(Continuing a week of TRADE thoughts)

Home and Garden Shows. Gun Shows. Boat Shows.

Many industries have annual trade shows to stimulate shopping and buying experiences for potential customers. Many business-to-business as well as business-to-consumer companies exhibit a few times each year in various locales and types of shows.

In my selling days, I strongly disliked working sales booths at a trade show. Set-up and take down of the exhibit was long and demanding. Standing on cement convention floors informed a new definition of shoe comfort.

Working inside the booth and greeting every person who paused at our exhibit to see what we were giving-away free… taught me great lessons about effective marketing within a booth. My observation is that many companies focus more on the sizzle than the sell.

Tade Booth


Exhibitors busily construct eye-candy booths complete with flashing lights, video, beautiful people and nary a cash register. The absence of a cash register is not all surprising since this type of exhibitor also believes in image advertising with no call to action or measurement metric.

I remember working with an oil change client who agreed to exhibit in a trade show targeted toward working women. I visited the booth on day 2 of the show and noticed a beautiful booth, loaded with lots of goodies to give-away. Booth attendants were TELLING visitors about the oil change service. I made a simple recommendation…


We developed a “show special” and sold 4 oil changes for the price of 3. That’s all we sold. We did a few other smart. non-sales things (smart = results) I’ll save for future blogs. The in-booth sales efforts paid for the exhibit expenses, labor and a nice profit.

Why would we ever exhibit at a trade show and not sell our product(s) IN THE BOOTH? Why would we ever pay for advertising without a call to action?  

Enough with the sizzle!

Do you have a success story to share about a trade show event? Did you make money?


TUESDAY BONUS: Send me an email and request my personal secret to trade show success. No charge. No gimmick… just a bonus for reading today. Send an email to Ask me to send you my favorite trade show success secret. (Especially valuable even if you do not exhibit at trade shows.)

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