Achieving Trade Show Success in Ways You Never Expected


As 2019 comes to a close, many CEOs of scaling ventures are taking stock of the year’s marketing investments. They’re looking at their budgets and sales pipelines, and asking the ultimate question: what was our ROI?

Trade show successThis time of year is not only about reflecting back—it’s about projecting forward. Setting goals and benchmarks, and determining new definitions of success based on well-situated growth strategies.

At MEET, we help international B2B growth companies soft-land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and in-person events. We believe these opportunities are crucial to most any B2B marketing and sales strategy and work in every way possible to guarantee trade show success for our clients.

With 75+ years of experience, we feel confident in our assessment that approximately 90% of trade show exhibitors fail to maximize ROI. There are a number of reasons why this is the case and while some are more obvious, others may come as a surprise.

Here are three ways of guaranteeing trade show success in 2020 that you may never have expected.

Engage the minority

The primary purpose of trade shows is to connect with and enroll volumes of high-quality prospects. Whether there are 1,000, 10,000 or 100,000 attendees at an event, your goal is not to engage as many of them as possible.

Your goal is to engage the minority who are actually prospects.

Many companies either miss or fail to identify their target prospect persona before participating in an event. As a result, they cast an overly wide marketing net and waste time and money engaging people who are not viable prospects.

There are three qualities that we have found best define a prospect for any company:
1. They have a NEED for your solution
2. They have MONEY or the resources to satisfy that need
3. They are URGENT

We call it NEED, MONEY, NOW. If a company presents only two of these qualities, they are not a prospect. At least, not today.

The percentage of attendees who meet all three criteria may be less than 1%. This is ideal as it helps focus your energies on the highest potential opportunities as opposed to clogging up your funnel with “suspects” that will never close. Therefore, your first step to achieving trade show success is to develop a marketing strategy to engage the minority of trade show attendees who are true prospects.

Don’t even try to make B2B sales from inside the booth

At MEET, we work closely with our clients on booth strategy and have written a number of posts on our staffing philosophy. 

We firmly believe that the best role for salespeople at a trade show is in pre-set 1-on-1 meetings with prospects who are already in the sales funnel, customers, partners, and centers of influence. In essence, salespeople should not expect to make sales from inside the booth. As such, they shouldn’t be inside the booth at all.

In the booth, you want transaction experts—those capable of delivering your offer to qualified prospects within 1-2 minutes. A well-crafted offer will ensure that the stacks of business cards your team collects by the end of the event are those who have a need, the money to satisfy that need, and urgency for a solution.

Events are not only about you

While enrolling high-quality prospects remains your number one goal, trade shows and in-person events have other valuable assets besides filling your pipeline.

trade show successWe encourage all our clients to use trade shows and in-person events for competitive intelligence. In addition to doing competitive research prior to the event, it’s important to leverage the full scope of learning opportunities.

For example:

  • Make sure your sales team has time to walk the floor, observe and even engage with competitors
  • Make time in their schedules for event content and hospitality, underscoring the importance of noting who is in the room and what is being said.

The factors that contribute to trade show success are no mystery. That said, some of the best techniques could come as a surprise.

For more on how to ensure trade show success in 2020, check out our recent webinar on this topic. To check out all of MEET’s webinar content on how to successfully scale your company in the U.S. market, subscribe to our YouTube Channel.


MEET ( helps international B2B growth companies soft-land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and in-person events. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp-up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward.  Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: or +1 (860) 573-4821.

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