Planning is an important part of any successful endeavor. As with anything else in life, experience is oftentimes the best teacher. Even if you don’t have trade show experience of your own, you can still learn from the experiences of others.

Here’s a list of the most common mistakes exhibitors make and some surefire ways to avoid them.

1. Staffing Issues

Don’t make the mistake of understaffing your booth at your trade show. Be sure you have enough staff on hand to account for breaks, lunches, and to handle traffic at your booth. Work with your exhibit provider to get their recommendations on how many people it will take to adequately staff your booth.

You should also ensure that each staff member is properly trained and has the knowledge and personality necessary to interact with visitors while also projecting your brand’s values and beliefs. Having staff that aren’t completely knowledgeable about your company and its offerings can be detrimental to your trade show success because they won’t be able to engage with visitors in a manner conducive to generating leads and making sales.

Lastly, make sure your staff are clear about what your goals are for the trade show, as well as how you’ll measure the extent to which they’ve been accomplished.

2. Not Having a Lead Organization Strategy and Outreach Plan

As people visit your booth and interact with your staff, you’re going to want to make sure you have a system in place to organize your leads and take notes in relation to why they’re visiting and what products or services they may be interested in. Nothing is worse than getting back to your office with a list full of leads with no context about any of them.

Research what lead retrieval software options will best fit your needs. A few things to consider: Can you import the leads to your company’s CRM? Does the software allow you to take notes on each contact? Can you customize what information is necessary for attendees to register?

Sit down with your marketing and sales teams before the show to find out what information will be valuable for their outreach and conversion efforts. Demographic information (both qualitative and quantitative) will be valuable for determining what products will be a good match for the leads you retrieve. Set out a plan for post-show outreach and decide how you’ll keep leads engaged with your brand and its offerings. Your goal is to show your potential customer that you were listening and being attentive to their needs.

3. Having an Unappealing Show Booth

A booth is your company's first impression at a trade show. It's what makes you stand out from all the other organizations that are attending. Presentation is everything at trade shows, and when your booth is neat and well organized, it gives attendees the impression that your business is also organized and successful.

Lighting can make or break your exhibit. Choose lighting that won’t make your booth too hot and try to use accent lights that will put the focus on your products without creating an unpleasant glare around your entire exhibit. Try to keep your lights about three feet apart, and use LED lighting to conserve energy and reduce heat emission. Lighting your booth up from the floor can provide a visually pleasing aesthetic without being hard on the eyes.

4. Underestimating Timelines

Just as it’s important not to underestimate costs, it’s just as important not to underestimate the length of time it can take to complete the various items on your trade show checklist.

Saving too little time for things like shipping or staffing your booth can have drastic consequences on your trade show attendance, leaving you paying missed deadline fees, scrambling to train and staff your booth, and potentially ruining the experience you provide to your visitors.

Plan ahead, account for delays, and always be prepared.

5. Choosing an Inexperienced Exhibit House

Deciding who to partner with for your trade show exhibit can play a huge part in your trade show experience. Many exhibit houses will build your booth, but might not be as helpful with the rest of your trade show needs.

Finding an exhibit house that is dedicated to guiding you through your entire trade show journey will help ensure you don’t go over your budget, find reliable companies for shipping and storage of your show materials, and be able to provide all the answers you have about your upcoming trade show.

Exhibit Options prides itself on being there with you every step of the way. Contact us today to get started!