Adapted from ShowBizExpo
1. Have a goal. Clearly define the objectives you hope to achieve. Write them down. It could be making contacts in the community (How many do you hope to make?), taking orders (Again, set a goal of how many orders you hope to get.), setting appointments, shaking hands or whatever works for you. Just make sure you have a goal or objective for the event. At the very least, challenge yourself to bring back x-number of business cards.
2. Work your location. Many exhibits are left empty for long periods of time. Have someone at your location at all times. Don't sit at your location – Stand and greet guests. Be approachable and friendly. Create a reason for people to visit your booth (e.g., free gifts, candy, or a flat screen running a short PowerPoint Loop).
3. Have plenty of business cards and your basic brochure or flyer with you at all times. Collect information from your visitors (email addresses, phone numbers, etc.)
4. Wear comfortable shoes and stand as much as you can. Rarely do people have much success sitting down while attendees (prospects) walk by. Be confident but not annoying.
5. Be happy! Nobody wants to talk to someone who looks intimidating, bored or unfriendly, so make sure you smile at everyone. Show that you are happy to be there and meet them.
6. Condense your message. You will not be able to go through your full sales presentation in the few seconds you will have to spend with attendees. Instead, have your summary down to just a few sentences or bullet points. Let them know in a nutshell what you do and most importantly how you can help them. Finally, tell them what to do next--call, visit your website, come by your store/office/practice, set an appointment, etc.
7. Acknowledge every visitor. Many times you will get a rush of visitors and it can get overwhelming to talk to everyone. Try your best not to exclude a visitor because you are already engaged in conversation with another visitor. Say "hello" to all your visitors, and let them know you will be with them directly, even if it means a brief interruption while you finish your conversation with other guest(s).
8. If traffic slows find someone to engage. Talk to the provider next to you or the next attendee coming down the aisle. Do not sit around looking uninterested. Do not check your cell phone messages or make calls or play games. Talk to somebody about your business.
9. Tie your exhibit display to what you do. The more visually you can demonstrate your business, the better. If you are giving away a fabulous prize related to your company, let your visitors know about it and how it relates to your services. You want to work to set yourself apart, so more people will remember their time with you.
10. Follow up. A trade show is only as good as the new business it generates. As you meet attendees or other prospects who give you their business cards or information, make notes on the back and then follow-up via email or call them if they have invited you to do so. If you do not follow-up, you may as well not attend any event. Appropriate follow-up is the top key to your ultimate success.