Three Unexpected Secrets About Your Ideal Trade Show Prospects

Accidentally Violating The First Rule of Trade Show Prospecting

Before elevator pitches, badge scanners, giveaways, or product demonstrations, there’s one unbreakable rule of trade show marketing:

Get people to stop at the booth.

Until someone stops at the booth, nothing else can happen. All the other prospecting steps depend on the exhibit’s ability to stop attendees.

Frustrated trade show exhibitors often use product-driven messages to stop trade show traffic. They display their product on the aisle and assume that all interested prospects will enter their booth and ask for more information. They send emails with copy like “See the New XZ 2700 at TradeWorld in Booth 200,” and Tweet things like “See the latest motor solutions at the Company X booth.”


It works to some degree; however, with over 10,000 people at a small trade show, this is a very inefficient way to process trade show traffic and identify qualified buyers.

There are three reasons product messages do not stop trade show traffic:

1) They already know who you are, so they don’t need to stop and learn more. There are hundreds of booths show attendees need to speak to, and your existing customers often assume they already know what you have to offer. That means they don’t learn about your latest innovation, meet your newest sales rep, or hear your new solution to that problem that’s been nagging them for years.

It sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. At the EASA Show in 2015, a client ran over to me saying, “Wow, we never see these people at a show. They already know us, so they normally just walk by…”.


2) They use your competitor. This is the barrier every exhibitor wants to overcome. Attendees “basically” know what you do because they already use a similar product, but since they feel they know what you do and are happy with your competitor, they feel no reason to explore your offering and learn when they should switch to you.

Naturally, customers who are unhappy with a competitor might start shopping for a new supplier. On a busy show floor, however, they might not look at very many prospective vendors before making a choice. They’ll get information from the first booth they encounter, and they’ll visit a second booth to compare. If these first two booths provide the same basic information, the prospect becomes exponentially less likely to visit the third, fourth, or fifth vendor that they meet.

3) They don’t know who you are. On the other hand, if they don’t know what outcome they’ll get from working with your company, they won’t stop to learn about your product either.

Your booth has to broadcast a compelling message about the outcome they’ll receive by working with you.

Signage works, but it’s better to have something that grabs your prospect’s attention makes your booth look interesting. Leading with a product message actually puts your booth in the same class as #1 and #2 because you’re “another [insert product] company.”

So if product messages do not stop booth traffic, what does? Read on in our next blog post… HERE.

Would you prefer a “done for you” solution? Mike Duseberg builds a crowd at your booth, broadcasts a message that finds your ideal clients, and brings in qualified leads. Check out with further information, a free five minute “mini-webinar” on trade show tactics, and other free information.

Mike Duseberg