So, you’ve made travel arrangements and plunked down your company credit card for a trade show, and you want to make sure that it goes off without a hitch—and that all your time, energy, and money is not wasted. Designing the perfect exhibit is only half the battle. A lot of thought and preparation goes into a successful trade show.

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So, I’ve put together a handy list of seventeen action items to ensure that your upcoming trade show is, by far, your most successful.

Here’s the List:

  1. Set specific and measurable goals before arriving at the show.

  2. Train your team.

  3. Establish a follow-up plan.

  4. Invite people to come to the show using social media, email, and your website. It’s what your competition is doing.

  5. Create a schedule for your team so they know where to be when, and what they are expected to accomplish.

  6. Assign one person to be in charge of your booth at a time.

  7. Design a booth that incorporates all five senses. It draws prospects in and engages them in powerful ways.

  8. No eating in your booth.

  9. Do not take personal cell phone calls in your booth.

  10. Present yourselves as fresh and ready to take on the day—look the part.

  11. Obtain as many details about each prospect as possible.

  12. Listen to your prospects—it’s a learning opportunity. What are their needs or pain points?

  13. Focus on your goals.

  14. Resolve to speak to as many people as possible—that’s why you are here.

  15. Hold quick recap meetings with your team every night to keep everyone focused.

  16. Debrief your team before leaving the show.

  17. Book the trade show early for next year, and you’ll likely get a discount.


Items one through seven need to happen well before the show ever begins. Items eight and nine only distract you and your prospects, so keep it clean and professional. And action items eleven through sixteen should be your aim throughout the show. The last one will save you money, which is always a good thing!


There you have it. Print this list and make it happen!

Before You Go

When pulling off any major event, preparation is key. Hopefully these seventeen action items are as helpful to you as they have been for me.


If you have any questions, or need help designing your booth, visit my website. We can make it happen together!


~Tony Johnson