Tradeshow Tonic


Published on Jan 8, 2019 2:03:30 PM


The ROI of your trade show exhibit is directly influenced by your actions and decisions

But that control is a double-edged sword. With it comes the burden of knowing that your decisions might also set the stage for poor performance. Here, we have offered bits of advice to help ensure that your display generates a positive return. These are the tips that veteran exhibitors (many of our clients) use to make certain their efforts contribute to their company’s bottom lines.

How to reap positive ROI


You’ve invested a hefty sum of money into your trade show display. We take it very seriously when it comes to your Return on Investment.



#1 – Reserve a High-Traffic Area of the Convention Hall


The more foot traffic you have near your booth, the more opportunities you’ll have to meet and engage attendees. Reserving space in a high-traffic area may be as simple as asking (contact the event organizer). Other times, you’ll be expected to pay a premium.

So what is a high-traffic area in a convention hall?

Try getting a spot on the corner where there is always a crossroads of attendees passing. You will be able to engage from all directions and your booth will be more noticeable not packed between two others.

A good place is also the one that is close to the restrooms and the lounge area.

It’s important to remember that having the best spot in the convention hall won’t help you if your display is designed without paying heed to the 4 marketing questions to your right. Image result for right arrow





85% of the positive feelings visitors have are due to the staff.  Your booth staff is responsible for drawing in your customers, effectively engaging them and qualify them as leads.  Because of this, it is important that you select the most effective staffers that your company has to offer.

If they are sales people, you have to train them to adapt their interaction style to the trade show floor.  If they are not salespeople – they can still do extremely well, given the proper preparation. Above all, learning to read the minds of your booth visitors helps a great deal.

Check out the TED video and get to know the MINDS of your target audience.



Achieve Face to Face Likability  Unless you have products or services that sells by itself, you have to work on the personality of your booth staffers.

For starters, know how to smile. Yes, there is a fake smile and a great smile. A fake smile uses the zygomatic major muscle that runs from your jaw to the corner of the mouth. A genuine smile uses the orbicularis oculi muscle as well. The muscle surrounds your eyes and it makes your squint and produces crow's feet. The real smile is so special that it has it's own name: the Duchenne smile, in honor of Guillaume Duchenne, a French neurologist.


know the fake from the real smiles

Image source: Digital Photography School


Brush up on the Formula of Perfect Handshake    

formula for perfect handshake

Professor Geoffrey Beattie, devised a formula which looked at 12 inputs to get the perfect handshake.

(e) is eye contact (1=none; 5=direct) optimum value 5;
(ve) is verbal greeting (1=totally inappropriate; 5=totally appropriate) 5;
(d) is Duchenne smile – smiling in eyes and mouth, plus symmetry on both sides of face, and slower offset (1=totally non-Duchenne smile (false smile); 5=totally Duchenne) 5;
(cg) completeness of grip (1=very incomplete; 5=full) 5;
(dr) is dryness of hand (1=damp; 5=dry) 4; optimum value 4;
(s) is strength (1= weak; 5=strong) 3; optimum value 3;
(p) is position of hand (1=back towards own body; 5=other person’s bodily zone) 3;
(vi) is vigour (1=too low/too high; 5=mid) 3;
(t) is temperature of hands (1=too cold/too hot; 5=mid) 3;
(te) is texture of hands (5=mid; 1=too rough/too smooth) 3;
(c) is control (1=low; 5=high) 3;
(du) is duration (1= brief; 5=long) 3.

Professor Beattie mentions in the "Scientists Devise Guide to the Perfect Handshake" in perfectly pain english.

"The rules for men and women are the same:   right hand, a complete grip and a firm squeeze (but not too strong) in a mid-point position between yourself and the other person, a cool and dry palm, approximately three shakes, with a medium level of vigour, held for no longer than two to three seconds, with eye contact kept throughout and a good natural smile with a slow offset with, of course, an appropriate accompanying verbal statement, make up the basic constituent parts for the perfect handshake."

Quick trick - Before you shake hands — rub your palms against each other — it generates heat and energy that gets transferred to the other party and he/she will be left with a feeling of your warm personality.


Harness the Right Words    

— Use simple words, use active voice, keep it short, use common, unambiguous analogies... if you can always default to YES.

"A yes buys time, enables you to see more options and builds rapport." — The Frog and the Prince: Secrets of Positive Networking

Keep the above directives in mind when you show your booth staffers how to direct conversations toward learning more about visitors’ business needs. Educate them how to present your company’s products and services as attractive solutions. Engaging visitors and qualifying them according to their respective budgets, needs, and buying urgency requires asking good questions and listening attentively to the responses.


