Beginner’s Guide to Improving Your Sales at Trade Shows

October 11, 2022

Maybe it’s your first trade show, and maybe it’s your 100th. Either way, the event is hugely important to your marketing mix. It's your chance to generate leads, boost sales, network, and grow your brand. You don't want to waste this opportunity. In addition to these tips to make your trade show booth stand out, here are the steps you need to take to boost sales at your next event:

  1. Set up actionable goals to measure and maximize ROI
  2. Assemble a winning team
  3. Pre-show marketing
  4. Utilize data collection software
  5. Execute your follow-up strategy

1. Set Up Actionable Goals

The first step to setting yourself up for success is to put a plan into action. When you're at a trade show, you have an opportunity to reach a large base of potential customers, so you want to plan ahead in order to spend your valuable time wisely. Your trade show goals will determine everything from your booth design to your overall budget for the show. You want your goals to be measurable and geared toward maximizing your return on investment (ROI).

2. Assemble a Winning Team

It should go without saying that you can’t improve your sales at a trade show if you don’t have a successful sales team. You’ll definitely want to put the time and effort needed into building a great team, or it’ll affect your entire experience at the trade show. Here are a few things to do to hit the trade show floor with the best possible team:

  • Set clear expectations. You want your sales reps to know exactly what your measurable goals are going to be for the trade show so they can work toward achieving them. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to also encourage them to set daily goals for themselves as well.
  • Give your team everything they need to succeed.  When putting a team together, you want to make sure they have the best possible chance to succeed. You’re not just assembling a team, you’re investing in them as well. . As a leader, your focus should be on removing any hurdles that hinder your team's ability to achieve their best. Make sure they're fully prepared and have all the tools they need.
  • Monitor your sales metrics in real-time. We suggest that you set measurable goals prior to the event. It makes it possible to closely track progress at any point during the trade show, change tactics on the fly if necessary, and determine what works and what doesn’t.

3. Pre-Show Marketing

It's tempting to place all your focus on your trade show exhibit and the event itself. But don't neglect to market to the attendees you're trying to attract. According to the Center for Exhibition Research, more than 75% of visitors already know which booths they plan to visit before they arrive. With that in mind, your best chance at attracting attendees to your exhibit happens long before the trade show even happens. Pre-show marketing isn't just important. It's necessary. Here are a few strategies you should use:

  • Contact the show organizer and find out how you can take advantage of any pre-show marketing tools they're providing for the event.
  • Send a few emails to registrants over the course of the month prior to the trade show and a follow-up email a few days after. Include any special offers you're running at the show, and announce your location on the show floor.
  • Use your social media presence as part of your pre-show marketing. Broadcast your exhibit location and any promotions you're offering. And keep posting updates while you're at the show. This will engage the customers who can’t make it to the event and push your sales up.

4. Utilize Data Collection Software

The right data collection software can capture key information from attendees who visit your booth. This is a great way to generate more leads and boost conversions. Ensure your chosen software also includes dynamic survey questions, captures email addresses, and gives visitors a way to flip through a digital product catalog.

5. Execute Your Follow-Up Strategy

Improving your sales at a trade show doesn't just rely on the sales you make during the event, it also depends on the leads you generate at the show and how many of those leads you convert into customers after the show ends. As mentioned before, sending a follow-up email to your exhibit visitors a few days after the trade show is a major factor in improving your trade show sales.


A good way to streamline this process and boost your sales is through dedicated trade show software. Perenso offers software that easily integrates with your CRM and inventory management solutions. 

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