Preparing for your first trade show

By Henry Brown

Attending trade shows can be a great way to make contacts and connections in your industry sector. As well as meeting other like-minded individuals, you can also use this experience to build your customer base by showing off what you have to offer and what your business is all about.

There are many different reasons for adding trade shows to your companies marketing strategy, but setting up for your first one can be daunting. You want to make sure you have everything you need and don’t miss anything.

In the first instance, these are great practical tips to consider before your first trade show:

-Try to visit a trade show as a consumer to get a feel for what it will be like, and what others have with them and the types of marketing pitches used.

-Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. The chances are you will be on your feet all day.

-Interact with other exhibitors before the trade show on social media and let your followers you will be there too.

When it comes to preparing for your first trade show, you want to make a list of equipment you will need to take with you. Have any samples ready to go – remember to pack more than you think you will need. The last thing you want is to run out.

-Business cards


-Free samples/favors

-Batteries for any equipment you may be using/demo products if needed.

-Pens and paper so you can make notes of suggestions or queries so you can follow them up at another time.

-Sign up forms if needed

Create your brand and logo ahead of time.

Matching colors of your stand and clothing to your logo will help you stand out at a trade show. Keep it simple but coordinated so as not to overwhelm customers. If you can, make sure you and your team sport the company branding too. Doing this will help you promote your company more. Make sure your equipment bears your logo to help you project your company further. Items such as a silicone edged graphic banner with a frame can help you pull together your stall and stand out in the crowd.

Consider getting a professional company to set up your stall for you. For first-timers, it can be daunting to get everything set up on time and be prepared. If you feel you will benefit from this, you can hire people to do this for you.

Be as creative as you can and show your personality in your booth.

Be polite

Despite it being a nerve-wracking and tiring time, remember to be polite and helpful at all times. Showing off your service or product with confidence can help turn potential customers into new customers.

Do this by being humble and generous with your thanks while delivering your sales patter tailored to each individual that comes to your stall. Everyone needs different requirements and being able to talk to people at a level they need means you need to open, friendly and approachable.

Make sure you and your team are knowledgeable on a variety of different aspects of not only your business but sector too so you can share this when asked on the day.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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