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"Trade Shows"

By Bob Osgoodby
Posted Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Trade Shows are a great way to meet prospective clients. At first, it seems like a "walk in the park", and they can be a lot of fun. Many of the visitors to the show are there to see what is being offered, and to them it is more of a holiday than work.

If you are there to show your wares, it is work. Don't confuse your role as a vendor with that of the visitor. You must be there before the exhibits open to ensure your booth is set up properly, and have coverage at your booth until the exhibits close for the day. Trying to do it alone, is at best, a difficult proposition. There will be times when you must leave the booth, and if it is unattended, you may be missing prospective clients.

Let's assume you have all the "goodies" you should have such as business cards, brochures, signs, and free samples. I'm not going to cover that, as it will be different for each business.

As you walk about the exhibit hall, you will see some booths where there are crowds of people, and others where the exhibitors are trying to stay awake. What is drawing the crowds to one booth while the others are dying on the vine?

Giveaways are nice, but they usually pick them up and are gone. You want something, which will make them hang around a little, so you can talk with them.

Let me give you a couple of examples. One vendor puts up a sign "Free Return Address Labels" in front of his booth, with a computer and printer. Visitors can enter their information on the computer for their labels, and they are printed right away. There is usually a line in front of this booth, waiting to get their labels. There is also a guest book, which includes their contact information. This vendor has done two things. First he got the opportunity to mingle with the people waiting in line to make his pitch, and secondly got their contact information for follow up.

Another vendor puts some chairs and a small coffee table in a conspicuous position. People walking about get tired - their feet start to hurt, and they will gravitate to an unoccupied chair. Not only will they see promotional material on the coffee table, but it also gives you an opportunity to sit and talk with them.

One of the busiest booths I ever saw was at the "Artigras" Exhibit in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. An artist from Michigan had her wares displayed in her booth, and was sitting out front doing free caricatures. She had the line of people waiting, weave in and about her display in the booth, and many people bought something while waiting.

Which brings us to the reason you are there. You are there to promote your business or sell your wares. In order to do this, you must attract people to your booth.

There are many "attention getting" devices that can be used, but make sure the one you use allows you to interact with your visitors.

About the Author
Bob publishes the free weekly "Your Business" Newsletter Visit his Web Site at ( to subscribe. As a bonus, get 40,000 FREE E-Books from Larry Dotson, when you visit (


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