Tricks of the Trade: How to Ensure Trade Show Success

Trade shows offer a unique opportunity for businesses to introduce their brand and their products to a new and captive audience. But, if you are someone who regularly attends trade shows, you know how nerve-wracking they can be.

You are trying to meet new prospects, make a good impression, and introduce your product to a new audience. When managing these objectives, there are a multitude of factors related to event staffing and execution that will contribute to your trade show success.

8 Tips for Trade Show Success

Trade show participation is a great way for companies to bring in new prospects, boost sales and generate brand awareness. After all, 65 percent of consumers stated that live events helped them have a better understanding of a product or service.

Here are eight tips for trade show staffing and execution success — before, during, and after the event.

1. Market your presence before the event

Don’t wait until the day of the show to begin marketing your company’s presence. Start reaching out to attendees about four weeks prior to the trade show to set up meetings. Make sure you do this in a way that is informative and helpful and provides your audience with a value proposition as to why they should visit your booth. Also, make sure you engage with target prospects who have mentioned the trade show on social media.

On execution day, give your staff a rundown of where you promoted, who you engaged with, and any other target audience members that they should keep in mind during the event. Even if you are personally meeting with some key attendees, let your staff know who they are and what your expectations are related to engaging with them.

2. Ditch the clutter

With trade show booths, it is easy to spot what is part of the display and what isn’t. And one of the best ways to make a poor first impression is by letting your booth become cluttered and disorganized.

All team members should keep personal belongings out of sight. A bottle of water is okay, but the main area shouldn’t play host to a variety of Starbucks cups. And make sure cell phones are put away and on silent.

3. Make sure your booth is adequately staffed

One of the principal factors that will determine your trade show success will be whether your booth is adequately staffed. If your booth is understaffed, you are almost certainly missing out on opportunities to interact with prospects. You need to have enough event staff on hand to engage with attendees and represent your brand.

Hiring trade show staff that have a background or experience in your industry also goes a long way. An event staffing agency should have a variety of people available that are a match for your brand and who can deliver results for your unique industry.

4. Make sure event staff are adequately trained

Your staff need to be adequately trained on how to interact with guests at the trade show. Make sure they have a basic sales script they can follow and that they know how to answer common questions about your product.

Temporary trade show staff should receive thorough brand training, and proof of retention should be required in the form of a quiz, either on line or verbally.

5. Get experiential.

First impressions always are a critical piece of face-to-face marketing. This is especially true at trade shows. And there is no reason why you can’t incorporate experiential elements into your trade show experience to wow attendees and make a connection.

Experiential elements can include hands on demonstrations, virtual reality, interactive games, or anything else that allows attendees to taste, touch, and experience your brand. In a trade show, blending in can be a problem – with experiential, you can overcome that obstacle.

6. Deliver great customer service

Go above and beyond as it relates to customer service by providing attendees with red-carpet treatment. Consider offering comfortable seating, snacks and/or small branded bottles of water. A cell phone charging station or other helpful element also allows you to lay the foundation for positive interactions with your brand.

And most importantly, good customer service is showing a genuine interest in the individuals who visit your booth. Have trade show staff members ask questions about prospects’ companies and industries, and sell them on how your company can make a positive impact in their lives or work. And make sure your staff take notes on all relevant conversations during the event. This will put you in a better position to follow up with attendees after the event.

7. Learn from other brands

Because of the effort that is involved in a trade show, many people who attend pay very little attention to booths other than their own. This is a big mistake. No matter what trade show you are attending, there is sure to be a variety of industry leaders there.

Take the time to walk around and explore other trade show booths and learn how other companies are marketing their products. You will probably learn something valuable that you can take with you into your next trade show.

8. Follow up quickly with prospects

After the trade show is over, schedule time to follow up with everyone your team met at the event. Provide contacts with a special trade-show-only discount offer, encourage them to engage with your brand on social media, and continue to demonstrate your company’s value to them.

And don’t wait long — the more time that passes by, the higher the likelihood that they will forget who you are. Follow up should take place within 1-2 days of the event and continue well after.


Trade shows are a great place to discover new prospects and build brand awareness. The eight tips listed above can make achieving trade show success.

When planning for a trade show, it is important to design both the physical experience as well as the face-to-face one. After all, visitors will be judging the quality of your product largely based on their interactions with your event staff. With the right planning, execution, and follow-up, you can continue to improve your presence at trade shows and boost your company’s investment.

The people who represent your brand are one of the biggest assets contributing to your trade show success. Whether you need professional sales people to work your booth, or hundreds of event staff to produce a trade show event, Elevate has you covered. 


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