We all know the trade show is the center of activity for your industry at any given time, and your performance there should improve with each one that you attend.


Here are some of the most valuable lessons that I learned at my last trade show that you can put to work immediately. 

Talk to Everyone You Can

Everyone will always line up to meet the speaker after a lecture or kneel at the feet of the CEO who just hit the jackpot. You can certainly make your appearances here, but your real value will be found in the partnerships that are specific to your company’s improvement.

Why spend all of your time congratulating a rival when your goal should be to talk to the raw material vendors to lower your supply side costs? On top of this, you never know what ideas the quiet people in the room have. Bring them out with a simple conversation, and you will soon be the one everyone lines up to congratulate.

Get the Floor Plan Early

Do not wait to solidify your booth positioning. Trade shows, especially highly attended trade shows, will invariably have some last minute changes that may bump you from your position. Create a relationship with the trade show producers so that you are not the one bumped if bumps must be made.

Also, getting the floor plan as early as possible will clue you in to the best type of booth to get. You may not be best served with an island if one of the faces is towards a wall or thoroughfare with no foot traffic, for instance. Learning the floor plan may save you money, because you may not need the biggest and most spacious exhibition in order to get noticed.

Go Very, Very, Very Big or Go Home

Pivoting off of the floor plan tip, you must learn how to go extremely big in the space that you are given. You may fall into the temptation to lower yourself to the level of your competition so that you will not stand out. Although this seems incredibly backwards as you read it, it is only human nature to try to fit in, even in business.

Conserve money where you can so that your display will stand out. Use 3D spacing (think OUT as well as UP), the latest tech innovations and an inventive promo item to catch the attention of the room. Going with a reputable trade show display company will pay dividends.

Be Truly Interested in Your Rivals

Just because you are in a rivalry with many of the companies at the show does not mean that you cannot be interested in what they have to offer. Remember that the salesmen at the event are individuals as well as representatives of the company.

They may not like working there, and they may give you an inside tip after they have had a few drinks – you never know. Break the ice by being truly interested in what other companies have to offer. You may get the cold shoulder from a few rivals, but the information that you will glean overall will be well worth it.

About Author: Carlos A. Espitia is a marketing & business consultant with Infinity Exhibits and the self-proclaimed “Chief Human” at CAE Marketing & Consulting. He is a 15-year marketing expert, high-performance driving instructor, founder of Omega Delta Sigma, former U.S. Marine, and University of Florida alumni.