Profitable Exhibitors = Successful Shows

Written by Susan Ratliff on May 1st, 2013. Posted in exhibitor training

Every company that exhibits in tradeshows should provide some pre-show training to exhibitors.  In addition, when a show producer or event manager provides exhibitor training on goal setting, effective display design, sales strategies, promotions and follow up, exhibitors will be much more productive at the show.   A trained exhibit staff will collect 20% more leads than a company with no training. Believe me, I know from experience that it is rare to find an exhibitor that has ever had a comprehensive course on how to create a great exhibit or work the show. Most companies have never provided exhibitor training and veteran exhibitors who think they have so much experience, actually have been making the same mistakes for years.  Show producers would benefit greatly by offering training to exhibitors in their shows.  An effective training seminar will foster their loyalty, add value to your booth package, reduce turn-over, improve professionalism on the show floor and give your event a competitive edge.  Providing education about networking, effective promotions and marketing strategies will generate free publicity, drive traffic to the show and improve sponsorship sales.  When you give exhibitors relevant tools and training to maximize returns on their investment you will be remembered as the show producer that does more than just sell booth space.  In addition, studies show that meeting an exhibit marketing expert in person, getting questions answered on the spot, seeing real-world examples in action and learning it all from someone other than you or your staff will produce the best results. 

Here’s a start:  The Exhibit Experts Top Ten Tips for a Terrific Show

Plan ahead:

Begin preparations for each event well in advance. Order show services and schedule shipping early. Evaluate display properties for damage.  Attention to details will eliminate headaches and save you time and money

Set Objectives:

Know what you want to accomplish at the show. Create a list of goals with the staff.  Make expectations clear.  Reward exceptional productivity.

Design A Dynamic Display:

Image is everything.  You have only seconds to attract attention. Receive maximum visibility with a coordinated theme and interesting merchandising methods.

Reinforce your marketing message:

Sell benefits! Use large pictures, vibrant colors and minimal text to promote solutions and results. 

Project a positive image:

First impressions are critical. Every display element of your display must reflect your company’s professionalism, personality, integrity and style.

Train you staff

80% of attendees base their opinion of your company on the actions of the employees at your booth.  Prepare your people. 

Develop a sales strategy

Script a presentation that engages, excites, educates and encourages a desired action fom attendees.  Require the staff to follow it as a guide.

Follow-up effectively

Contact all leads within one week. Phone, fax, email or mail information that solicits an appointment, interview or sale. Include a deadline for reply.

Exude Enthusiasm

Nothing makes a more memorable impression than happy, smiling employees eager to assist inquisitive prospects.

Factor in some fun

Loosen up. Don’t be to conservative. Show attendees want to be entertained as well as informed.  Successful exhibitors combine the two.


Top Twelve Clues Your Tradeshow Team Needs Training

Written by Susan Ratliff on March 20th, 2013. Posted in exhibitor training

I got inspiration for this post after walking through several exhibit halls at the conferences I have been speaking at recently and of course, from David Letterman’s top ten list. These issues have a way of really messing up a perfectly great display and making your booth staff and your company look unprofessional. I’m here to offer advice if you need some work in these areas.


The plans for assembling the display were not in the crate so the I&D crew set up the booth backwards


It takes the average attendee 22.6 seconds to figure out what your company does


The booth decor includes an assortment of half empty cardboard boxes


Cleavage appears to be part of the dress code 


An entire 20’ exhibit is stuffed into a 10×10 booth space 


Three chairs are blocking the view of that brand new $5000 graphic mural 


Three guys in suits are sitting in those chairs talking to each other 


A bowl filled with kit-kats and snickers is the preferred method of customer engagement 


The front counter doubles as a dinner table 


A magnifying glass is required to read the long list of features under the mission statement on the banner stand 


A badge-swipe has replaced the need to ask qualifying questions 


The decorator’s ugly cardboard I.D. sign is still hanging from the rear drape 



Exhibitor training works

Written by Susan Ratliff on January 25th, 2013. Posted in exhibitor training

I have so much fun traveling to different cities teaching tradeshow and consumer show exhibitors how to turn a booth into a powerful profit center.  I especially enjoy talking with home show exhibitors and recently gave seminars in Orlando and Jacksonville Florida for Marketplace Events.  Their event management team impressed me with their show statistics and their sincere desire to give their exhibitors all the tools they need to succeed. Smart show producers understand that increasing the profits and elevating the professionalism of their exhibitors not only benefits the exhibiting company, but also improves the attendee experience.  When they asked exhibitors in Orlando  why they signed up to be in their show, 88% said there number one reason to exhibit was so they could collect leads.  Ironically  only a small percentage of  those exhibitors actually collected leads.  Nationally, according to CEIR (Center for Exhibition Industry Reseach), 74% of exhibitors collect leads, but only 85% of those leads are ever followed up. Some training would help eliminate that mistake.  I find it interesting  that when I ask my seminar attendees if they have ever had any formal tradeshow training from an exhibit marketing expert rarely do I find anyone who has. Show producers, I’m available.  So are 7-10 other fantastic speakers who can give your exhibitors strategies to work the show like a pro.  Remember that happy exhibitors = successful shows.

Ten ways to tell if your exhibitors need training

Written by Susan Ratliff on April 22nd, 2009. Posted in exhibitor training

Are you a show producer or meeting professional in charge of organizing a tradeshow as part of your convention or sales meeting?  You might be frustrated by some of the common errors exhibitor make on the show floor.  In addition their mistakes can have a detrimental effect on the image of your event.  Below are a few red flags that indicate your tradeshow exhibitors need training.  Some solutions follow



·        The staff sits down in the booth during the show.


·        More that three people are working at the same time in a 10’ x 10’ booth.


·        No one is qualifying prospects or capturing contact information.


·        Each sales person is using a different sales pitch.


·        The display is poorly designed and unprofessional looking.


·        It takes more than three seconds to figure out who the exhibiting company is and what they do.


·        Display signage and graphics are too wordy, too small or too cheap.


·        The booth appears cluttered, crowded or poorly merchandized.


·        There are no lights illuminating the exhibit, products or graphics.


·        Exhiibitors complain to management about their results.





·        Use in-house staff to train your exhibitors on exhibit marketing techniques.


·        Hire a trainer to take the burden off your staff and add value to your event.  A third party trainer gives your program more credibility.  Hearing instructions from an outside source gives the lessons more validity.


·        Give exhibitors an actual book or list of books that will teach them how to exhibit better.


·        Provide training tools and tip sheets on your website or in email communications.


·        Hire a speaker to present a tele-seminar before the event.     Susan @Susan Ratliff      602-437-3634