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Getting the most out of a trade show or exhibition

Once you have signed up for a trade show or exhibition, read over your agreement with the organisers and make sure you understand what's included in your package. There will be a range of different tasks to organise before, during and after the event.

Before the show

  • Market and promote your trade show or exhibition attendance through your website and industry newsletters or magazines. If you already have a customer database, send out invitational newsletters or emails about the event.
  • Ensure that your products and collateral (flyers, handouts, etc.) are up-to-date and contain useful information and contact details.
  • If you're selling products at the trade show, make sure your purchasing process is easy for buyers to make purchases there or in the future.
  • Use your unique selling proposition to market your product or service and consider giveaways or a competition to attract customers to your display.
  • Brief staff that are attending the trade show on correct etiquette when speaking with potential customers. Make sure your staff have thorough product and service knowledge and good customer service skills.
  • Think about ways to receive feedback (e.g. feedback forms, prizes for completing surveys). This will be useful for deciding whether to exhibit at other shows and how to improve your offering. Ask customers if they would like to be added to your database and receive regular updates on products and services.
  • Stick to the budget that you decided on before the trade show.

During the show

  • Attract visitors to your stand through visual displays that clearly promote your product or service. Visitors should be able to very quickly work out what you are offering.
  • Engage your visitors, make eye contact and smile. Most visitors will respond by looking at the products or services that you have to offer.
  • Ensure your staff aren't too pushy or overbearing with visitors. They need to be informed about your products and services, but be careful of driving potential buyers away with aggressive selling.
  • Ask for feedback from visitors to your stall.

After the show

  • Look at the feedback from visitors, have a debrief meeting with staff, check post-trade show sales, review new customer databases, and self-evaluate the effectiveness of the trade show. This will help you to make a decision on attending a trade show in the future.

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