7 Last Minute Checks Before A Trade Show

Trade shows can have a huge impact on any size business. Over 80% of attendees have some sort of buying power so if planned correctly, companies can network with potential customers and even close deals on the spot. This is a chance for salespeople to take a break from the cold calling and emails and make a lasting impression in person.


Since trade shows can be costly, it’s important your business has planned well in advance with goal setting, booth design, premarketing, etc. To maximize your ROI, take a look at these last minute checks to ensure a successful show!


  1. Charge Everything

Laptops, phones, iPads, tablets, anything that needs to be charged, charge it. The last thing you want is to be showing a demo on your computer and it dies. Or capturing a lead on your iPad and “low battery” pops up and there’s still five hours left in the show. Since 24-hour battery life on most electronics isn’t a thing, it’d be wise to pack extra batteries and power cords as well. And if you’re not located next to an outlet or you’re not sure, bring extension cords.


  1.  Have A Backup Plan

Having a backup plan for everything that could go wrong will give you peace of mind and will also continue to maximize your ROI at the show. Here are a couple scenarios that can happen to anyone and how to plan ahead:

  • The booth was shipped well in advance but with holidays, extreme weather, or just incompetence, there’s no guarantee everything will arrive on time. Pack a company branded tablecloth and marketing materials in your suitcase just in case you arrive at an empty table.
  • The marketing team put together an amazing slideshow for a meeting you planned with some prospects but the trade show doesn’t have the proper cords to hook it up. Pack extra cords and also print out copies of the slideshow on some nice paper in case there are tech issues.

Even if you plan for the trade show a year in advance, things happen. So always plan for the worst and just pack extra of everything.


  1. Update Your Credit Card App

A lot of trade shows give exhibitors the ability to sell their merchandise to attendees. Whether it’s a B2B or B2C show, make sure you have the software to close the sale on the spot. There are several credit card apps you can download on a phone or tablet but you’ll want to check that it’s up to date. If it’s been a while since you’ve used the app, double-check it’s the most updated version. You don’t want a bunch of frustrated first-time customers who waited in line to buy a thermos, rod, or energy drink because the app needed a new update.


  1. Pack Snacks & Water

Rule number 1 in trade show etiquette is to always have someone at the booth. Most companies send at least two representatives to manage the booth but if you’re a small company, your partner planned a lunch meeting, or someone is sick, you might get stuck at the booth by yourself.  Instead of leaving your booth for an hour to grab something to eat, pack some granola bars, a sandwich, or some nuts to munch on. Bring a water bottle as well because networking will leave anyone parched. And lastly, pack mints. No one wants to smell onion breath. No one.


  1. Double-Check Your Lead Capture

The cost to convert a lead from a trade show is 38% less than a sales call so it’s vital to have some sort of lead capture. Collecting business cards is always a nice backup plan but fewer people carry them around these days. It also can be tedious manually inputting them into your CRM. Talk with your marketing team in advance about setting up a form on your website people can fill at your booth that automatically puts them in your CRM. Apps like Leadature, is another solution for capturing potential customers at the show. No matter what method you use to capture leads, double-check the day before and on the day of the show. If something goes wrong, see step 2.  


  1. Email Current Customers

The main goal of a trade show is to get new customers but this is also an opportunity to strengthen current relationships. A few days ahead of the show, email your current customer base and let them know you’ll be at the trade show. Delighting your existing customers with free passes, drink tickets, or some cool marketing swag can help with retention and future sales.


  1. Post On Social

Not only do you want current customers to know you’re at a trade show but fans on your social media want to as well. Within your fan base are tons of potential customers who might be attending the same show. Leading up to the event let them know your booth number with a tweet or Facebook post. You can even post your schedule on Facebook and ask fans to message you to set-up more meetings. While at the show, post a Facebook Live video of you giving a demo of a new product.


Trade shows are the perfect opportunity to have face-to-face interactions with future and current customers. It’s important to take full advantage of this opportunity and using these last-minute checks will help you leave a lasting impression. If your trade show is in the Denver area, check out our post on making the most of your trip!


Good luck out there, exhibitors!