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Don’t Sell Yourself Short | Five Things Not To Do As An Exhibitor

We often share tips and to-do’s about being an exhibitor at a tradeshow. Instead of looking at best practices, let’s look at it from the perspective of the mistakes and see what went wrong.


1.) Bad First Impression.

This company (which shall remain anonymous) is underselling itself with bad graphics and a slapped-together presentation. Avoid amateurish displays, a hodgepodge of displays and poor-fitting graphics. Plus, this exhibitor is more interested in his neighbor than the attendees. I wonder what kind of coffee that is…


2.) Too Much Copy.

The show floor is a crowded, hectic place, and attendees are bombarded with marketing messages from hundreds of exhibitors. You have about three seconds to get their attention. Wordy displays don’t even get a second glance. Worse than too many words is really small words. For your booth, think billboard: eye-catching images, strong colors, brief statement. Save the details for the conversation.


3.) Shhh… It’s A Secret.

This guy has his laptop presentation ready and no one to show – but his neighbor looks busy. You can’t rely on the daily traffic in the aisles to drive people to your booth. Not promoting your presence at tradeshows is a common mistake that’s easily remedied. Use pre-show postcards, e-mails, social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter), etc. Make a pre-show invite list that includes last year’s and this year’s attendees, and your clients and prospects. Otherwise, the show is a colossal waste of money.


4.) Not Qualifying Leads. 

Relying on a drawing or raffle for qualified leads is like a game of roulette – mostly losses. Raffles have their place (as a draw to your booth or to publicize a new product, i.e., the prize), but lead-generation is not part of it. Engage attendees, talk to them. Qualify them with key information your team has planned in advance, and filter out the ones who won’t buy from you.


5.) Not Training Booth Staff.  

Training the people you send to the show has two purposes. First, they need to be experts in order to talk with attendees about your company/products/services. Second, they need to have clear goals and an understanding of your expectations of them. This is of even greater importance when your company is a sponsor, speaker, or doing a demo. Get all of your people on the same page – yours.

More mistakes will be outlined in upcoming blogs.


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