Pasadena Business Association
Great Businesses Making A Great Community

Trade Show Exhibiting 101

18 Nov 2016 10:15 AM | Deleted user

Trade Show exhibiting is a great way for businesses and organizations to showcase products and services. Planning and setting realistic goals is the key to a successful event.

Get the Facts before the Show:  Who might attend? Number of attendees & do they reside in your service area? Date, Hours, Cost? Most shows provide table, tablecloth (curtain for booths) sign with your business name. Is “Actual Selling of Products” allowed at the event?  Check with Show Management for the rules.

The 3 main categories of shows include:

  • ·       Booth (example 8” x 10” space). Corner Booths provide extra exposure, may cost a bit more.
  • ·       Tabletop (table only).
  • ·       Workshop (conference room, office, rented space, etc.).

TIP: Don’t let a “no selling” rule discourage you. Trade Shows are excellent for prospecting & making connections that open the door for future business.

Planning & Setting Goals: What do you wish to accomplish? Prospect for new clients. Showcase new products.  Sell seasonal merchandise. Supporting the community, etc.

Theme...Is it necessary?  Not always...However...If the show has a theme...DO PARTICIPATE. Holiday or seasonal themes are great or you can choose a theme that relates to your business.

TIP: Do not let the theme overpower your message or image.

Pre-Show Advertising: Make the most of your Trade Show investment by getting the word out. Mail, Print, Email, Social Media, Blog.  Invite fellow exhibitors. If possible, get prelist from show management. Advertise; Newspaper, Membership organizations, Networking groups.

TIP: include your show dates on your outgoing mail & emails.

Create an Inviting and Informative Booth or Space: Choose the Literature and/or imprinted products you wish to hand out to visitors. Help visitors remember you by having your business or organization name on everything you hand out. Your table display should give someone a quick snap shot of your products or services when they are standing in front of your booth. Door Prize Drawing and/or Games can create excitement and increase traffic to your booth. Don’t put a barrier between you and your visitors.  Consider placing table in back or side of your booth.

TIP: Use back of your door prize slip to take notes.  Jot down details discussed with prospects for easy follow up.

Meet & Greet: Position table & materials to make your table a workable space to accommodate multiple types of visitors at the same time without causing a traffic jam in your booth. (Some may want to just pick up info quickly, others may linger longer). Don’t forget your tools; Pens, Small Clipboard, Business Cards, Emergency kit to make quick repairs to your display if needed. Wear a name tag. Take photos!!

TIP: Position “Door Prize” drawing on one side of your table & literature at other end.

Trade Show Etiquette & Trade Show Networking: Mind your manners...booth display or games should never be disruptive to neighboring exhibitors. Greet everyone who steps into your space. Do visit other exhibitors, but be ready to “clear out” when they have visitors. Eat Lunch away from your table. If needed, consider the buddy system with a neighboring exhibitor who may also need a break.

TIP: If you are already chatting with another prospect when a new person steps in to your booth, a quick hello and smile will make them feel welcome to browse.

Break-Down rules: Respect the show “Break-Down” schedule. Leaving early may be disruptive to other exhibitors. Check with show coordinator regarding rules for leaving early.

After the Show:  Follow up…Mail, Email, Telephone, Face-To-Face...DO IT!!!

TIP: Don’t forget fellow exhibitors as prospects.

Evaluate: Set several dates for tracking show success, days, weeks, months, to determine if your expectations met? Make notes while your memory is fresh for “next time”. 

TIP: Prepare your “after the show” follow-up mailer or eblast before the show.

Last, but not Least: Trade show exhibiting is hard work, but with proper planning and organization it can be well worth the effort.  Wear comfortable shoes (after all, it’s a work day). Wear your BEST SMILE and ENJOY THE SHOW!



Paulette Morris, Owner of Idea Weaver Promotions, Inc. has been “Weaving Ideas” for clients since 1995. Company mission is “Dedication to serving customers with the goal of building long term business relationships and a commitment to provide quality promotional products, at a fair price with excellent service.” Paulette uses Technology, Creativity and Idea Sessions to help customers find the right products to fit their specific needs.

Idea Sessions are Always Free. 410.360.8882 ~ Virtual Showroom: www.ideaweaver.com

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