part of your booth design rather than an afterthought – doing so will practically guarantee making a good impression. Also, study your booth from all angles to be sure your company’s name is readily visible from whatever approach visitors might take.
  • Poor booth access. A well-designed booth allows entry/exit through at least two points and is laid out to be conducive to an easy flow of traffic. A booth with a single entry point creates a confined atmosphere – even in a large space – and causes people entering to feel trapped.
  • Failing to train booth staff to interact appropriately with visitors. We’re sure you’ve visited booths in which the exhibitor’s staff members ignored your presence because they were (a) deeply engaged in conversation with each other (b) absorbed in making some adjustment to the display (c) staring into space and evidently wishing you’d go away.

To make sure your booth isn’t among the offenders, hold a series of meetings with the staff a week or two before the show to instruct them on how to greet visitors, answer their questions knowledgeably and steer them to your featured products. Be sure they understand it’s important to be polite and helpful to everyone – even those who are not decision-makers or members of the media – because you never know who may provide the connections that can result in new business. Have your staff dress to impress with matching attire, and enjoy the benefits of your high profile on the exhibition floor.