Nine Tips for Tradeshow Success


Tradeshows are a significant investment for attendees and exhibitors alike. When you’re investing both time and money, you want to make sure you make the most of the event. Throw in the fact that tradeshows are one of the only places you get to meet face-to-face with business owners, managers and buyers under one roof and maximizing your presence is key.

Here are nine tips to ensure you have a successful event.

Outline Your Objectives: Before you head to the tradeshow, determine exactly what it is you’d like to accomplish. Do you want to boost awareness of your brand, are you looking for leads or are you hoping to strengthen customer relationships? By outlining your goals in advance, you’re more likely to meet them.

Target Specific Attendees: Determine who it is you want to meet with at the show. Is it owners? Is it buyers? Once you decide, search for them in your database from past tradeshows, LinkedIn or other social media sites.

Set Appointments in Advance: Don’t leave meetings to chance. Start booking appointments three to six weeks before the event and set specific appointment times to ensure you make the most of your time at the show. It may seem strange, but consider setting appointments at odd times. People are more likely to remember a 11:35 appointment than an 11:30 meeting.

Draw Attention to Your Booth: Use a unique color scheme or high-impact graphics in your booth to catch passersby, but more than anything, be passionate about your message and give great presentations.

Get to Your Feet: While it may be easy and comfortable to sit at the table in your booth, you’ll make more connections by staying on your feet and greeting visitors as they approach the booth. Consider putting your table at the back of the booth against the wall so you have more room to stand and be ready.

Be Ready with Business Cards: Keep your own business cards in your right pocket, so you’re ready to hand them out to prospects. When you take a contact’s business card, jot down notes on the back to help you identify them later. Then put the contact’s business card in your left pocket.

Be Assertive But Not Aggressive: When you’re aggressive, you may come across as a bully who doesn’t care about the potential customer’s specific needs. When you’re assertive, you express yourself effectively and also respect the potential customer. For example, when you’re assertive, you’re willing to introduce yourself to anyone who walks by, but when you’re aggressive, you won’t let the prospect get a word in edgewise or leave the booth.

Focus on Clarity: Be clear when you tell people about your product or service and be sure to point out your coolest feature that will grab prospects’ attention. Ensure all employees who will be in the booth can articulate products’ features and your services.

Follow Up Quickly with Leads: The most effective follow up takes place almost immediately. Take time each evening to enter in information from business cards and follow up that night with an email or a LinkedIn connection.


{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. 

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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
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