Avoid Trade Show Tragedy

Avoid Trade Show Tragedy

Business owners tend to spend a lot of money to attend trade shows in order to boost their exposure, though often leave feeling disappointed and maybe even in despair that the tangible return on their significant investment leaves much to be desired.

At this point, many business owners will blame a variety of external sources such as the promoters marketing efforts to the weather or even public transport… yet, in reality, you are in control of your own circumstances and you have the power to make the best out of the worst of situations… meaning, unfortunately, the buck must stop with you.

If you’re planning a trade show or are just recovering from the trauma of an ineffective attempt, this list is here to help you connect, engage and convert attendees to clients… as whilst there are other practical aspects to consider such as getting the right metal table bases and literature printed, the process of attracting, engaging and converting attendees to customers is the most fundamental.

After all, you could have the most beautiful stand with the sturdiest of tables, but if you’re unable to attract people to your stand, it doesn’t really matter.


The first thing you need to do is to attract people to your stand.  Now, a lot of times people will invest a huge amount in fancy banners and the like, but the best way to attract people to your stand is to connect with them from a place of authority - rather than the social dynamic of overwhelmed attendee vs. overkeen exhibitor.

The best approach is speak on stage and give a presentation about a problem your target audience faces that you have a solution for.

If you are doing such a talk, you’ll want to make sure it’s 90% value-added content with only a tiny bit about your company and promotion of the product.  In reality, few people care about your company or product -- what they really care about (and the place you can connect with them on) is finding a solution to their problem.

By providing an insightful talk you position yourself as an expert - so rather than having to persuade them on the floor, or fight for their attention with quirky tactics, you can simply offer to set up some meetings from the stage to “talk more about your individual challenges”.

This way, people are not seeing you as someone trying to sell them something, they are seeing you as a solution provider - which you have been the whole time, irrespective of whether you give a talk or not… but this massively changes the psychological dynamic in terms of subsequent interactions and turns cold prospects into warm clients.


The second step is to engage.

We can learn a lesson from hand cream, in this sense, as one of the best strategies for selling beauty products, is to offer a free hand massage or a facial, as this way you activate the psychological phenomenon of reciprocation and also, you’re guaranteed to have their attention for a while!  

Therefore, what can you offer in a similar vein?


The final step comes down to your ability to turn prospects into customers, yet at a trade show, the majority of people are way too focused on selling rather than relationship building.  

When you shift your focus to relationship marketing rather than “selling” you will shift your results, long term.

Alison Morgan