Tag Archives: Tradeshow Selection


The Scene: Lugging a bag bulging with brochures and giveaways, a prospect heads towards you. Their glance roams your booth.

You have less than 10 seconds to catch their eye and convince them to stop. What do they see? Do your displays, brochures, promotional items, even the clothes you are wearing, carry a focused, coordinated message?

If someone approaching your booth knows – immediately – whether they should (or should not) stop to talk, then you have prepared properly.


1. Select your goals upfront. This is the number one key to trade show success. Make your objectives clear, quantifiable and easy to convey. Make sure your vendors helping you prepare know them, as well as those who will staff your booth.

2. Every decision you make must be geared towards achieving your goal. Displays, brochures, show apparel, and promotional take-homes must be selected and designed to all work together to (a) attract the right people to your booth, (b) help qualify your prospects and capture their contact information, and (c) leave a positive impression that will last beyond the final day of the show.

3. Decide how you will measure results, and what will be an acceptable outcome. Make sure the measurement method is reasonable and understood by your everyone in your booth.

4. Select your shows based on where your best prospects and current customers will be expecting you.

In addition to shows sponsored by your own trade and professional organizations, check out the following 2 tips for more ideas:



5. Build traffic to your booth in advance of the show. The simplest way is by sending letters or emails to invite current customers and key prospects.

A more involved, but even more successful, way to attract visitors is by preparing a promotion, such as sending them part of a custom puzzle, the cap of an expensive pen, or information on a raffle to be held. You want to send anything that will put your company’s name on their must-see list.

Consider setting up specific appointments during the show – this demonstrates respect for their time as well as reinforcing the business purpose for their visit. Plus you will be sure to get adequate time to spend with them.

6. Make up and follow a preparation timeline. Using a checklist will help ensure nothing gets forgotten. And, as a big bonus, you will avoid the surcharges that rushed orders and shipping require. Procrastination can be very costly.

For a detailed timeline:




Trade shows serve two main purposes: reinforcing relationships with businesses that already know you, and introducing yourself to new prospects.

In this tipsheet, we look at five critical inputs to choosing the “right” trade shows. We also provide links to help you look for them online.

Critical Decision Inputs

1. Your Business Or Sales Goals:

What is your primary goal? Exposure of your company or product to the largest possible audience, or to a select group which is most likely to purchase?

The trade show that met last year’s goal may not be the right one for this year’s targets. You must be clear on your current business goals, and who you must reach to meet them.

2. Your Target Audience

The number of attendees may be important, but at least as important is their purchasing profile. The closer the typical attendee is to the profile of your best client, the more worthwhile a show can potentially be for you.

Attend shows where your clients expect to see you. Not being at a particular show can be interpreted as weakness, and your competitors can get a chance to introduce themselves.

Remember, shows within your own industry don’t necessarily bring you into contact with the greatest number of your clients. Go where your clients go.

3. Your Budget

You are looking for events that offer the best results, at the least cost to value ratio. If your budget is limited and you must restrict how often you exhibit, make sure to focus on those shows most likely to attract your best potential customers. Sometimes a low-cost regional show can provide you with exactly the leads you need. On the other hand, a higher-priced show may offer contacts which make the investment worthwhile.

4. Your Resources

On staffing: you must balance between taking care of your current clients – leaving staff at the office – and meeting prospective clients. If you can, take along those who do the best at making connections. That might be your president, it might be your receptionist.

As far as your booth setup – it is not necessary to spend a lot, as long as you present your company in a coordinated, professional manner that delivers your message memorably.

5. Sources Of Information On Shows

The quickest way to do research on which shows to exhibit at? Ask your clients which are their must-attend shows. In addition, contact professional and trade organizations that your customers belong to, in order to determine whether they sponsor or recommend any particular shows. Also, contact regional trade organizations and even local exhibition halls for their schedules. They will be planning up to a year ahead in most cases.

In conclusion, choose your shows based on the results you need to achieve, then commit yourself to making the most of them.

To research specific trade shows and conferences, read our tip called “Finding Trade Shows and Conferences“.