Truck Stop Operators Divulge How To Earn and Close a Sale at a Trade Show


Trade shows are one of the few times when a company’s key prospects and current customers are gathered together under one roof, and smart exhibitors know that opportunities to connect with show attendees are not limited to the show floor.

From before the show begins to when attendees return home, there are dozens of opportunities to share information about the products and solutions business owners are hoping to find.

In her book, Trade Show In A Day, author Rhonda Abrams said about 75 percent of show attendees plan booth visits before the show starts. Mailings, phone calls and e-mails before a show can help drive booth traffic from attendees who are eager to find the best solutions and products for their businesses.

Robert Jonas, a risk consultant at Diversified Insurance Services, always takes advantage of opportunities to connect at trade show events that take place off the show floor.

“The event doesn’t end when the trade show floor closes,” said Jonas. “Whether it is at the bar afterwards or at the final event, you get the opportunity to meet people on a personal level as opposed to having them just walk through and look at your booth.”

Jerry Follette, vice president of business development for Barjan, takes advantage of a show’s downtime by scheduling dinners with attendees. He also advises people not to overlook the early morning hours that attendees may have open.

“Breakfast meetings can actually work out better than dinner,” said Follette. “The attendees are usually not tired and you can leave and go straight to the booth.”

Many buyers do their actual buying after they’ve returned home and had time to sort through the information, which makes exchanging business cards essential.

“If I see something I’m interested in, I will leave my card and ask someone to call,” said Dave Shoemaker, president of Shoemaker’s Truck Station in Lincoln, Neb. “When I leave my card, it is because I want information and I want them to follow up.”

Sending an e-mail or making a phone call immediately after a show can help secure sales and boost the return on investment from a trade show.

“Make notes on any discussions and arrange for follow-up after the show,” Follette added.

Not only does this help secure a sale, it can also help meet a potential customer’s expectations.

{HBMHighway Business Matters is a brief semi-monthly newsletter created exclusively for companies that provide products or services to the truckstop and travel plaza industry. Highway Business Matters will keep you informed on trends, tactics, and tips to help you connect to the $65 billion truckstop and travel plaza industry. 

Help tailor Highway Business Matters to meet your needs by sharing your feedback and story ideas. Send your input to:


Mindy Long's photo

Mindy Long

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.More
Highway Business Matters (HBM)
Retailer Featured:
Shoemaker’s Truck Station

Tell Us What You Think

Back to Great Ideas