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5 Top Tradeshow Secrets Revealed--What the Pros Don't Want You to Know

July 17th, 2014

Short of placing a massive sign that screams "YA GOTTA SEE THIS!" next to your booth, how do tradeshow pros direct tons of traffic to their booths? Why does one booth always seem to attract crowds like it was a magnet and people were made of iron? What are the 5 top secrets to tradeshow success?


1. Open Your Booth Weeks Before the Tradeshow Begins

A month (or even two) before the tradeshow opens, when everyone else is procrastinating and taking long lunches just to talk about ideas for the show, true tradeshow gladiators are ransacking the area and taking no prisoners. They are busily researching, communicating with past clients, networking and taking advantage of social media weeks before the tradeshow is being advertised. So stock up on energy drinks and get your game on!

2. Knowing When to Talk--and When to Shut Up

Tradeshow booth staffers need to understand that acting like a high-pressure car salesman is not a successful tradeshow conversion technique. A staffer might think he has the gift of gab but that "gift" is sure to backfire when attendees take an instant dislike to the barrage of self-important hype dirtying the air. Depending on what you are selling, engage a customer in a way that eventually reveals the efficacy of the product to their needs. Ask them questions. Let them talk. Take time to make the person feel like they can trust you.

3. People LOVE Getting Free Stuff

Seriously, who doesn't? Know that you will have to invest in your tradeshow booth to be successful and make plans to give away items that are relevant to your product or service. If you aren't advertising a free Give-A-Away, you are not going to attract anybody at a tradeshow. Period.

Inexpensive giveaways such as buttons (with your company's logo), pens, tote bags, travel mugs and business card magnets are popular with attendees because they handy and useful. Unique items like this Flexman Digital Clock or multi-functional tool also make great free gifts. You should always hold a raffle to give away more desirable expensive prizes to attendees who stop by your booth. Raffles are also excellent lead generation methods because they allow you to obtain contact information.

4. Show Your Product in Action Using State-of-the-Art Graphics

In the 21st century, nobody wants to see a posterboard graphic with cut-out pictures pasted randomly all over it. Invest in interactive digital software, several iPads and the largest computer monitor available if you want to attract world-weary tradeshow attendees. The more high-tech your booth is, the more people you'll impress--and draw to your booth.

5. Colors That Interest are Colors That Sell

Psychological research has proved that certain colors actually stimulate "consumerism", or the urge to buy. For example, using reds, greens and blues of medium intensity when decorating your booth elicits positive responses from most people (red = excitement, blue = trustworthiness and green = money (of course). If your booth is advertising sports-related items, orange (youth, creativity, fun) and yellow (energy, optimism) are great colors conducive to attracting actively buying customers.

Finally, never, ever leave your booth looking lonely and abandoned among hundreds of other booths bustling with people and activity. Make sure at least two staff members are always manning your booth while two or three others are out in front of your booth engaging customers and selling your product.

By Travis Shafer
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