How to Make Money and Earn from your Exhibition Stand at Tradeshows

How to make your Exhibition Stand Work for You

Whether you have a pop up displays stand, roller banner stands or the most expensive bespoke stand, what matters is that you and your company earn from your exhibition stand at trade shows. Too often, first-time exhibitors are unprepared for the hard work of making a success of an exhibition stand, they arrive with their shiny new display and set their wares out in front of the world and wait for business to happen. Well it won't! You have to MAKE IT HAPPEN! Planning is vital, not only planning which Exhibition is right for your company to exhibit at, but also the theme of your stand, training staff, give-aways and the most vital of all, your method of data capture so you can maximise the potential from every lead you collect. Exhibiting at Trade Shows is not an exact science, there are too many variables, but if you practise the art of exhibiting, you will succeed and your company will make a good profit on the investment involved in having an exhibition presence whether you have inexpensive X banner stands or have spent thousands of dollars on your trade show displays.

To Exhibit - or not to Exhibit? That is the question!

Whether you are involved in Sales and Marketing in a small or large Company, whether your Company is just getting off the ground or is a long-established one, the question as to whether taking an Exhibition Stand at one of the Trade Exhibitions in your industry sector is one that needs a great deal of careful thought - especially in these times when it is vital to make the most of every penny in the budget.

Whether or not Exhibiting at Trade shows should form a main plank of your marketing plan must surely lie in what you are trying to achieve and also, the expectation of the market sector. Even these two reasons may be at loggerheads. For example, a car manufacturer such as Ford is expected to be at the Motor Show but their achievement may be limited to meeting the expectations of the Public without necessarily hitting their sales targets. A direct mail campaign with free test drives and possibilities of winning a car might well be a far better value for money option. On the other hand, a company in a business to business environment, such as a company specializing in antique pub fittings may well find a greater appreciation of its product and a far more rapidly building database (and subsequent sales) from displaying at Exhibitions.

Over a career in sales and marketing spanning many years, a former boss of mine told me that he had seen the most elaborate and expensive stands, with poorly trained staff, destined to produce very poor results. On the other hand, he had seen “home-made‟ stands with innovative methods of attracting people and recording their details which will have produced outstanding results for the companies in question.

He also reported that he has seen some stands with their frontages blocked and others so open that one has difficulty in understanding what their product is. He has seen people standing with hands in their pockets, arms folded, smoking, drinking, eating, lounging and stands manned by salesmen with no means whatsoever of attracting visitors or recording their details and others who look as though they are suffering from a hangover. Directors of these companies are likely to be the same ones who tell you the following year that they are not bothering with an Exhibition Stand or Exhibiting at Trade Shows this year, they were a ‘dead loss’, ‘we never made anything out of them’, ‘total waste of money’.

Planning and running a successful exhibition stand is not about having a large or expensive stand, but is about happy, well trained staff with the tools to carry out their job and who will have fun whilst they are doing it.

Here are some top tips for making your next trade show stand a big success!

Top Tips.

1. Choose your Exhibition carefully. Get a list of category of visitors and numbers from last year's show from the organisers - see how closely this list matches your target market. Have a look at last year's Exhibitors from companies in your sector - see if they are Exhibiting again this year - if not, why not?

2. Don't choose a stand right by the entrance, this sounds a good place to be but visitors are just getting in, putting their tickets and so on back in their bags and generally need to refocus their eyes and settle into the Exhibition.

3. The majority of visitors turn left when entering an Exhibition, try to choose a stand in that area if it is a small Exhibition.

4. Don't blame the show organiser for poor traffic to your stand, publicise it beforehand to your customers, your prospects, advertise on your website, in trade press and so on that you will be at the show, which stand you will be on, what your special offer will be on the day - bait the hook!

5. Have a clear theme for your stand, try to introduce an element of fun. I helped organise the trade stand for many years for the company I worked for (a laundry company). We had an amazing man called Luigi Spotorno to do Napkin Folding Demonstrations - he would turn up in frock coat, red sparkly waistcoat, bow tie and a top hat - he was an amazing crowd puller (please see my napkin folding hub for Luigi in action!).