Now, the you know the underlying details that moves us as human beings, give your booth staffer greater comfort and confidence by training them to understand and follow a 4-step booth staffing process:

1. Engage: 30 seconds — Start the process by stopping attendees.  Prepare and practice questions that won’t get a yes or no answer.

2. Qualify: 2 minutes — Determine if the prospect is worth presenting to … and what to present.

3. Present: 5 to 8 minutes — Demo on just the prospect’s needs, not everything you know. Prepare for common objections and questions.

4. Close: 1 minute — Lead card complete? Agree on the next step and go on to the next lead!


#3 – Make Lead Generation YOUR 'A' GAME


Of all the actions you take during the event, collecting leads will have the biggest impact on your success. The purpose of your trade show exhibit is to give your company exposure to your target market. The greater your exposure, the more people you’ll attract to your booth. However, just because a large number of attendees visit your booth doesn’t mean your efforts to draw them in will generate results. Make sure you are generating the right audience for your company — it works best when you know your ideal customer profile (look to your right). That should be discussed before you even get to the show and while you’re designing your booth.

To generate quality leads, encourage interactions based on:

1. Empathetic Listening (to the needs and concerns of your audience)

2. Insightful Observation (in order to detect new opportunities)

3. Design Thinking (for holistic solutions)

4. Creativity (focused on generating practical new ideas)

5. Presentation (of both visual and verbal communication)

As you focus on the above points, make notes on how the interaction serves the purpose of your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). This will give you down the road clue on how to engage your trade show attendees for your post-show follow up.



#4 – Promote BRAND AWARENESS Before the Event


Your trade show attendee walks into the show with a list of 75% of the exhibits he/she wants to see. That means you have to get on their dance card before the show.  You can boost your trade show lead counts by 33% with trade show promotions – even though they require a much smaller percentage of your budget.


Trade shows are not only for meeting new prospects. They also give you an opportunity to connect, in person, with your current customers. When they visit your booth, the face-to-face interaction will help to strengthen your relationships with them. Let them know how much you appreciate their business and ask them how things are going. Maybe they’ll have a project coming up that they’d love to use you for since you’ve been so accessible and open with them.




So how do you get your customers to attend the show and visit your booth?

You have two options.

First, you can do nothing and simply hope they’ll stop by. Second, you can be proactive and promote your exhibit weeks, even months, before the big day arrives. Email your mailing list. Get the word out via social media. Promote it through direct mail. Share partial photos and captions through the stages of your event planning and share photos of your booth. Get attendees excited about an in-booth promotion you’ll be offering. A great way to get people to stop by is to offer a giveaway that can only be redeemed by stopping at the booth. That will be a great way to engage in conversation and see how you can solve their needs.


Word of Caution: Consider whether or not you can create a promotion that reflects the key messages you are trying to communicate at your show. Some simple examples:

If you are promoting a unique product or service would your promotion be considered by others as unique. 

If your key message quality – would your promotions or giveaways be considered quality by others





Promotional giveaways will attract attendees to your exhibit. Everyone likes free gifts, but cheap gifts makes your company look cheap. The key is offering giveaways that attendees are likely to keep and use over and over and can share it with their connected friends and followers. For example, movie tickets are great giveaways, specially if you can tie in with your products.

For example, coffee mugs with your company’s brand subtly displayed on the bottom are a great idea. So, too, are keychain flashlights, reusable water bottles, and travel-sized computer accessories, such as a mouse or pair of ear buds. Sustainability and climate change is the common thread that unites our planet — clever giveaways and call to actions directed toward this cause is bound to galvanize your audience.

Bad ideas include boomerangs, branded pens, and stress balls. They’re overplayed and offer little practical value.




Design high-tech interactives for instant gratification. Compliment it with low - tech design aides to engage in your post-show follow up (see image below). Yes, it is a lot of work. But, when you do this, are bound to strike a chord.

The idea is to root for a cause and then immerse your audience in your cause.

interactive boards

image source: pinterest



#6 – FOLLOW UP With Booth Visitors After the Event


Earlier, we noted that lead generation, among the various other actions you take at the event, will have the biggest impact on your success. But collecting leads is only half of the equation. Following up is other half of the equation. Only about 40% of sales people follow up on leads after the show.

