Ever have the oportunity to be in front of hundreds, if not thousands, of potential clients in one day? Not many people do…unless you are at a large trade show. And yet there are certain things that will KILL your impact to begin to develop relationships – or make sales – at a trade show.

I’m calling these the 5 Trade Show What Not To Dos…


  1. Stand behind your table. Putting the table between you and your prospects creates an emotional barrier, as well as a physical one.
  2. Miss shaking hands and introducing yourself by name. It’s a common courtesy and nearly 80% of the trade show exhibitors missed this.
  3. Assume the visitors won’t share their name or business card. This is your opportunity to identify them and use their name in the conversation.
  4. Leave your nice give-aways sitting on the table without offering them to the visitor. Really, what did you bring them for then? These are a great way to make a connection – offer them the pen, the rubber ball, the bottle of water, or whatever you have to give!
  5. Start to ‘pitch’ them what you have upon their approach. Engage them with questions – the questions can be about themselves, their company, what they think of the trade show, their experience with the product/services, its the beginning of qualifying them!
  6. My bonus what not to do – Don’t miss the opportunity to ask them to take the next step – are they open to further contact? Do they want a demo? What is the call to action?

I experienced all these don’ts at a trade show recently – and I was disappointed that as a potential buyer of the goods and services I had to work hard to get information and next steps. I thought “Wow, these people can really use my sales training.” (Trust me, I have a plan to contact them.)

What has been your experience? What is your #1 NOT to Do in trade show sales?