Oh my goodness.  Having attended more than a few business expos as both delegate and exhibitor in our time, it should have been no surprise to see people still making time-honoured faux pas whilst at some of the more recent events we’ve otherwise been delighted to get along to.

Needless to say, the exhibitors we observed had no visitors at their stand as we passed by, and it was their demeanour that inspired us to write this post.  The upshot is, that when you find yourself next at a trade show or exhibition manning a stand on behalf of your business, put yourself in the position of the visitors and please DO NOT:

1. Bury your head in your phone/tablet/a good book

This clearly signals that you’re more interested in texting your mate to arrange your next night out, reading your email or finding out ‘whodunnit’ rather than speak to them, a real, live, human being.  There’s really nothing else for your potential client to do other than walk on by.

Come on folks, your customers should be the heart of your business, and this a chance to prove that  you’ll take a real interest in the challenges they face.  Put your phone on silent, tablets and books safely out of sight and focus on your visitor.

2. Sit down behind your table

Could you ever look more like you don’t want to put in the effort?  Especially if you’ve got your arms folded, or your slumped forward with your elbows on your knees and chin resting on your hands.  You may be pooped after an early start and a long day, but when those visitors come along you have to jump to it.  They want to see that you have the energy and verve to make a difference to them.  Step out in front of your table (if you have one) and make moves to greet people as they walk towards you.

3. Look uninterested

Yes, I saw you, standing in front of your banner (so I couldn’t see what your business was all about anyway), hands in your pockets and staring into the middle distance.  You didn’t see me coming and your eyes barely flickered as I wandered past without even stopping to pick up a leaflet.  What’s on your mind?  Are you thinking about what to make for tea tonight?  You really don’t want to talk to me, so I’m not interested in talking to you.  I don’t care what you could do for me.

4. Leave your stand unmanned

Whoops.  You’ll never know if your next big client stopped by, let alone if they picked up a leaflet to put amongst all their other randomly acquired leaflets.  You’ll be extremely lucky if they contact you – as you know, people buy from people and you didn’t get a chance to showcase ‘you’ because you weren’t there.  Seriously, you’ve left your business development to chance after investing all that time and effort in getting your stand together in time for the exhibition.

5. Ignore your visitors

Have you ever been ignored by someone trying to eat their lunch whilst hiding behind their pop-up banner, or someone ferociously scribbling notes, or gossiping with their colleagues?  You’ve demonstrated your wish to find out more by coming to their stand and they’re more interested in filling their bellies, trying to remember the previous visitors to the stand, or the latest office drama.  It’s blatantly ignorant and rude isn’t it?  So why should your potential customers want to work with you if you do the same?


What do you think?  Do you have any more trade show ‘dont’s?  We’d love to hear them so please do share them below.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for some trade show ‘dos’, contact us here at The Business Greenhouse and we’ll be happy to share our thoughts and how you can make it work for your business.

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