8 Foolproof Ways to Make an Impression at your Next Trade Show

May 7, 2016

Ben Camerota

Ben Camerota is the President of MVP Visuals, suppliers of custom branded displays for trade shows, retail promotion and corporate events

Forty-six percent of decision-makers attending trade shows determine what to purchase during the course of the event. If you can deliver a strong impression during your next trade show, you stand a better chance of selling your products to those in attendance - making the trade show well worth your investment of time and money. To stand out from the rest, use our 8 foolproof ways to make a great impression.

1. Invest in displays and custom tents.

If you have a colorful, branded trade show booth, visitors will be drawn to your display. Investing in custom tents, banners, flags, and custom tablecloths or spandex table covers makes your booth look polished and professional.

If you are new to trade shows, this is one of the best ways to make your brand look bigger and more established than it is. 

2. Send your best reps. 

Put your best, most charismatic and knowledgeable people at the trade show to maximize your effectiveness and reach. This is simple, yet many businesses fail to do it.

To help your reps convince and connect, provide them with product literature and coach them on demonstrations. They will reward you by showing off your products in the best light. 

3. Practice your pitch. 

In the lead-up to the trade show, write your pitch - and practice it. When staff have a script for product pitch, FAQs, product demos, and more, they'll be confident and charismatic at the show. 

4. Have a freebie or giveaway.

Freebies or giveaways entice attendees to give you their contact information. They also draw crowds to your booth, which generates more interest. 

5. Make your booth feel welcoming.

Just as you might feel tired during the course of a long show, so do attendees. If you make your booth feel welcoming by incorporating a lounge space, you will naturally attract people who want a short break.

When people are sitting down, they'll take in more of your pitch or demo because they're comfortable, and they'll walk away with a positive impression of your brand. 

6. Keep the booth open. 

A rookie mistake is to set up your booth to actually deter users from coming inside. By putting a table across the booth's front you create a bottleneck. Make sure you have enough of an opening to welcome users inside. 

7. Don't overlook lighting. 

If you've ever walked away from a trade show booth because you can't even see the product on demo, then you know the harmful impact of poor lighting.

For peace of mind that your products will look their best in any convention center, buy inexpensive, bright LED lights. Use these to spotlight your booth or shine on your products. 

8. Post social reminders. 

It can be easy to ignore social during the event, when you're handling booth traffic.

Yet you can actually drive more traffic to the booth by tweeting with event hashtags, sharing demo videos, and posting trade show reminders on your social channels. 

Trade shows are time intensive, but high preparation rewards you with successful lead generation and sales during the event.  Leave yourself and your events team enough time to implement these 8 tips before your next trade show. You'll be rewarded with positive press.

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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.