Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘booths’

Before the Show Opens. After the Show Closes.

August 10th, 2018 2 COMMENTS

Yes… Even More Trade Show Planning

There’s no shortage of articles about pre- and post-show trade show tips. Follow those tips and you’ll not only have more qualified leads, but you’ll turn them into sales by roughly a bazillion percent. Check the research at CEIR and let me know if I’m wrong about that statistic.  

Even if you maximize your pre- and post-show planning, it’s possible to miss potential sales because your planning didn’t include right before the show opens and right after the show closes. Every day. On the morning of the show, especially on Day #1, we are nervous, tense, and uncertain about what the show will bring. So we clean, vacuum, organize literature, drink coffee and eat giveaway candy. That’s not to say those aren’t important. They are. But there are other trade show tasks that need to be accomplished before that first wave of attendees descends on your booth. As a solid Type-A exhibitor, you’ve already had multiple meetings with your team before the show. That’s what makes you wonderful and a pain in the ass. It’s now one hour before the show opens, not just on Day 1 but also on Day 2 and Day 3. It’s time to

Before the Show Opens

  • Review the show goals for the team once again. 
  • Remind everyone how “we” plan to meet and exceed those goals
  • Discuss roles. Do those roles need to change from Day 1 to Day 2 to Day 3? 
  • Equipment. How does it work, who has the login information, who is the “Oh Shit” expert, and what’s the backup plan?
  • Who is expected in the booth today? Are they a customer? A prospect? What’s the plan?
  • Did anything happen during dinners, meetings, conference gatherings that the team needs to know? 
  • Does the “message” need to change based on conversations with attendees or announcements from competitors? 
  • What’s the break schedule?

Good job! You scheduled a team meeting each day with a specific agenda to review. Your team knows what to expect, has answers, and is prepared for another successful day on the show floor. 

Four to five hours later, the show closes for the day. You and your team are exhausted. They are ready to relax, have a drink, and leave the show hall. BUT… you’re not done yet. It’s time to review what happened that day. Resist the urge to do it in a bar, restaurant, or in the hotel lobby. Do it now. In the booth:

After the Show Closes

  • Review the leads and determine next steps and priorities
  • Add notes to the leads (while they are still fresh)
  • Discuss any missteps and changes for the next day
  • Share critical news from attendees, clients, competitors, and suppliers
  • Cover plans for dinners, meetings with clients, and conference events
  • Lock-up and store any valuables
  • Is anyone leaving to return home? How does that effect staffing and roles for the next day?
  • (On the next to last day) What’s the plan for disassembling and shipping the exhibit after the show? Does any rented equipment need to be returned to the show contractor? 

Now, that wasn’t so hard. It just took a little planning, patience, caffeine, and the promise of food and alcohol.

What did we miss? Please let us know in the comments. Thanks.


Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including SuperNova LED Lightboxes. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or

How to Convert Trade Show Visitors to Customers

August 6th, 2018 COMMENTS

Guest Post by Johanna Cider

Trade shows are a great way to get your company’s name out there and to network with potential customers or clients. If you are planning to start trade show marketing for the first time, you’re probably wondering:  What are the best ways to turn visitors into paying customers? Try the following tips to show off your business in the best light and attract great, loyal customers like bees to honey.

Trade Show Marketing

Image Source: Pixabay

Identify your target customers (and send invitations in advance)

Depending on your industry, you may already have a contact list of potential individual or business clients. Send a quick, professional e-mail to this group, letting them know that you’ll have a booth at an upcoming trade show and would love for them to visit and test your product.

You may try offering an incentive for the first twenty or fifty visitors (depending on the size of the show). Something like a discount voucher on your product or a promotional item can work wonders if you’re trying to attract visitors. If presented in a warm, friendly manner, these gifts may even leave your customers subconsciously wanting to buy something in return for your generosity.

Create an attractive booth space

Your booth is a big piece of tangible advertisement, so entice your visitors by creating an attractive, eye-catching booth. Consider sizing – you’ll need room for all of your equipment and ensure that visitors can easily enter and leave. Choose the right colors to match your business theme and the mood you intend to portray. Keep your booth’s decorations tidy, smart, and simple so they don’t overwhelm visitors on sight alone.

Trade Show Marketing

Image Source: Pixabay

Make it interactive

Telling visitors about products isn’t always enough to sway them. What better way to show visitors your product’s value than to let them test it themselves? It’s normal for customers to have some hesitation when buying a new product, especially if it’s expensive.

Ease their fears and allow them to try your product under your supervision and answer any questions. Don’t be tempted to crowd your visitors: there’s nothing wrong with pointing out your product’s features – but allow your visitors to discover your product’s worth in their own time, so they don’t feel rushed.

Staff your booth with well-trained employees

Your visitors are much more likely to become customers if they’re convinced that your product is worth purchasing – and the people in charge of this critical task are your most well-trained staff. For many customers, your booth will be the first point of contact with your company, so don’t let inexperienced employees ruin their perception. Ensure your staff are confident and compassionate, ready to address any queries that your customers may have.

