Spend enough time on trade show floors and you start to see the same mistakes made by companies over and over again.

Over at Trade Show News Network, SocialPoint founder Samuel J. Smith put together a smart list of some of the greatest hits — and by hits, we mean really stupid mistakes. Here’s what he had to say:

1. Booth staffers looking at smartphones

2. Talking with other booth staffers while attendees walk by the booth — or worse, while attendees stand in your booth

3. Letting messy clutter and trash accumulate in the booth

4. Offering crappy giveaways

5. Spending too much time on one visitor

6. Scanning badges and calling them leads

7. Taking too long of a break — or none at all

8. Being overly aggressive with attendees in the aisle

9. Bringing the wrong booth staffer

10. Missing lead follow up

While we agree with every one of these mistakes — hell, we’ve seen companies make each of them at some point — there are four that are outright indefensible in our eyes. 

steelhead_icon_inspect-self-reflection-examine-person-1Bringing The Wrong Booth Staffer

A large portion of the success of your company’s trade show program depends largely, if not completely, on your preparation for the event.

Not only should your booth staffers know the flow of your exhibit and be ready to provide demos, but it is critical that your entire team is in tune with the overall objective of even being at the trade show. As noted in our Power of The First Impression webinar, if your attendees only remember one thing about your trade show program, what is the one thing you would want them to remember about your company? Review this daily with your team before the show floor opens and help ensure your event is a success! 

megaphone_steelhead_icon_1Being Overly Aggressive with Attendees in the Aisle

We’ve seen exhibitors totally blow potential opportunities by being too aggro toward attendees, which usually makes people shut down and want to be somewhere — anywhere — other than the booth.

Download Now: 7 Keys To An Irresistible Trade Show Campaign

Want to avoid this? Stop focusing on making noise and instead focus on making people feel invited to your booth. Give them a reason to stop without yelling at them.

steelhead_icon_inspect-self-reflection-examine-person-1Spending Too Much Time on One Visitor

Yeah, you want to make each of your visitors feel welcome and special. But that can’t come at the expense of ignoring other potential leads.

Even just acknowledging a visitor while you’re busy can make a big difference. Better still, pause with your current visitor to get the other attendee introduced to another staff member at the booth.

chat-bubbles_steelhead_icon_1Talking with Other Booth Staffers While Attendees Walk by the Booth

...or worse, while attendees stand in your booth.

Nothing kills a potential lead like someone feeling ignored, especially if it’s happening because your staff is blabbering away to each other like a knitting circle.

Make sure everyone working your exhibit knows they have one specific job: to interface and help visitors engage with your exhibit.

iphone_steelhead_icon_1Booth Staffers Looking at Smartphones

Look, we get it. Smartphones are a part of doing business. But just like with staffers chatting, having them scrolling through Instagram or Twitter while attendees drift by is a death sentence for your exhibit.

Ideally, you want the staff of your booth to stow their devices out of sight while working their shifts. If you can’t quite go that far, though, at least bring the hammer down and tell them their smartphones can only be used for, you know, actual business.

chat-bubbles_steelhead_icon_1Missing Lead Follow-up

This is a big one. The whole point of participating in a trade show to gain leads!

The Trade Group makes a great point by noting that companies that attend trade show events and fail to follow up on the leads they collect are just throwing money down the drain. If you fail to follow up with attendees after the event, you are ignoring your promises and turning “warm” leads into “cold” leads. Your team should always devise a follow-up strategy before you hit the trade show floor. 

Want to kick ass with your next trade show exhibit? Download our free guide 7 Keys To An Irresistible Trade Show Campaign.

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