Many businesses choose to exhibit at trade shows in order to raise the profile of their brand and generate new business. The biggest way to achieve that is, of course, to generate enough interest at the event to attract people to your display and gather their information – this trade show lead generation is the key to making the event worthwhile and effective.

Here are some aspects of exhibition planning to consider before attending your next event:

Set goals and objectives

Identify exactly what it is you want to achieve by exhibiting at the even, define clear goals. Will you measure its success by increased sales or leads – perhaps other aspects such as employee recruitment or general product/service feedback and raised brand awareness is the aim?

Whatever your objectives, ensure they are clearly defined and measurable.

Choose your stand location early

Decide early where you would like your exhibition stand to be placed. Some people may like to occupy the more ‘visible’ spaces – corner aisles or near entrances and exits. Others may choose to be near some of the guaranteed busy sites at the exhibition – food and drinks stalls and such.

Another option is to place your stand near your competitors, as you know the audience there will be of a particular ilk and interest. Whatever your location preference, reserve your space as early as possible.

Your stand design

One of the major features of exhibition planning is, of course, how your stand will appear to the attendees. Ensure your booth is attractive and relevant – it doesn’t have to be the most expensive or ‘flash’, as long as it offers an accurate representation of your brand and the message you want to relay. Simple but attractive is a good rule of thumb to adhere to.

Choose the right staff

Choose carefully the staff you have representing you on your booth. They need to have the relevant product, or service, knowledge and the ability and manner to be able to engage with attendees and effectively sell your business and brand.

Visit other booths

Don’t just concentrate on selling your business to exhibition attendees – the hall will be filled with potential customers amongst the other businesses – perhaps companies that offer complementary services or products to your own. It is also the opportunity to see what the opposition are doing – it’s a great way to keep abreast of your competitors and possibly glean useful practices and ideas that you can adopt for your own business.

Collect contact information

Taking note of contact details of attendees and other businesses exhibiting at the show is a vital part of any trade fair. The whole point of having a stand at an exhibition is to market your brand and generate new business – so anyone who visits your stand and shows an interest, ensure that you get their contact details.

Asking them to fill out an information card is a great way to get their e-mail address, phone number and other social media details, so you can directly follow up after the event.

Follow up leads quickly

This is where the real value of your exhibition stand will show. Ensure you follow-up quickly on all the leads and interest generated at the show – there is little point in collecting business cards and contact details if you don’t use them – and interest can cool quickly if these leads aren’t actioned promptly!

Measure results

Once your generated leads have been actioned, you can start to measure their impact, and therefore be able to check your success against the goals and objectives set out beforehand – this will give you an accurate picture of how profitable – or otherwise – exhibiting at a show has been.


If you plan your trade show events properly, they can be a very effective marketing vehicle for your business. We’ve put together everything you need to know in our planning checklist.

Read our exhibition planning checklist


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