Add creativity to your mix when you follow up with your prospect. Obviously, you will add the picture of the booth. But, when you add the little quirks and oddities of your low-tech interactives, you immediately show that you have been paying attention to them on the show floor.


booth design with low tech interactives

image source: skyline and world wide web

Actively measure how well you have met the offline/event expectations by asking online customers directly. This is best achieved with survey software, like Qualtrics Vocalize, Zendesk, or Freshdesk


Many exhibitors, even those who have years of in-the-trenches experience, neglect to follow up with the people they meet at the show. Instead, they shelf their hard-won leads with the intention of addressing them when they have more time. The problem is, targeted leads age quickly. Each day that passes allows them to further cool. After a few weeks, your chances of converting those leads to customers becomes slim. Did you know that only 47% of sales people follow up on their leads? Follow up needs to happen within 1-3 days after the show. Don’t let your hard work fall out underneath of your and your ROI plummet.


Given the time and resources you’re devoting to exhibiting, you want to do everything possible to maximize the ROI of your trade show exhibit. When the time comes to prepare for your next event, start planning early and get your timeline in order.

Make us look good.  #TradeTechandEvents





Topics: Trade Show Marketing, Trade show ROI, booth design, tradeshow ROI

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When designing and creating a trade show display, four things need to be considered before you even think about submitting your ideas for creation. Understanding your objectives (or your clients’ objectives if you’re the designer), is a crucial part in the planning process. Here is a 4-step plan to outline the steps you should take when designing or tweaking your pop-up exhibition




1. Situation Analysis:

WHO are you? Who is your company? This sounds like an obvious statement but there is real value here. It is crucial to understand who you are as a business; it’s like understanding your personality type. What are your values? What do you represent? What do you sell? Your display is your stage. On that stage you must be yourself and let your core purposes shine through. Understanding who you are as a company and what reputation you want to establish (or continue) is the groundwork for a great trade show display.


custom islands


2. Know Your Objectives:

WHAT are you trying to accomplish at the trade show or with your display? This question always returns blank stares and fumbling hands. For some reason, having an objective is the hardest yet simplest thing to define for a company. Having an objective means understanding what you want to get out of your event, which means understanding goals and planning ways to meet them. Before you can jump to the idea for your booth or design it, your trade show objectives need to be well-defined and have a plan of execution. This will play out in your exhibit design.


linear booth


3. Tactics:

HOW will you accomplish your goals? This is justified based on your needs as a company. To accomplish your goals, you need a plan of action.
Go beyond the surface of what your product does — do some research on your ideal customer profile (ICP)

To do that, answer these 2 questions:

1. Who are my perfect customers?

This involves identifying the industries with high retention and renewal rates to "help your company understand where they should be putting their focus.”

2. What exactly do they do?

This provides insight into the specific job description of your customer, which can help you personalize marketing and sales messaging by appealing to their specific needs and pain points.

Tie in the specific tactics with your from your objectives and this will help you to think through all the important pieces to make your final presentation come together.




4. Justified Result:

WHY did you do what you did? After all is said and done, you should be able to look at your finished product and know that everything you did had a purpose. Every step in the process had a purpose. Every decision was thought out. That graphic is centered there because it plays into the contoured lines here, to give this effect. Most importantly, this conclusion is where you can round back to a new situation analysis and say you did this because this is now who you’ve become.

Be clear about your objectives. Be clear about the expectation of your audience.

Implementing these 4 steps in your next trade show planning process will change the way you exhibit and give you the results you’ve been waiting for.


6 tips to get positive ROI

Where To Look For Promotional Ideas

Before you start brainstorming your promotional ideas keep in mind that consistency in all of your trade show messaging increases attraction, retention and memorability and should help with the overall qualification of your leads and prospects. Some places to look include:


Attend trade shows and other events: Attend events both in and outside your industry to see what others are doing and how they are doing it.


  ....We used the technique, commonly called 'seduction of the spirit' and the 'pleasure of the senses'. HOW WE DID IT.... 

Social media: With the increasing popularity of social media into marketing plans there are so many organizations creating promotions to increase their likes, followers and overall exposure across various social media channels.  Take a look at these promotions and think how they could work for you in a trade show environment.


The oldies: We are talking about radio, television and print.  They have been around for a long time; there is conjecture as to whether they will survive the digital age regardless, they are still a great place to look for competition ideas for your
next trade show.



image source: pinterest


Retail: The next time you go shopping keep your eyes open, particularly towards the aisles in a shopping center where companies take casual leasing space.  These “exhibitors” often have a tough audience to try to attract and have to think of unique ways to draw people in (sound familiar?)  Maybe you will find something here that would suit your organization at your next trade show.

Startups that are making a difference in the Retail Space




Your business has a lot of customer touchpoints to manage. And if these touchpoints don't present the overall picture your customers expect, they move on. Trade shows and events are the physical touch points in our virtual world.

Make it linger!