How To Make The Most Of A Trade Stand


If you’ve ever attended a Trade Show you will have seen exhibition stands from the most amazing, to the very drab and ordinary. You want to be memorable.

If you are about to embark on creating your very first Trade Stand, and don’t have an unlimited budget, there are some ways you can maximise even a small stand to bring in new business.

Step 1: Find out all you can about the trade show you are planning to exhibit at. They will have web details of previous shows and this will give you an opportunity to look at previous stands – don’t be put off by the big expensive ones, look around until you find stands that better match your budget.

Step 2: Find out the exact size of the stand you are paying for and in particular if there is wall space behind your stand. Find out also the gap between stands – if you have banners you will need space for those.

Step 3. Find out what comes with your booking; is power is included in your booking fee; do they provide a table covering or is that your care.

Step 4. Be sure to make your display stand out. There is an art to this – you want enough on the stand to entice people to visit, but not too much ‘stuff’ so people can’t see the wood for the trees. Remember also that you have the ‘height’ of the stand, so layering information at different heights can be attractive. Make the best use of your table – you have paid for it

Step 5. Make sure everything on your stand matches your brand – colour – style etc.

Step 6. Make use of the wall at the back of your stand. If you are able to use video then this is the ideal space. Be creative. If you don’t plan to use video, then include pictures, your logo, your strap line.  If you don’t have wall space, then use a free standing banner

Step 7. Have flyers or business cards so people take your information away with them – but make sure your business card isn’t boring…try stapling your card to a flyer with an offer that way neither will get thrown away

Step 8. HAVE A BOWL OR BASKET TO COLLECT THEIR BUSINESS CARDS – people will happily give you a card if they know they are going into a draw for a free ‘something’. These cards are your opportunity to ‘call back’ – to build your database. This is the reason you are investing in a stand in the first place  

Step 9. Have plenty of give aways – preferably with your logo on them. People love pens, chocolate, jelly beans, balloons etc. Once again – get creative. And make sure you have a plentiful supply of your giveaway!

Step 10. Promote, promote, promote – on social media, in the local press, wherever – let people you want to do business with in that particular area, know you are going to be there. Don’t just rely on the stand to bring in bucket loads of business – be proactive

Some Basic Protocols

Before the event - Arrive well in advance of the exhibition start time to set up your stand, but also to make the most of that networking opportunity

During the event – make sure you have a helper – that way you can take toilet breaks and food breaks, but it means your stand is looked after at all times

Leave your stand intact until after the exhibition/sessions finish – once again – it gives you even more time to network right up until that closing moment. But also it is incredibly impolite to start breaking down your stand before the official closing time – not a good look for you or the exhibition.

Don’t underestimate the power of business that a trade stand can bring you. You can probably gain as much value from a half day/full day or even 2 day exhibition than you can with your full year’s marketing budget.

Ann Andrews CSP

MD Big Thinking Business Forums


Ann Andrews CSP specialises in working with high performing teams and showing managers how to deal with poor performance.

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