Tradeshow Marketing

Image Source: Unsplash

Follow up with your visitors

Remind your visitors about your product by sending them an e-mail or two after the trade show has finished. This might be in the form of a survey about their experience or an invitation to take part in a competition. You could also request the e-mail addresses of potential customers during the trade show, asking them if they would like to be added to your mailing list if you wish. Just ensure they know what they’re signing up for beforehand, as there’s no quicker way to alienate potential customers than by sending them e-mails that look like spam!

Choose a strategic place for your booth

Find out as much as you can about the trade show venue, and see whether there are different zones in the grounds that cater to different types of businesses – e.g. outdoor vs indoor, near windows or natural light, close to plug-in power connections, etc. If you are allowed to choose the location of your booth at the trade show, be strategic. Studies show that when people try to remember a group of items or names, they can usually recall the first and the last ones they heard or saw – so if your booth is near the entrance or exit, visitors may be more likely to remember your company’s name or booth when they reflect on their experience.

Converting visitors to customers at a trade show doesn’t require a miracle. If your company is prepared and willing to adapt, you’ll be sure to succeed.

Johanna Cider is a New Zealand-based writer who has published work for hospitality sites such as Strata. An artist as much as a wordsmith, she loves honing her skills at creative workshops and scouting the latest design trends at trade shows in her city. Discover more about Johanna and her work on Tumblr.

Why Blog? What Bloggers Say.

October 23rd, 2012 COMMENTS

Why Blog?

We’re often asked by Classic Exhibits Distributors about the benefits of blogging:  “Isn’t it time consuming? How do you decide on topics? How often should I submit posts?” I have a hard time answering those questions because the answer is, “It depends.” I ask them if they enjoy writing about our trade shows and events, or if they feel they have something to share about sales, marketing, or small business. They do, even if they don’t realize it. That’s the first reason to blog. Everything else is frosting on the cake.

Blogging may seem a little old fashion compared to Facebook and Twitter, but it’s not. Good content (and the catharsis that comes from writing) is important. So why should you do it? I did a search on “Why Blog?” You might enjoy the answers, along with links to the original posts. Enjoy.

Build Trust

People are skeptical. They are skeptical about strangers on the street and they are even more skeptical about strangers on the internet. A blog with consistent, truthful and helpful content will allow you to bridge that gap between distrust to trust.

Growing Stream of Organic Search Traffic

It’s hard to think that anybody would doubt the benefits of blogging to improving your organic search engine efforts, which in turns drives more traffic to your site, but in case there are any unbelievers out there…here’s the evidence:  people who’ve blogged five times in the last 7 days will get 6.9 times more search traffic.

But influence may be the grandest reason to blog. Garnering influence means building an online voice and thought leadership with every word you write, and every piece of content that you would share online.

Writing Leads to Understanding

Blogging forces you to write down your arguments and assumptions.  This is the single biggest reason to do it, and I think it alone makes it worth it.

When you move from your head to “paper,” a lot of the hand-waveyness goes away and you are left to really defend your position to yourself.

A business blog is an informal, easily maintained method for regularly communicating with your customers. A business blog offers a more approachable, informal information-providing approach in which customers find enjoyment, get to know your company, and learn about your products, achievements, and innovations.

A business blog is an informal, easily maintained method for regularly communicating with your employees. Whether you host your internal employee blog on a commercial site, on your webpage in a password protected location or on your Intranet, you have created a strong communication tool.


The ALL NEW Exhibit Design Search

September 18th, 2012 COMMENTS

How new? It’s so new that it still smells like fresh programming code on a dewy spring day. Inhale and savor the crisp scent, my friend. It’s a new day in the land of Exhibit Design Search (EDS).

Introducing Version 3.2. All your favorite features are still there, like photos, specials, exhibit tips, FAQ, and 28 product galleries, but we reorganized it, made it prettier, and added a couple of new features as well. The new EDS will be much easier to navigate, thanks to a layered approach to the graphic design. The important stuff is upfront like images and the design description. The weightier stuff is one click away like accessories, set-up instructions, and graphic dims.


  • A Quick Search on the EDS home page. Want a more detailed search, go to the Refine Search option.
  • Don’t want to navigate through the product galleries, then use the 10 x 10, 10 x 20, or “Other” button to go directly to Banner Stands, Table Tops, Portable Hybrids, etc.
  • There’s a new More button. You can go directly to a Trade Show Calendar, see booth regulations, or click on a specific product gallery.
  • The Design Details page is all new. The additional images are next to the main image. There’s a prominent My Gallery button, and the Share This Design, Request a Design, and Send Me More Information are front and forward. All other details are in the Accessories & Options and the Documentation tabs.

