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How to Attract Trade Show SuperHeroes to Your Booths


X-Ray Vision

As an exhibitor, you go to a trade show to sell you product and close deals. You hope every attendee who walks in our booth is Superman. Not Superman Superman, but the sales equivalent of Superman. Faster to sign a contract than a speeding bullet. More powerful than the VP of Purchasing. Able to leap over objections in a single bound. We yearn for Superman (or Superwoman) to enter our trade show booth space.

And yet, we place kryptonite everywhere in sight so Superman veers away (no doubt into the arms of our evil nemesis -- Super Savvy SalesPerson). What did we do wrong? Well, let's eliminate the easy mistakes, the ones so obvious that his X-ray vision saw them three aisles over.

Identifying Your Trade Show Kryptonite

Frenchy Fry Me:

Nothing says no-loving like a booth staffer hunched over lo mein, a cheeseburger, or chicken nuggets with honey mustard. And, yes, I did see you wipe your hands on your pants. Then there's the smell....Kryptonite-TS

Five-Second Text:

Baby-boomer, GenX, or millennial. Doesn't matter. You can't start a conversation if you never start a conversation. It gives new meaning to -- "Hey buddy, my eyes are up here!"

The Quickie:

Good choice. A vinyl graphic hanging on the pipe and drape. Perfect if you're pitching hairball chews at the local cat show. Otherwise, it says, "I'm living in a van down by the river."

The Berlin Wall:

The banquet table is your best friend at a hobby or arts and crafts fair. Take the same approach at a trade show and expect to catch up on your texting and Facebook posts at the show.

I Don't:

Got there late. Left early. Spent most of the time flirting with the woman on the next aisle.

Concrete Cal:

No flooring. Or padding. Or orders. Think of flooring as another branding surface in your booth space. It doesn't have to be fancy, but doing nothing tells everyone who walks by your booth space that you just don't care. Clowns

10 Clowns in a Car:

How nice! The entire sales team is here. Except this isn't a rave party, a tailgater, or a celebrity sighting. "No thanks. I'll take the next less-crowded elevator." A trade show isn't a reward for your team like a Caribbean cruise. It's a sales meeting. 


"Just give me 5 minutes to find it. I know it's here somewhere. I swear I just saw it. Here it is! Nope, that's not it." A cluttered booth, like a cluttered office, makes attendees uncomfortable. Not only do they not want to enter it, they actively flee from it.   

Love Me Some Swag in the Booth:

Selfie sticks, pens, water bottles, shopping bags, phone chargers, tech tools, lip gloss, exercise band, calculator, hand sanitizer. 'Hey kids, Daddy went to a trade show." Swag can be effective or it can be a distraction. Make sure the promotional product reinforces your key messaging. 

Mystery Date:

"I'll give you three guesses what my company does. Want a hint? Another hint? Starts with the letter G. See the display on the corner with the hanging sign. We do what they do." Your booth messaging shouldn't be a guessing game. Plus, it doesn't have to include every product or service you offer. Pick a theme or a message and make it sticky. 

Turn Me On:

Day 1. "Anybody know how to launch the video or turn on the tablet?" Day 2. "Did anyone charge the tablet or bring the thumb drive?" Day 3. "I don't know. We think they're broken."

Don't be the only person at the show not wearing an "S" (for sales superstar). Get rid of the exhibit krytonite and you're guaranteed to attract a Superman (or two or three) to your booth.

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Article Author:

Mel White, CEI