First Tradeshow? Avoid Making a Big Mistake with these Tradeshow “Don’ts”

First Tradeshow? Avoid Making a Big Mistake with these Tradeshow “Don’ts”
  • Opening Intro -

    Although a tradeshow can be a great way to network and get your brand out into the community, many businesses fall flat when they fail to prepare.


A tradeshow can be a huge waste of time, money, and energy for your business if you fall victim to a few common mistakes.

Entering a tradeshow and setting up your display is only the beginning—it will take a lot of work on your part to represent your brand and make contacts. Read on to learn about the common mistakes that businesses make at trade shows, and how you can be sure avoid them.

Don’t Clutter Your Display

Mistake: You fit as much information about your company on your display as you possibly can, but your display is too cluttered and confusing.

Your display should be easy to read from a distance. A few words or a slogan to describe your business is enough. Any more than that is overkill. Don’t use industry terms or acronyms that attendees may not recognize. You want to attract interest, not repel it. A professional display can help you avoid these problems. The point of the display is to grab interest from a distance—then as people approach the display, it is up to you to keep them there.

Don’t Take New Staff

Mistake: You take a new staff member with you, but he or she knows little-to-nothing about your business.

New staff may not be able to explain the product or service to attendees, or answer questions that attendees may have. Take qualified members of your sales team with you to man the display booth. The last thing you want is for your product or service to be misrepresented by an inexperienced staff member. Not only is it important that you have staff who know everything about the company, but you need to take individuals who are personable and friendly. Outgoing staff members who are able to answer questions and give great sales pitches will be a huge asset as you strive to make contacts and gain attention at the tradeshow.

Don’t Offer the Wrong Prize for Your Drawing

Mistake: You don’t have a list of qualified leads to follow up with after the show.

Many businesses offer drawings for free prizes as a way to collect contact information for leads. However, don’t offer a prize that every attendee would love to win. The goal here is to get leads for your business, not the name and contact info of people who are just interested in the item you are giving away. For example, if you sell candles, the drawing should be for free candles, not a free weekend getaway to NYC.

Don’t Forget Who You Talk to

Mistake: An attendee calls you after the show, but you lose their business because you cannot remember the person or what you discussed.

You will interact with a lot of people throughout the duration of the trade show. It’s a good idea to jot down a few notes about the conversations you have. One easy way to do this is to ask for business cards. Then, after the person has walked away, quickly write a few notes on the back of the card to help trigger your memory later. Include a brief description of what the person looked like, and what was discussed.

Being a participant in a trade show doesn’t mean that miracles will happen. Your first trade show experience can be a success or a complete failure, depending on how you present your product or service. Take time for careful planning—ensure you have a clear, enticing display, qualified sales professionals, appropriate prizes, and a system for remembering potential customers. When you avoid mistakes and present your company in a positive light, you’re sure to make a good impression and benefit from entering a tradeshow.

The information for this article was provided the professionals of Truss Kits, who create trade show display booths.



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