10 Tips For New Trade Show Exhibitors To Make Their Mark

Despite the growing popularity of food and food truck trade shows, there is no guarantee of success when it comes to new trade show exhibitors. In fact, according to the Trade Show Bureau (TSB), roughly 40% of first-time exhibitors don’t come back. A lot of them just go, stand around not doing much, and then swear they’re never coming back.  The problem for first time trade show exhibitors is they don’t realize the effort it takes before and after to make a trade show work.

10 Tips For Success For New Trade Show Exhibitors

  • Check out a trade show directory. Find out as much as possible about an exhibition before the show. Make certain its attendees are your target group.
  • Fix a budget. Find out prices for airfare, accommodations, and the like. Also, decide what your display needs are. If your budget is tight or you’re just going to one show, you may want to consider renting a display. If you go to a lot of shows (five or more a year), buying a display may be a better option.
  • Set objectives. Don’t go to the show without concrete marketing goals. Plan to meet a certain number of key customers and prospects.
  • Ship ahead, and allow plenty of lead time. Don’t expect things to arrive when they’re supposed to. Plan as if your materials will get there a week or two later than your target date.
  • Watch labor costs. Portable displays can usually be set up quickly and help you avoid additional labor costs. Check the show booklet carefully to see what the regulations are when it comes to setting up your own booth. As a rule, if it can be set up in 20 minutes or less with one person, you can avoid extra labor charges.
  • Keep it simple. If you can’t afford a lot of extras in the booth, at least keep it uncluttered and simple. Don’t put a table in the front, blocking the entrance. Avoid having chairs in the booth (it may become too tempting to sit down). Most important: Have a banner that tells people who you are and what you do.
  • Spend on lights. Don’t cut corners too closely on lighting. Many exhibit halls are poorly lit, and a dark booth is both uninviting and apt to make the company look like it doesn’t belong.
  • Consider trade show training. Many firms offer training on how to sell at trade shows. Salespeople who are great on the road may feel less comfortable standing in a booth for six or eight hours a day.
  • Don’t under staff. A minimum of two people is always necessary. If budgets are really tight, look at the possibility of hiring an on-site temp rather than sending a staffer to the show.
  • Be aggressive. Go out into the aisles and meet people. Don’t stand there (or worse, sit) waiting for people to come to you.

RELATED: Attending A Trade Show With Purpose

Do you have any additional tips for trade show exhibitors? Share your thoughts in the comment section below or on social media. Facebook | Twitter

2017-03-31T08:40:23+00:00 By |Marketing|

About the Author:

Hannah Ashor is a marketing professional turned co-founder and contributing author to Mobile Cuisine Magazine. She is proud to be a part of this new and exciting sector of the food service industry. She is fueled by the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit in those she meets regularly. Using her event planning background, she organized Chicago’s first food truck event series; the first of it’s kind in the city. Since that summer, Hannah has met with folks on all sides of the industry and shared it online with the Mobile Cuisine readers. Hannah’s enthusiasm, coupled with her event marketing background makes her editorial contribution a vital part of the organization.


  1. Kyle O'Ren May 25, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Keeping your booth/display simple is a great recommendation. Even if you have enough money to fill up a booth with all sorts of stuff you shouldn't. Keep it organized and professional and people will come to see you. I don't go to booths at shows that are blanketed in random stuff.

  2. Laurie Jun 18, 2016 at 11:50 am

    One thing you will really want to do is keep your booth on brand. Don't go too wild with all the bells and whistles, keep it true to your brand. Great tips, thanks for sharing.

  3. Brooke McAvoy Sep 13, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    It is interesting to me that you focused so much on lighting. I hadn't thought about how important this was in making the exhibit seem professional, but you are totally right! do you have any tips for where I might rent lights? Actually, really any equipment rental tips you have would be helpful. Thank you for an applicable article!

  4. Imagecraft Exhibits Nov 8, 2016 at 2:43 am

    Thanks for this awesome post. You have given me many ideas and tips to boost up a Trade Show. Now i know where should i focus more and where should i focus less.

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