6. Train your stand staff. Most important and fundamental to the success of your stand. Make sure that they understand the golden rule that the person in front of them at any one time on the stand is the most important person in the world. Never mind if he only has a small amount to spend with you, don't let them be looking over his shoulder for a better prospect whilst talking to him - you will end up with nothing!

7. Gather information about your visitors. Whatever method you use, don't waste the information gathered, act on it immediately with staff back at the office to do mail-outs, phoning and so on, the day after that person has visited your stand. Have a concerted effort after the show to gain business.

8. Look after your customers. Treat customers visiting your stand with as much, if not more, interest and courtesy than you are giving to your prospects. Talk to them about their business, new products. If they voice a problem get your Customer Service staff back at the Office to make sorting this out a priority!

Want To Find Out More About How To Earn From Your Exhibition Stand?

Find out more about the different types of Pop up Displays available

Pop up Displays are the most cost efficient, practical and portable way for any company new to exhibiting to get a stunning exhibition stand that can easily be updated by means of changing graphic panels as required. You can use pop up stands as an addition to your existing stand to utilise every square inch of exhbition or trade show space available to you. In this case you can use Pop up Displays to promote a show offer, new product or service or perhaps a competition or attraction on your stand in order to draw in more visitors.

My site Pop Up Displays Guide will help you find all the information you need - use the link at the beginning of this article to visit the homepage, or the link above to visit the pop up stands page.

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I would love to receive your comments, tips, hints and suggestions, please leave a comment below.

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Comments 37 comments

Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 3 years ago from UK Author

avee-angel18, thanks so much for your comment, I am glad you found my trade stand tips hub useful.

avee-angel18 profile image

avee-angel18 3 years ago

Hey..thanx...all the tips are great, especially 2nd and 6th one. Stand at the entrance might not attract visitors. Event i don't stop by at the entrance. We love digging in..right? And yes, trained staff is what you need at the exhibition. Thanx a lot for sharing.. :)

Rocketsigns 5 years ago

Pull up banners or roller banners as they are sometimes called are an ever popular choice for those needing a lightweght and very portable display solution.

Clyde Ferrell 5 years ago

You write with verve and panash. Please keep up the good work!

Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Kellie, I took a look at your site, the amethyst necklace is beautiful - if you are trying to decide whether a trade show is right for your business at this point or which trade show would be right for you, take a look at this article I wrote which has links to helpful, free, online resources to help you - good luck with your jewelry business, you are very talented.

Kellie 5 years ago

I have a website/blog with a product that I make.

Does It make sense that I could possibly benefit from a trade show event

Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi hartabbie - This figure is taken from Ken Wheeler's excellent trade show manual "Making Exhibitions Work For You" which can be purchased from his website - please also see this post - there are numerous other references online and on individual trade show sites.

The left turn behaviour seems to be prevalent in countries where vehicles drive on the left and right turn behaviour in countries where the opposite applies.

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hartabbie 5 years ago


Any idea where i can find an evidence source to back up Alison's comment 'the figure turning left in UK is about 90%' - re entering an exhibition?


Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi JR, I took a look at the pictures, your stand looks good and glad to hear the show was a great success for you - would you be interested in writing a post for my trade show site about your first time trade show experiences, what you learned, what you would do differently,etc? Will add pictures and provide links back to your site or wherever you wish. Contact me via hubpages if you would like to do this - great to hear from you, can't believe it is six months ago you left your original comment!

JR 5 years ago

Hi Alison,

the Destinations Holiday and Travel show turned out to be a great success for us. Some pictures of our stand on

We did learn a lot during the show about all sorts of things like goodies, email lists and the power of making people guess as towards what exactly you're about. We couldn't fit our full message on the name sign and thus it read: 'LEO - Volunteer travel abroad'. This with the effect that people that may have been looking to travel as a volunteer to Africa ended up wanting to go to the only destinations we do right now: Sri Lanka :).

Again thank you for the hub, it's been very helpful!

Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 6 years ago from UK Author

Thanks SmashHitDisplays, yes you are absolutely right about the pre show effort and even more so about the follow-ups - why put all that effort and resources into the show and then not bother to deal with leads effectively? - Madness!

SmashHitDisplays profile image

SmashHitDisplays 6 years ago

Great tips! Following up is so important to do after the event, but is often overlooked. I also think pre-show advertising is a must to increase traffic to your booth.

Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 6 years ago from UK Author

Thanks JR, great website by the way - good luck with the February Travel Show and if you need more information about planning an exhibition stand, go here

JR 6 years ago

Interesting point about people turning left or right when entering an exhibition. I am certain that in main land Europe people would turn right.

Anyway, thank you for this hub. We will be participating for the first time at a travel show in February and need to learn all we can to be 110% successful!

Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 6 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Debbie, I really value your comment - you are right though, so many people seem to think that going to a good trade show with a great stand will be enough to get lots of new business!

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DebbieRosher 6 years ago

This is a really good hub with some excellent tips. I have worked on many exhibition stands over the years and you have to work so hard to make sure you get value for money and return on investment. Worthwhile when done correctly though!

Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 6 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Brian, yes I agree. When I was involved in running our company trade show stand, we used to invite members of staff from all areas of the business, production, admin, sales, customer service and so on. Everyone really enjoyed meeting the customers face to face and engaging with potential customers.

brianbel profile image

brianbel 6 years ago

Wow, great article. Trade shows not only boost sales and get you company exposure, they are also a great way to get feedback on your products and services from onlookers and people you talk to. Trade shows are extremely fun and a great way to boost employee morale.

Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 6 years ago from UK Author

Thank you very much Pamela, I am very pleased to have been nominated.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Very good article. Congratulations on your nomination to Hubnuggets.

Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 6 years ago from UK Author

Thanks gregory hub, hope you will send them a link!

gregory hub profile image

gregory hub 6 years ago

Good job, I have some friends that run booths at anime conventions

Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 6 years ago from UK Author

Hi Steve, thanks so much and thanks for the information sent via email. I hope we can help each other!

Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 6 years ago from UK Author

Hi, thanks so much for voting for me. I have been emailing all my family and driving them mad!

steve weaver 6 years ago

I voted for this entry & hope I can be of service to YOU. I assemble exhibits for trade shows & conventions in the US (Orlando, Fl.). You might find this interesting; I've written an article but since it would promote another site, I'll be sending you the link via an email.

Feel free to contact me if I can provide any help & also to use any or all of that article with or without crediting me as the author.

Spacey Gracey profile image

Spacey Gracey 6 years ago from Essex, UK

Congratulations Alison - I've voted for your hub.

Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 6 years ago from UK Author

Thank you for the vote billyaustindillon and for the congratulations. As to the winning, I am just so pleased to have been nominated but, you never know!!!

Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 6 years ago from UK Author

Thanks for providing the link for Hubnuggets voting Ripplemaker, I am so proud that this hub has been nominated. I didn't know I could also vote but I will promote my hub. My family will be fed up with me by Wednesday!

billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

Great Hub - and congratulations on your hubnuggets nomination, have voted and looking forward to hearing you won :)

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Very informative hub! I'll keep this tips in mind.

Congratulations to your Hubnugget Nomination. Do check it out by clicking on this link: Be sure to vote and promote your hub.

Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 6 years ago from UK Author

Hi Rochelle, thank you for your comment, that is a really interesting point and I shall try to find out whether in the US the majority of people do turn right. It is not something I had considered but certainly the figure turning left in UK is about 90% so if this trend is reversed in US, it would be well worth knowing for US Exhibitors.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

Interesting that people go to the left. I think that may be the opposite in the US. Of course we drive on the other side, as well.

Come to think of it, that might be the reason. If people are coming and going through the same doorway, they tend to follow a familiar traffic pattern.

solar.power profile image

solar.power 6 years ago from Brisbane

Thanks Alison. I appreciate your feedback

Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 6 years ago from UK Author

Thank you for your comment. How did your stand go last year? I know how difficult it can be too! Have worked on exhibition stands many times, it can be great and very rewarding but it makes your feet ache like anything!

solar.power profile image

solar.power 6 years ago from Brisbane

This is the first article I have found on this topic. Some really good stuff here. We had a stand last year and can appreciate how difficult it can be!

Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 6 years ago from UK Author

Thank you for your comment, I agree, it is amazing how many people make that mistake when exhibiting! They get back tired and don't follow up for days, if at all and then wonder why the prospective customer has already signed up elsewhere! - You have a very interesting web site by the way!

Kayla Moosik 6 years ago

I think your best bullet point is number 7. Too many people network and make contacts but only a small percentage actually follow up!

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