Trade shows present sales teams with the immense opportunity to meet and connect with their ideal client. These shows can happen across the country, and corporations can have a blueprint that they can copy and paste to ensure consistency.

Trade shows are used to connect with customers and display the key products of the product line. These shows will allow your sales team to showcase all the high-selling products or services and why they are so popular. Consistency and preparation are key in these shows. Knowing the objective and plan to succeed, will lead your sales team and trade show to bigger and better heights. 

Most trade shows fail months before the show starts due to bad and unproductive planning. Companies need to set their objectives, create the ideal booth, and present sales teams with the correct material to ensure that these trade shows run smoothly. 

What Do You Need For A Trade Show Booth?

There are a few important must-haves that any trade show booth must use to ensure a successful show. The sales team can use foam boards, big banners, and describing posters to establish their brand among other booths.

Banners and foam boards 

Banners and foam boards must have the company name and colors on them. This will show future clients exactly where to find the business or products when they need it 

Branded clothing

Branded clothing can increase the interaction between the sales teams and potential clients. Customers can spot the unit anywhere in the conference, which could lead to interaction solely based on the branded clothing. 

Pamphlets and business cards 

Pamphlets and business cards are an economical way to leave customers with details of the business. Customers can come across a problem that the business can solve, of and these clients already have the contact details and pamphlets to show how the company can help

Sales team

A trade show booth is where potential clients roam. Companies can use this to their advantage by placing a strong sales team in front of their potential buyers. This team must be able to provide accurate information with a confident and intriguing style. They must be friendly, ready to interact, and have all the knowledge to share with future clients. 

How Do You Plan A Trade Show?

There are multiple ways of planning a successful trade show. The big leap starts with identifying the objective and using the time to arrange all that is needed for these shows. Circa provides companies with an essential seven-step plan, on specifics to focus on.

Trade show planning starts with identifying potential trade shows that are in line with your business model and goals. Attend only the trade show that will give you the competitors advantage over your competition, or shows that give you direct access to your customers. 

Setting an objective and goal for the event is one of the best ways to ensure a successful event. Companies can see where they went wrong if the goals were not reached. These objectives provide a clear framework for the sales team to follow. 

Companies can use their different platforms to ensure that prospects know where to find them. Provide the exact location to prevent clients from wandering around. Trade show booths also need to place their booth in a high-traffic zone at the conference. This will allow a lot of foot traffic and potential clients as more customers see the products and services. 

Planning and preparing the sales pitch that the team will provide to the customers is another action-planning step to set the corporation one step ahead of the competition. Provide clear guidelines and scripts that will secure consistency on the sales team.

Understanding Your Trade Show Goals & Objectives

Setting goals and objectives for meeting to provide guidelines and checkpoints to measure the success of the trade show booth is an essential part that corporations and sales teams fail to accomplish. 

What Is The Primary Goal Of Your Trade Show Booth?

The primary goal for any business trade show booth is to grow the business. There are different ways of reaching that goal and announcing it to the team will be of utmost benefit to them. The sales team can focus solely on reaching the primary object, which will lead to a growing business. 

Common objectives such as launching a product through the stand, or entering a new market are handy to know when setting up a booth. Other objectives such as generating leads and building brand awareness, will need a different approach from the marketing team and layout of the booth.

Companies can find benefit in using objectives to allow them to measure the success of their booth. Future operations and booth setups can be changed once the feedback on their booth is taken into consideration. 

Have A Budget Breakdown

Creating a budget for the trade show will provide financial support to any booth. Following the budget are mostly where sales teams fail. LuckyBreak breaks down the budget into six categories.

The highest cost will be the physical location and space at the trade show. Here corporations pay for a space to place a booth. Usually, 35% of the budget.

The second highest cost will be traveling fees to and from the trade show. These travel fees include the sales team’s accommodation and the shipment of every part of the booth that needs to be set up. 20% of the budget is allocated to travel fees. 

Building and creating a booth will cost around 15% of the complete budget while printing documents and flyers only accumulates to 10% of the budget. This includes any documents such as permits, flyers, business cards, and pamphlets that will be shared with potential customers. 

Most corporations only focus on the expenses of the physical booth. Other expenses such as marketing can rack up and add as much as 10% of the complete budget. Thus setting out approximately 10% will assure the team stays within the full budget.

Service fees of 10 present will be the lowest cost for the budget. This will cover all the small bits and pieces such as wifi setup, clean up, and buying utensils for the booth. 

Design Your Exhibits

Companies can use different styles or layouts to bring their exhibit to life. By creating a simple yet interactive booth, potential clients can find their way to staff members and information. 

Sales teams can use bright lights and an open plan to ensure that the booth is not cluttered with unnecessary products or information. The booth must be a direct representation of the company. 

