Outperform competitors at trade shows

Trade shows are undoubtedly one of the most productive ways to increase brand awareness, network with potential customers and to build future sales. However, it is also easy to completely disappear in a vast sea of competitors. Getting noticed among your peers is a real challenge. Here are some key takeaways to outperform your competitors and to leave an unforgettable impression.

Set clear goals

Set clear goals for your attendance at the trade show. What do you want to get out of this event? What do you want to achieve? How many attendees do you expect? Ask clear questions.  

Sometimes it may be difficult for companies to find a trade show in their predicted business area, which may result in a disappointing ROI. You can ask your existing customers which type of event they are used to attend. You can also use trade show selectors as an identifying tool. Skyline Trade Show Calendar has referenced more than 4000 trade shows. You simply have to choose trade shows that will give you the best ROI relative to your targeted goals.

Make sure you know exactly what is ROI by reading this article.

Efficient Internet marketing

Thanks to an efficient Internet marketing, you can draw more visitors to your booth, thereby enhancing your trade fair results:

Before the show: raise awareness and curiosity, tell your customers what will be shown during the event.
During the show: the use of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest) will help you get the leads to grow your business and drive incremental sales
After the show: follow up promptly with customers (between 1 and 2 days), and don’t forget the longer you wait, the longer attendees may forget who you are and what your business is!

As a rule of thumb, make your posts personal: teaser videos, pictures of meeting preparations, booth set-up, etc.

Activities and promotional items

Interactive activities are of the essence in trade shows: you should have something to do at your booth: games, visually appealing presentation, etc. Don’t just sit there waiting for customers.

Besides, giving out promotional products will further increase your brand awareness. When customers use promotional items, they give other people a look at company’s logo, and that just keeps generating interest. So make sure you do have plenty of business cards, pens, magnets, or everything that contains your company name. Free food is also very appreciated by attendees…

Sales experience

A trade show benefits from a specific environment, very different from those encountered in traditional calls or meetings. Consequently, it is of the essence to rely on an experienced sales team. So, choose an outstanding trade show representative, i.e. someone that has the skills, knowledge and experience to make interactions with potential customers a great way of success. Such following skills are needed:

  • Experience in sales situations
  • Expertise industry
  • Friendly body language and professional appearance
  • Ability to remain positive and focused even in fast-paced situations

Let’s take some time to elaborate your elevator pitch and don’t be too aggressive with visitors. The main difficulty relies in drawing attendees without intimidating or overwhelming them.

Network building

In order to make key industry contacts or to further develop relationships, you have to collect information about attendees. How?

By making visitors sign a guestbook or give their business cards in a dedicated bowl to win a prize (free trial / discount). Having a prize drawing or contest is indeed a good way of collecting information about potential customers. Making a follow up contact with them will therefore be easier.


Exhibiting at a trade show has hundreds of advantages for your own business. Having competitors and meeting them on this occasion is also a good thing in itself. But how you stand out against them will determine how you succeed. By delivering a superior customer experience, thereby outperforming your competitors, you will remove a vast majority of obstacles on the path to success.

So, do not hesitate to give us any feedbacks or suggestions or to share with us any of your trade show experiences as an attendee or exhibitor. What has been successful / unsuccessful for you the last time you took part in such an event? We want to hear from you!

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