THE BLOG
11/30/2015 07:46 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Eight Great Tips for Rocking Trade Shows

2015-11-30-1448917921-3779620-shutterstock_159767996.jpgRestaurantware booth at the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show in Orlando

1. Pick your shows wisely: There are many different types of trade shows around the country. All business cultures run trade shows as way for the different members to gather. Do some research on the different trade shows in and around your area, and pick the shows that relate mostly to your company. If you run a tableware company, then attend trade shows intended for restaurants, eating establishments, or food distributors. Thus, more attendees will already be interested in -- and looking for -- the type of merchandise you sell.

2. Have a goal in mind: When attending a trade show, make sure you know what your intentions are. Are you focusing on attracting new clients, luring in new distributors, establishing your brand, or to gather tips on improving your marketing further? Giving all you can towards one goal will help ensure you accomplish it as well as possible. You can then choose another goal to work towards at the next trade show, and improve your company in various ways.

3. Promote when possible: Get the word out about your trade show presentation, and attract more and more attendees. Some existing customers may want to come visit, but don't know that the event is going on. Tell them -- put the information out for customers to know and attend. The popularity of your booths will intrigue more people to come check your products out. You can easily promote your events on social media, through email, or even directly on your website.

4. Draw attendees' attention: When at the trade show, design your booth so it stands out among others. If you have a say on where your booth is, try positioning it in a high-traffic area. This will maximize how many attendees see and visit your table. Bold colors will not only make you stand out amongst the other booths, but they will also create a lasting impression on customers. You also should use big, easy-to-read letters on signs because attendees need to read them from across the room. Designing your display effectively is key to attracting people to your presentation.

5. Stand at your booths: When you attend trade shows and look around the event, you may see people sitting at their tables waiting for customers to approach. This is definitely not the best ways to attract new clientele. Instead, stay standing and interact with people passing by your table. This shows attendees that you are personable and eager to help them. Standing at your booth also makes it easy for you to attract people who would not normally want to stop. This can open many doors and windows of opportunity for you and your company.

6. Don't clutter your tables: Putting too much merchandise or other marketing products on and around your tables can overwhelm trade show attendees. The clutter can give them the wrong impression, and make them think that you are disorganized. This can limit your business drastically. Instead, try cleaning excess material from your tables and keep them looking as neat as possible. At trade shows, attendees base their opinions off your tables. If they don't look as perfect as possible, then people may not be attracted to your merchandise. So to keep your opportunities high, take the time to organize your tables.

7. Follow-up with who you meet: Not everyone who visited your booth at a trade show is 100 percent convinced to be your customer. So, if you want to expand as much as possible, your job doesn't end once your table is packed up. Send out follow-up emails, mail samples and catalogs to potential customers, or anything else to convince the attendees to use your company. Doing so will only ensure your impression lasts and will show the customers that you are willing to work to get their business. Be persistent -- some potential customers may on-the-fence about using your merchandise, and this is a sure way to persuade them otherwise.

8. Provide samples and/or giveaways: Everyone loves free stuff, even if you aren't a fan of giving it out. Free merchandise makes trade shows fun, and will bring countless potential customers to your table. Free samples and giveaways attract attendees and keep them lingering around, and this will also give you the time to present your products. Then, with either the free samples or a giveaway, customers will be able to take your products home to test out. If a customer likes your product, then they will stay with your company forever. And, in the end, their business will make your free samples and giveaways well worth it.