Setting up a booth with graphics and marketing information that continually changes can ensure that important information can be received by the client. This will allow clients to see the products without having to wait for a sales member that is busy with other clients. 

Storage space can cause a cluttered trade show. Ensure that the booth has enough storage space. 

Select Appropriate Staff & Provide 

Selecting a strong and confident team is crucial to the success of any trade show. All the members must know the company’s values and objectives. These members will be the first contact between the company and potential new customers. 

The sales members will share their knowledge of the products and services straight to the consumer. These members must be accurate with the information they share and must be inviting, friendly, and accommodating to a variety of customers. 

Check Out 10 Things to Consider When Organizing a Trade Show or Expo:

How Do You Organize A Trade Show Checklist?

The focus of the trade show planning checklist is to identify the object and arrange the booth and how to accomplish it. Stating what the company wants to achieve will be of high priority, with budget and planning in strong second place. 

Other tasks on the checklist will be deciding on a marketing strategy, educating and preparing all sales members, and creating a booth that will draw customers. Last on the checklist will be cleaning the trade show and following up on leads, which can be used to calculate the success of the trade show.

12 Months Before The Trade Show

Companies will start the planning by setting an objective and choosing a location for a trade show. After deciding on a location, the budget will be drawn up, and the company will work on bringing its ideas to life.

9-11 Months Before The Trade Show

Within this time, the corporation will reserve and pay for the trade show. This time will also be used to finalize the booth ideas and goals. Setting up a pre-show marketing plan will be done here. 

 6-9 Months Before The Trade Show

Determine the advertising strategy. Informing customers of the trade show and the location of the booth is of utmost importance. This time will be effectively used to advertise and plan the goals and teams of the trade show. 

3-6 Months Before The Trade Show

This time can best be utilized through planning traveling costs and booking accommodation for the sales team. Choosing a strong team and providing them with the correct information ensures that they have enough time to prepare for the trade show. 

1-3 Months Before The Trade Show

Schedule face-to-face meetings with all sales members of the show and ensure they know the goals and have the product knowledge needed to sell it at a trade show booth. Confirm all bookings to secure the staff have accommodation for the show. Finish building and organizing the booth.

1 Week Before The Trade Show

Last-minute meetings and preparation will happen at this time. Traveling to the trade show and setting up the booth to ensure everything is ready for the show. Testing all equipment and working on the display to ensure the layout is as planned. 

The Show

Interact with as many clients as possible and obtain leads to provide to the company. This time will be used to work on obtaining the goals set by management. 

Days After The Trade Show

Follow up on all the leads that were gathered. Measure the results and the goals set out. Observe the budget and focus on how any forthcoming trade shows can be improved. 

Trade Show Checklist Template

Having a checklist will ensure that all the goals, tasks, and objectives are reached. The structure has a set checklist that will allow the trade show planning team to lay out all tasks that the team can follow.

This trade show planning checklist is set up according to time. It allows the corporation to assess the tasks that correspond to time. From 12 months all the way through to tasks that are set for the period after the show. 

How Long Does It Take To Plan A Trade Show? 

Taking the time to create objectives and goals that are in line with the company’s goals and values can take time. Thus planning and creating a booth for a trade show can take up to 9 months. Moreover, companies can use a 12-month template to ensure that they are ready and prepared.

How Can Conference Sources Help You Plan?

Conference Source can assist the team by providing clear and measurable goals. This will enable the team to set up tasks to ensure they achieve the set goals. Companies need to provide a clear budget and guidelines. Assisting the team with this will enable them to choose and create a booth that is within budget and that the trade show planning leads to success.

Trade Show Planning: FAQs

What Type Of Marketing Takes Place At Trade Shows?

Direct promotion takes place at a trade show. This refers to a promotion that occurs between two individuals.

How To Plan a Booth at a Tradeshow?

Planning starts with creating clear objectives and goals. Setting a checklist that follows a step-by-step process will allow the team to follow and review where they currently reside.

How to Set Up a Booth at a Trade Show? 

The booth must be set up in an interactive manner. Clients must be able to obtain the necessary information that they need. The booth represents the corporation and using company colors can ensure that customers connect the booth to the company. 

Trade Show Planning: Final Thoughts

Planning and creating a trade show can take time. Applying a checklist, clear objectives and goals, and a passionate team will make this time enjoyable. Companies can benefit from a well-planned and successful booth. 

Sabine Ghali

Kelly Murphy


Certified Meeting planner with 20+ years of event management experience, founder of ConferenceSource, expert in meeting facility sourcing & contracting in North America, Europe, South America and Asia. Kelly will manage your budget as if they were her own, negotiating the best possible rate and hotel contract to benefit and protect every client and exceed all expectations for all planning aspects for sales meetings, educational meetings, product launches, incentive trips down to a small board of directors meeting. We make meetings easy understanding your meeting objectives and delivering meeting matched components.