MEET helps international B2B companies gain traction and scale in the U.S. through trade shows, events, and strategic connections
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Trade Show Success Strategies that Deliver ROI

October 12, 2018

At MEET, our focus is helping B2B growth companies develop and execute the most effective trade show success strategies to amplify their ROI. Perhaps the most fundamental of these trade show success strategies is crafting the right offer for attracting quality prospects. In our webinar, Booth Bait: Are you Attracting Flies or Prospects, we uncover that 90-95% of exhibitors catch flies with their booth offers, meaning they tend to fail in this area. Sadly, this is their best leverage point.

Trade Show Success Strategies

The purpose of a trade show or general marketing activity is to make the best use of available resources to achieve one very specific goal—transactions. The purpose of the booth is simply to identify the prospects in the room by distinguishing them from the rest of the trade show attendees. To define a prospect is simple: they must have an expressed need, the resources to fulfill that need, and a strong degree of urgency. Or as we like to say: NEED, MONEY, NOW. Similar to fishing, attracting true prospects takes strategy, preparation, and excellent execution. Fortunately, once you’ve mastered it, your results change dramatically. Anyone can collect business cards, increased productivity comes from connecting to volumes of likely buyers.

Top 6 Challenges to Trade Show Success Strategies

Challenge #1: Prospects are not labeled—they all look the same on the trade show floor. Exhibitors need a way to easily separate them from the crowd.

Challenge #2: 50% of attendees are introverts—many do not interact or engage easily. Exhibitors need a way to get their attention in a non-coercive manner. The idea is to get them to opt-in, like a fish swims to bait.

Challenge #3: Exhibitors use the wrong bait—unless you are selling iPads, you have no reason to give one away. iPads or other generally attractive offers do not attract quality prospects that are aligned with your product or service.

Challenge #4: Booth clutter—exhibitors tend to load their booth with too much information and too many giveaways, making it difficult for salespeople determine who should stop.

Challenge #5: Salespeople operate the booth—placing sales people rather than transaction professionals in the booth may cost you valuable time that could be used more effectively elsewhere. (See our post on this topic: Looking to Maximize your Trade Show ROI: Start by Doing the Math.)

Challenge #6: The team is not well trained—it is critical that those who are staffing your booth and working the trade show are well-trained and focused on your objective.

Developing the right offer will ultimately solve each of these challenges by focusing your team, your booth and the trade show floor on what it is you came to achieve.

Why is this the case?

Prospects Opt-In

Similar to inbound marketing, the process through which online companies draw in customers by offering content in exchange for contact information, quality prospects should immediately opt-into a well-crafted offer. That’s because they recognize the connection between your offer and their urgent need and are willing to do what is necessary for that asset or resource. The key distinction is that prospects opt-in as opposed to being coerced to engage with your booth.

Trade Show Success Strategies

At MEET, we can’t help but rely on a good fishing analogy when talking about trade show success strategies. This one is the lobster trap. Lobsters are drawn into traps using a small piece of bait. Once they have entered the trap, they are drawn in further with more bait until they are caught. While no one is looking to trap their prospects, the analogy works in that you want prospects to see the bait, withdraw themselves from the sea of trade show attendees, and engage with your team for more information, i.e. more bait.

Every B2B company may describe their trade show success strategies somewhat differently. What unites them is a well-crafted offer that is designed to catch the right fish in each audience.


MEET ( helps B2B growth companies and pavilion hosts effectively leverage at 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 at MEET today for a free trade show participation assessment or +1 (860) 573-4821.