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Business Owner…. work your trade show….

Yesterday we spoke about planning your own event. While this is a worthwhile endeavor, most small business owners will pay for a “table” at a trade show and take their chances. The following are a few ideas that will help make it a more worthwhile effort.


  • State the reason why you are attending the trade show. What do you want to accomplish?
  • Get a list of the exhibitors and identify those that closely identify with your target market, an opportunity to do some networking with someone who can refer business to you.
  • Know the “hot spot” booth locations and request that space if available.


  • Don’t over staff. Too many of your staff around a booth may discourage prospects from stopping.
  • Have a quality person(s) present in your booth. Someone who knows “your story” and that of your product or service.  A dress code that best represents your business image is important.
  • Have at least two people assigned to the trade show, one to meet and greet and to talk  about your firm and the second to take a person aside who wants more details.


  • After a while, all booths/tables start looking alike. Now is a good time to differentiate yourself and your display. Take into consideration the colors, the handout material, the booth design and/ or table covering. Do some “out of the box” thinking on this subject. The idea is to have those that see your booth tell others, “You just have to see the company’s booth, it’s awesome.”


  • Don’t just collect business cards! Whenever possible, jot down something special about the person whose card you collected. It’s great for follow up.


  • Be the first to arrive when the vendor set up period begins. Your well, pre-planned set up will give you time to visit with the other exhibitors.  Ask them to visit your booth and get a special gift. It may be something as simple as a copy of this blog on your letterhead or a cup of coffee to share marketing ideas at a future date.
  • Select the top 5/6 vendors that you would like to get to know better and set up appointments for an idea exchange meeting within the next ten days. I find that my best  show clients usually are other vendors that hear my story.


  • Have a follow up plan for the cards you collect and the individual people you meet. Do this prior to the trade show so that your system is in place and your contact list can easily be prioritized and contacted.  This is an occasion where the quicker the contact, the better the chance for success.

Discipline yourself to do the things you need to do when you need to do them, and the day will come when you will be able to do the things you want to do when you want to do them.       Zig Ziglar

Nick J. Petra CFP   “Our only business is to help you grow your business”©

Make it a Successful Today!


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