You Probably Don't Know Who Is Ignoring Your Booth... And You'll Be Surprised Who Is

Sales and marketing directors know that you don’t close a sale on the trade show floor. “We’re just here to fly the flag,” they say. Expectations are low, and the sales team doesn’t care if the booth is full of customers because “the attendees already know us” and “they’ll stop if they need us.”

Recently, a sales director told me the “we’re flying the flag” story before a show in San Antonio, Texas. About halfway through the show, the sales director told me, “Wow, you’re pulling in a bunch of our established customers. These people never stop by the booth! They normally walk by because they already know us.” 

Instead, these customers were examining the new equipment the exhibitor brought to the show and looking for the changes and innovations I had described during the presentation. After talking with the representatives, they were excited about the new products, and looking forward to the hospitality event that evening. Normally, these “established customers” would have walked right past the booth! If they don’t stop and look at the booth, none of that happens!

If you’re not actively engaging the attendees in the aisle, you’re missing a tremendous opportunity to:

  • Refresh relationships with existing customers

  • Expose existing customers to new products and services

  • Get feedback from existing customers on their current product knowledge

  • Give service after the sale and start a new sales cycle.

Remember: Your competition down the aisle is hard at work. They’re pulling in a huge crowd at their booth, talking about their latest innovations and technology. Attendees are visiting their booth and meeting their sales team. Their sales team is developing relationships that are going to result in sales calls that get answered after the show. The people answering those calls are going to be YOUR customers.  

If you aren’t engaging the attendees at your trade show, your competition is getting their foot in your customer’s door.

Mike Duseberg is a trade show marketing expert who is fascinated by effective and efficient methods of starting new sales conversations at trade shows. He can be contacted through his website at

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