Trade Show Display Pizazz and Planning

You’ve carefully planned your trade show displays. You’ve ordered all your booth merchandise, both informational pieces and giveaways. You’ve put the word out to key attendees and customers in advance. You’re doing a give-away or promotion to entice people to your booth. You’ve chosen your staffers and even remembered to register for the show and book your travel! You’re completely ready for a successful event, right? Not show product tower-resized-600

Give your staff every chance to succeed and represent your company well at the conference. Staff preparation is key to making sure you get a good return on the significant time and expense the show will entail.


Set goals: You can’t really succeed without goals in mind, so be sure booth staff understand their individual goals, company goals and their specific role. It’s easy for newbies and experienced folk alike to become distracted by the chaos swirling around them and forget why they’re there.

Let’s put on a show: Make sure you’ve selected booth staffers that really want to be there. An upbeat attitude and boundless energy will be vital, but that’s not all you need. Stress the importance of focus despite a potential circus atmosphere and wild trade show graphics. Train staff well ahead of time and rehearse or role play to be sure everyone’s comfortable.

At the event

Script: Create simple, adaptable and short scripts for common scenarios staff will encounter in your exhibition stand: Practice various quick-connect conversation starters, phrases for pulling in passers-by, using eye contact to engage the visitor in conversation, key messages about the product or service, lead-qualifying questions, how to handle a blow-off. Get everyone familiar with the trade show displays, common Q and A, basic product info and demos (if applicable).

Voice of experience: Bring along an experienced staff member or two. Someone who has handled previous shows and lived to tell about it is invaluable. Who else will remember little details that can improve the show for employees and attendees alike? They’ll squirrel away that extra folding chair that’s always needed, remember to test the electrical outlets and extension cords upon arrival at the expo and perform other prudent activities that first-timers may not.

Lead collection: Outline specific information trade show exhibit staff should gather and make it easy to record that information. You can use the show’s method or your own iPad or other method, for instance. Have staff practice using the device in your role-playing or at as one of the first activities when you arrive at the show if using show/venue lead-collecting equipment. Ask staffers to make notes for later salesperson follow up and/or qualify the leads, placing them in categories according to your company needs. magellan modular trade show display

Over-staff: Take more staff than you think you’ll need for the booth. Traffic fatigue can set in sooner than your think for your booth representatives. Having someone fresh, energetic and performing at a high level to take over every few hours is worth the extra cost to bring them. If you see someone zoning out, have a backup person available.

Hydrate: Have lots of water available to keep everyone refreshed. Stockpile more than your think you will need in your booth or have a nearby accessible source.

Circulate: Send a designated staffer around the venue to check out other trade show displays and report back about innovative booth ideas.


Recognize: Offer incentives to outstanding performers who gather the most leads or go above and beyond in another crucial way.

Follow-up: Almost immediately. Passing leads to another department? Make sure they understand the urgency. Even better, have a lead follow-up/fulfillment plan in place before the show.

For more, check out planning for trade stands or our article on the FAST method for planning.

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