Find out the next part of how to plan a trade show, we’ll cover how to select your trade show booth staff, arrange important client meetings, plan stand activities and more in under three minutes!

Welcome to our exhibition checklist about how to prepare for a trade show! You’ll know everything about stage three of the exhibition planning process in our handy guide.

Each week we are covering a different stage of trade show preparation. Last week we gave you a bitesize guide to organising your exhibition stand. In this article you’ll learn how to prepare for a trade show by following these steps:

  • Selecting your trade show booth staff
  • Planning stand activities
  • Sourcing and ordering promotional products
  • Arranging meetings
  • Training your stand staff

Next week we’ll cover everything you need to know about planning venue arrangements, including how to order onsite services and complete your show catalogue entry. If you can’t wait that long then click here to download your free planning tool and get a head start. Other than that, let’s get into the third stage of trade show preparation:

people figuring out how to plan an event

How to plan a trade show: Checklist

Selecting your staff

Choosing your trade show booth staff is one of the hardest planning steps for any trade show exhibitor. Get it right and your show will be a huge success, get it wrong and you risk walking away empty-handed.

To plan the most successful trade show you want to generate hot leads and close deals. You will achieve this by talking to visitors and building relationships. A lot of trade show booth staff spend the day sat down, scanning the badge of every attendee that will let them – that will harm your ROI, you want them to be able to qualify leads properly.

The best team always has plenty of experience, people skills, a positive attitude and proof of sales techniques. Choose people that know your business and product inside out and make sure they are confident crowd gatherers.  Train them in sales techniques and how to qualify leads, that way they will not waste time with the wrong people.

It also helps to bring a tech team in case anything goes wrong throughout your event.  A marketing person is also a good idea to gather competitor info and welcome attendees.

Set the ground rules for working on the trade show booth.  Ban mobile phones, laptops and eating.  All too often you see trade show staff sitting on their phones, eating or talking amongst themselves which is really off-putting for visitors.

people standing on the stand.

Planning stand activities

As part of your trade show preparation, it’s a good idea to run a competition or integrate a game into your exhibition stand to increase traffic and generate leads. A lot of exhibitors host competitions or giveaways to encourage people to leave their contact information.  Make sure the prize is worth it, like an iPad or one of your products.

Sourcing and ordering promotional products

An important part of your trade show plan is sourcing branded promotional items.  Everyone loves a freebie and having something to hand out will attract visitors to your trade show booth.  You don’t want to miss out on additional footfall by forgetting to source and order your promotional products and marketing literature.

Choosing the right product is important as delegates will usually take these freebies away with them. Items like pens, notebooks and desk calendars will help you to spread your branding beyond the exhibition hall.

Arranging meetings

Your trade show preparation begins way before the event does and if you’re missing this step then you’re already tarnishing your ROI. There is a high chance that there will be important, relevant professionals at your industry-specific event. You should plan meetings with them before you get there.

Planning meetings, either on your trade show booth or in the evening, is a good way to strengthen relationships with existing clients and close deals with new ones. It is more cost-effective for both parties to get together whilst in the same city so don’t waste this opportunity.

You won’t be the only business trying to book in a time with the top bosses, your competitors will be as well. Give yourself plenty of time to plan a meeting with your important clients.

Training your staff

Having the right staff on your exhibition stand is an important part of your trade show plan, but you can’t pin all of the responsibility on them. You are the one who has researched the shows and organised the exhibition stand. You must train your staff so that they know what to expect when they get there.

Ensure your trade show booth staff are confident talking about your business and your product, able to attract and qualify a lead quickly and comfortably using the lead capture system you are using. The rest should come naturally if you’ve got the right team.

To keep these guides short and easy to digest, we’ve broken the trade show planning stage down into two parts. There is a lot to do! Don’t panic, with these bitesize guides and this free planning template your next exhibition will be a huge success.

7 reasons to sell at a trade show

For help planning your next trade show call our experts on 01202 723 500, or email