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We’ve all been there…our boss stops by our office to tell us the company is getting a booth at the local business expo. Are we happy? Are we disappointed? It probably depends on prior successes.

I can tell you right now, don’t spend the money to buy a booth if you aren’t going to put the effort into making it a successful show.

Here are a few tips for success:

Pick the right venue. Will your potential customers really be there? Have a plan for getting people to your table. Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd. Send out notices to current clients telling them where you will be. Have a special gift just for them if they stop by to chat.

No free candy and throw-away gifts. Face it, these are just going home as something for the kids, or maybe the administrative staff at the office. Not to mention, people just grab and run. That’s a waste of your marketing dollars. Find a meaningful item to give as a gift, but make the visitor play a game to get it. Come up with something fun and relevant to your company. Next time you attend a show, watch what others do and get ideas. Also, use the internet as a resource for inspiration.

Make sure your booth is visually attractive. Expos are a visual setting. You don’t need to spend a fortune. Just make sure your branding is strong and professional.

Put the right staff at the table. You don’t want to have someone who sits behind the table all day. But, you also don’t want someone who acts like an “attack dog”. Sales reps need to be outgoing and friendly, but not too aggressive. Have them ask open ended questions that are relevant to your industry. This will pull a person into a conversation.

Most of all have fun. Visitors will feed off of this energy and want to stop by to see what’s going on.

For more information on how to achieve strong expo results, visit your local Skyline Exhibits. They provide free seminars and have wonderful products. I’ve used their services for years and truly am a fan. (