The Vendor Dilemma: Turning the Curious into Clients

Trade show

With the busy trade show season approaching, many vendors have similar concerns. Renting space is expensive, designing an appealing booth is expensive, and the hope is that the traffic brings some paying clients, making the investment worth it eventually.

Are you stressed, yet?

Becoming a vendor is an exciting opportunity when you’re looking to expand your clientele. The people! The lights! The...hundreds of vendors just like you trying to attract the same people you are. It’s competitive, with no guarantee that you’ll expand your business OR get your money back. Rather than running to the farthest hills you can find, here are some tips on how to stand out from the pack and turn those curious attendees into paying clients.

Get Interactive

No matter what kind of business you’re in, you have to find a way to make your booth hands-on. There are attendees looking for something new and exciting, so give them something to do! The most popular booths are the ones that have active participation, whether it’s tastings, interactive exhibits, computer stations, videos, performers - the list is endless. Think of a way that you can get people involved in the booth and get their hands on your product.  

And whatever you do, don’t let anyone leave without something with your company name on it. Business card, novelty pen, swag bag - the choices are endless.

Design to Sell

What you do with your booth space is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. A booth that is well-designed--aesthetically and layout-wise--is key. A couple of things that might help:

  • Make sure there’s a clear path to enter and exit the booth.

  • Have something eye-catching near the front of the booth, whether it’s a banner that stands out, lights, sculptures, a clever sign - anything.  

  • No "clipboard people" out in front of your booth!

  • Have some limited seating--people will appreciate the booth with a place to sit after hours of walking.

  • If it looks cheap, attendees will think you don’t offer a quality product or service.

Get On the Map (and in the program)

Whether it’s a large trade show or a small local festival, there should be a map and a list of vendors available. Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to Get. On. That. List. Beg, borrow, steal, ask nicely - but make sure your name is on it. People can’t find you if you they don’t know you’re there, so make sure to talk to the organizers and see how you can get featured.

And if the event is really on their game, they’ll use Walkabout to create a map.  (Shameless plug over).

These are just a few tips and tricks to increase the likelihood of getting people interested in what you do. The most valuable tip - and this goes for most things in life - have fun. Smile. Have real enthusiasm. If people see that you’re excited, they’ll get excited too. Good luck!