Nailing your first trade show

The time has finally arrived for you to exhibit our own goods. For years, you have traipsed up and down the rows and rows of traders, imaged what it would be like to be the person making the sales, and making the contacts. While it is completely normal for you to be feeling nervous, and second guess your readiness. However, here are few tips for nailing it at your first trade show.

It Is All About The Looks

Well, of course, it is! The first thing people are going to see from you is your stand. You don’t have to spend a huge amount to get something that works perfectly for your needs, but you do need to plan ahead. For example, you could use something from Orlando trade show display rentals, making it super easy. Once you know the dimensions of the display you are going to have, run a few mock-ups. You can use the floor of your home to measure out space and trial a few set-ups. The key to a great display isn’t piling on everything you have, it’s being selective. Less is more. You don’t want people to get overwhelmed when they walk towards your space. Ideally, you will give people an idea of your business as they approach. Leave enough space for visitors to walk into your area a little bit. Pin your best products up at eye height, and leave things with texture or books close to the edge of the table. People love to touch things. Think about colour too. When you get a copy of the business lists and floor plan, see who you are between and what you can do to stand out.

Get Writing

At every trade show are a selection of journalists, editors, bloggers, and shoppers. It is their job to seek out new and innovative companies and talk about them. Get smart and produce content for them. A press release in the press area, and on your tables with information about you, your business and what makes you unique. Be sure to include links to download high-res images, and even samples. Start the conversation.

Don’t Just Sell

Ideally, you will be wracking up the contacts, all primed and ready to make some big sales but that isn’t all you should be thinking about. Trade shows are the perfect place to meet distributors, investors, production lines and suppliers. Make sure you that you have business cards and flyers ready to hand out to those that you think could be beneficial. Take hold of every opportunity you can while you are there. It might seem like you have a long day ahead of you, but trade shows go by in the blink of an eye. There are usually after-show trade drinks or spaces reserved for traders only – make use of them. After all, it likely cost a pretty penny for you to be there in the first place, make sure you are getting the value from it.


Happy, smiling people look more approachable. The most successful businessmen and women, and those at trade shows tend to be the ones who look very approachable. After all, if you need directions, or to check the time, would you ask someone with a stern face and aloof demeanour – or the smiling person with the approachable air? While you might be in the middle of a lull in the foot traffic, it is no time to let your face give away how bored you might be. Keep your body language open and relaxed. Say hello to people, without crowding their personal space. If this sound totally out of your comfort zone, perhaps you are an introvert, then rope in a chatty friend – we all have one!

Demo, Test & Giveaway

If you have a product that people will want to see in working order, before placing those all-important purchase orders then you are going to need to accommodate it. Interactive displays are always a crowd pleaser, and if people see a small crowd, they usually want to see what is going on too. FOMO is a big deal and you can create it by having a great display. Another great way to pull people in is to have a promotion running. It might be tempting to run a big competition, but don’t give yourself too much extra work on the day. A giveaway can be as simple as people writing their email address on a piece of paper and popping it in a pot and drawing the name at random. A top tip would be, to use any giveaways to fire up your social media mentions. Having all entrants tweet, or tag a mate in something will mean your social media coverage is taken care of.

Capture Those Leads

The whole point of being a trade fair is that you start getting your product out there. And, hopefully, you catch a few big orders. While it might be tempting to rely solely on whatever tech and visitor list the arena/ organizers have, you’d be utterly remiss not to get your own too. You can get an iPad with a quick google form ready for people to fill in, or you might choose to have a pen and paper. Having both is probably actually the best option. Not everyone loves to use tablets to fill in forms, and sometimes technology lets us down when pens and paper don’t. It is also a great idea to have a pot where people can drop business cards in.

Following Up

It is of no use to collect hundreds and hundreds of contact details unless you are going to do something with them. Ensure you are within at data protection or GDPR rules if they apply to you, but follow up. Once the excitement of the tradeshow is over, sit down and go through all of the cards an contacts that you have. And, while it is tempting to just reach out via LinkedIn or Facebook, (and yes you totally should) you should coin something more personal. You don’t have to email each person individually, but rather create a beautiful email in something like Mailchimp, or similar with an invite to keep in touch and swap people to a newsletter or your online point of sale.