Exhibit Design Search

Tour the new EDS on Classic’s website. The distributor versions will take about a week or two to implement given all the format changes. But . . . in no time, you’ll see it on your website. When you do, take a deep breath. Everyone has that new EDS smell. To see EDS on an unbranded site, go to

Let me know if you have any questions. I will be conducting Exhibit Design Search training via GoToWebinar in about a month.

p.s. A very special thanks to Tony Bennett, our gifted web developer, for his insights and his patience as we slogged through concept after concept and more tweaks than a NASCAR stock car on race day.

–Mel White

What Cats Can Teach Us About Trade Shows

August 7th, 2012 2 COMMENTS

trade shows and kittens

Schooled by “The Master”

There’s a bumper sticker from the Humane Society which says, “Who Saved Who?” We are a nation devoted to pets, whether they’re on the farm or in a purse. They learn from us, but we learn from them as well. The other day while watching Animal Planet with a cat in my lap, one on the sofa next to me, and another puking upstairs (it sounded like the world’s worst ventriloquist), I realized that we could learn a thing or two about trade show marketing from our feline companions.

What Cats Can Teach Us About Trade Shows

  1. Cleanliness Matters. There’s nothing more distracting than a dirty or cluttered booth, whether it’s Day 1 or Day 3. You can always spot the exhibitors who are serious about their trade show marketing. They’re in their space two hours before the show wiping down counters, vacuuming, and organizing. And yes, the booth staff needs to be presentable as well. Not lick yourself clean, but clean.
  2. Recognize Your Meal Ticket. Cats know who feeds and pampers them. They devote their attention to that person to the exclusion of anyone who wants their affection but doesn’t reward them. They tolerate those who occasionally give them a kibble, but they’ll spend hours with the person who makes their life better.
  3. Attitude Matters. You knew this had to be on the list. There are “Scaredy Cats” and cats with a “Tude,”  but there’s a fine line between “tude” and “attitude.” Trade show attendees are looking for solutions for their business or organization. To win their business you must be confident and knowledgeable without being cocky or a know-it-all. Smart exhibitors know the difference between being gracious and welcoming (like a cat) versus being obsequious and fawning (like a dog). Don’t be a dog. It’s embarrassing.
  4. Purring Helps. There’s a reason we love a purring cat. Happiness is contagious. Ever walk by a booth and everyone is smiling and laughing. You want to be with them. When we’re around positive and happy people, our stress melts away.
  5. Conserve Your Energy. Trade shows can be exhausting for us desk jockeys. We no longer have the stamina to stand for hours on a show floor. And then there are the meetings before the show and the meetings and entertaining after the show. The days can be long and grueling. Pace yourself. Take cat naps when you can and drink plenty of healthy fluids. And stretch . . . it’s not always pretty, but it feels good.
  6. Eat Well. If there was ever a time to turn up your nose at cheap fast food, it’s at a trade show. Just because it’s right in front of you, you don’t have to eat it. Wait for the good stuff and then indulge.
  7. Get Along with Others. Trade shows can be stressful. There may be occasional spats with coworkers and a little fur will fly, but the key is to forgive and forget. Don’t let that slap-fest over a patch of sunshine turn into a grudge. There will be lots of opportunities to shine. Family is family, even if there are multiple fathers.
  8. Stalk Your Prey. Let’s not kid ourselves. Trade shows are equally cooperative AND competitive. In a dog eat dog world, let the dogs eat one another. You want to be the one stalking your prey without their knowledge and then pouncing. And, depending on your temperament, don’t be shy about playing with your prey before putting it out of its misery.
  9. Hide Your Poo. Things happen at trade shows, but you don’t have to let the rest of the world know. Be sure to cover it up as quickly as possible. We don’t want to see (or smell) it.
  10. Play the Kitten Card. There’s nothing more irresistible than kittens: cute, cuddly, spastic balls of fur. They attract more attention than the snake lady at the county fair. Deep down, every exhibitor wants a “kitten” in their booth, something that attracts crowds. The goal is to find a “kitten” that relates to your product and service. Is it easy? No. But serious exhibitors, those who are relentless about trade show marketing, are always looking for ways to combine flash with substance so appropriate attendees flock to their booth. When it comes to generating qualified leads, they want to be the electric can opener at dinner time.
  11. Land on All Four Feet. Cats manage to land on all four feet. No matter how much we plan and prepare, there will always be circumstances that we can’t anticipate at trade shows — freight, labor, damage, weather, etc. Things happen. But if you keep your cool and tap into the resources around you, you’ll not only survive but thrive. [Thanks to Lisa Shackelford for this tip]

For you dog lovers, here’s your chance to start a new list:  What Dogs Can Teach Us About Trade Shows. I’ll offer #1 and #2 — “Don’t Bite the Hand that Feeds You” and “Loyalty Matters.”

Let the comments begin . . . .

–Mel White


Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions and engineered aluminum extrusions (ClassicMODUL). Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100.