Exhibiting at a trade show can be a daunting experience, especially if you have never shown at, let alone attended, one before.  If you are serious about marketing your business or have new products you want to showcase, a trade show will give you the greatest impact as your prospective clientele will be coming to you to see what you have to offer. To help you decide whether it is worth the effort, try following the examples below.

Choosing the Right Trade Show

Choosing the right trade show will be your first hurdle, and for this you will want to decide what sector you are targeting. Are you aiming for sales to the general public? If so you will be looking to exhibit at a Consumer Show, whereas a Trade Only Show enables you to liaise with other companies and build links. Many shows are spread over two or three days, with the first ones reserved for trade only and the last day being open to the general public.

Checking up on previous shows that you are thinking of attending will give you an idea on whether they are popular. Also it may be worth contacting other non-competing vendors who have previously attended trade shows to see if they thought they were worthwhile.

Set Your Goals

Set out how many clients you want to land and leads or sales you need to generate to make a good ROI. Have a read through the attendees list to see who you may want to target and prepare yourself. They’re coming to see you so that’s half the battle won, even if it’s only to make them aware that you’re there and what you have to offer.

Research Your Competitors

There will be other companies exhibiting with similar products or services to your own, so make a note on how you differ from them and turn it into a positive, with the focus on quality not quantity. People are always looking for something new and this will give you an edge.

On the day don’t just keep yourself confined to your own booth. If your staff have everything in hand, then visit other competitors’ stands to see what they have to offer and maybe gain valuable information on where you can improve your position in the market. Though don’t forget, your competitors will no doubt be doing likewise so make sure your staff are savvy enough not to give away too much information.

Make Yourself Stand Out

Think about how you want to project yourself to your target audience, as you don’t want a stand where everyone just passes by. Exhibition & booth design is very important, and if done right will make your business stand out from the crowd. This, together with how your staff conduct themselves will maximise your results.

Your first exhibition will be a steep learning curve, so make sure you are prepared. And at the end of the day when it all starts to calm down, don’t think it’s all over just yet. Many interested people will wait until the crowds have died down so they have more time to talk to you.


Founder of Paisley.org.uk in 1998 and constantly strives to change peoples attitudes to the town, Brian is a self described Paisley Digital Champion who promotes Paisley via any means necessary. You can also follow me on X