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From not doing preshow marketing to simply not having good booth staff – in this post you’ll learn the top 7 reasons why exhibitors don't make sales at trade shows. It will also teach you the best trade show exhibitor practices.

Sin #1:

You didn’t do any pre show marketing.

You’re making a significant investment. Let potential visitors know where your booth will be located and what products will be displayed. Effective methods: email, postcards, mentions on your website, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and all customer communications.

Send a press release about your participation at the show. Google “Free Press Release Distribution” to post your release. Include the show name and your company name in the title; this will get your release found.

Sin #2:

People look at your booth and ask, “What is it you do?”

If your booth display and signage does not grab people’s attention, and represent what you sell – people won’t know to stop at your booth.

Your sign should say more than just your company name. It should also explain what your company sells and its key benefits.

Sin #3:

Snacking on the job, instead of greeting customers.

Your booth should be free of clutter and maintain a professional and welcoming appearance. Staff can take breaks to eat and drink outside of the booth. Booth staff should be trained with talking points and sales messages and be informed of objectives.


Sin #4:

Packing up before the show is over.

The show floor is only open to attendees for a limited time, make the most of it.

Sin #5:

Members of your staff are all nursing hangovers – and it shows.

It is expected that you attend networking events – but getting too drunk with potential prospects (or worse…your competitors) doesn’t leave a great impression.

Sin #6:

“Leads” consist of notes scribbled on the back of business cards.


Not everyone at a trade show is a prospect. Don’t focus on lead counts, focus on lead quality. Leads captured should have qualifiers and notes so you remember the interaction. Gathering critical information about each potential customer’s needs will make your post-show lead follow-ups more effective.

Sin #7:

Wasting time with unqualified attendees.

We have all met these “time wasters” and as a result, have missed out on connecting with customers and qualified sales opportunities. You can’t control who comes to your booth. But you can control what happens when they do.

Make sure your sales staff in the booth understands that they should not approach people who are just gathering goodies. Let them take their toy and move on to waste your competitors’ time. Much better to waste trinkets than to waste time.

Attendees send off plenty of signals (for instance, a low-value visitor is likely to ask “what do you do” while a high value visitor is more likely to start talking about their needs). Solid training in this will yield significant results.

In conclusion...You can’t manage the herd. Nor should you try. But you can manage how you control the herd once they enter your booth space. By creating techniques that naturally eliminate the low-value attendees (for instance, providing simple and uninterrupted access to your giveaways), you’ll quickly find that those that do enter your booth are more qualified and more valuable. And by removing the need to generate large numbers of useless names, you’ll free your staff up to have more contact with people that might become qualified sales opportunities.

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