Cashing in on a convention and trade show

Cashing in on a convention and trade show

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

It’s time for your association’s trade show. It’s time for your annual convention. It’s time to make money.

Hundreds of your customers, prospects, suppliers and competitors will be in town for two days. Nowhere else can you have such a concentration of people in your industry. Nowhere else can you see as many customers and prospects at one time. You have no time to waste from the second you get on the plane, until you wearily make your way back home from the airport.

How will you capitalize on this event? How will you maximize your personal achievement or company’s benefit from the convention?

Some people go to trade shows because it’s a chance to get away from the office, get out of town, or have a good time. If you want to be productive, steer clear of these people.

Here are 19.5 success tactics to help you plan for, and maximize your benefit from the next trade show you attend:

  1. Develop your game plan before you leave your office. Establish goals for the number of prospects you want to secure, customers to visit, sales you want to make, and how you intend to accomplish the tasks.
  2. Get there a day early. You will have the advantage of being relaxed, and up to the minute on things of importance. Many convention exhibitors and attendees will be flying in on your plane. Try to find them.
  3. Have your presentation material ready and rehearsed. Your opening line, power questions, and power statements must be perfect.
  4. Stay at the main/best hotel. Be in the middle of what’s happening. It costs a few bucks more, but it’s worth it.
  5. Work the trade show during setup. If you’re not an exhibitor, figure out a way to get in. Go to the truck entrance, tell them you’re delivering an important part or paper, but get in. Walking the trade show early gives you a tactical advantage, and may net you some valuable contacts. Many company CEO’s like to be there when the booth is being set up. It’s a relaxed time to get in some valuable contact time without being rushed.
  6. Target five important people in your industry you want to get to know, and make it your business to seek them out and talk to them. Remember that those people you targeted are going to see hundreds of other people at this event. You must use every creative bone in your body to be memorable enough to make a meaningful appointment after the show.
  7. Target ten customers. Connect. Build relationships. Get to know them better. Find out their “big picture” and how you fit in it. Take them to dinner. Solidify your position as vendor.
  8. Target ten prospects. Connect. Generate genuine interest. Get commitments for future business and a firm commitment for the next meeting. Build rapport for a sale later.
  9. Find out about every hospitality suite and after hours party being given. Target the ones where your targets are most likely to be. Go there.
  10. Stay sober all the time. It’s a distinct advantage, and may work against you if you’re drunk. Party, but party smart.
  11. Attend seminars and lectures where you can network with your customers and prospects. Sitting next to the right person in a seminar can be very beneficial. If you meet a prospect or customer, ask them what seminars they plan to attend. Be there.

The rest of the list will be printed next week, but you’ve got enough meat here to start a delicatessen. Challenge yourself by creating a 1 – 10 rating on each of the points. If you’re under 7 on more than 4 points, you’re letting big money go to someone more alert.

There is not a more powerful selling arena than a trade show floor. If you’re looking to slay a dragon, make sure you’ve got the right sword. You may also want to be concerned which way he falls. Even if you kill the beast, with poor planning, you may get crushed. Stay tuned…


FREE GitBit 

A form and format to develop your 30-second personal commercial (the perfect introduction) for use at trade shows and networking events. Go to, click Access GitBit, register if you’re a first time user and enter the word Worksheet in the search box.