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Trade Show Displays Are Useless If You Don’t Ask Potential Leads The Right Questions

Beautiful trade show displays are the life-blood of most trade show venues. They fill the exhibit floor with intriguing, eye-catching exhibit areas that draw visitors in and encourage them to spend hours walking the venue floor learning what other companies can offer them after the show is over. But no matter how stunning the graphics are or how impressive trade show displays look, if your staff can’t follow through by firmly engaging potential leads, you’re wasting time and money. So before you send a team to the next big event, be sure they know which questions to ask in order to seal the deal with prospects.

Why Are You Here?

Some attendees are at the trade show for the same reason you are — to learn more about their competitors while pitching their products to other attendees. Others are looking for a solution to a problem, whether that solution is a new product, a more effective process or an alternative to their current suppliers. Determining why they’re really in your booth can help you weed out individuals who are probably wasting your time. Always be polite but ready to hand off nosy competitors or anyone who isn’t a solid lead to the next exhibitor. At the very least, make sure your staff can wrap up fruitless conversations quickly so that visitors don’t feel like you’re shutting them down. Remember, someone who’s simply looking today may be ready to buy next year.

What Is It You Need?

Another version of this question is simply, “What’s the Problem?” Some attendees will visit several trade show displays during the course of the day looking for a solution to their own company’s particular problem. Once you’ve discovered what their needs are (perhaps it’s a less expensive manufacturing process or a waterproof seal for their product), be sure you let them know how your company can meet those needs. Discuss options, including at least two alternatives so that they don’t feel boxed in. If they are actively pursuing an immediate solution, be sure you understand just what their needs are so that you can tailor a specific solution for them. If you can’t fill their needs, suggest a business partner or colleague who can and point them toward those trade show displays. Good will is a powerful tool; you’ll be remembered positively by both the attendee and the company you refer them to.

When Do You Need Your Trade Show Displays?

Nail down a time frame as soon as you can. Not everyone visiting trade show displays at your next event will want your product or service immediately. If they’re smart, they are planning ahead so that when the time comes, they’ll already have narrowed down their options to a few solid contenders. You want to be on that list! Make sure you know how soon and how quickly you can meet their needs before committing to a business relationship. Timing is everything in the majority of industries, so now is the time to find out when they need your product or service so that you don’t wind up apologizing down the line because you’re unavailable or unable to meet their timeframe.

What Are The Obstacles You’ve Been Facing?

This is a question that can bear lots of fruit when discussing the needs of a lead. When they begin telling you what obstacles they have to overcome, whether it’s cost of a product, lead time for inventory or unsuccessful past partnerships, you must be able to demonstrate how your company’s products or services can overcome those obstacles. Trade show displays that include live product demonstrations or videos can powerfully reinforce your message.

Unforgettable trade show displays are just the beginning when you’re looking for leads or new customers, asking the right questions can help you close the deal.

Tradetec Skyline ( offers unique trade show displays Chicago business owners can rely on year after year using a variety of materials and stylish configurations. Backed by the international Skyline name, they have launched over 24,000 successful exhibits for area businesses. Browse their extensive line-up of displays at

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