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How to Put Your Name in Clients’ Hands at a Trade Show

If you’ve participated in even one trade show, you’ll know that not every attendee is there to buy right away. So how do you get your name in their hands so you can tempt them to buy in the future? Give them something tangible to walk away with. Getting your foot in the door can be both simple and cost effective. Here’s what you need to know:

Close-up of businessman giving business card to client. Horizontal shot.

The Basics

Despite what some people would have you believe, print isn’t dead. At the end of the day, you need potential customers to know how to get in touch with you, and business cards are still a fantastic way to easily distribute your contact information. The moment you make a connection with someone, whether it’s just small talk or an in-depth conversation, hand them a business card. For customers who are on the go and don’t have time to talk, place business cards in several easily accessible locations on your table or your tabletop display as well as in any goodie bags you hand out.

The Freebies

Giveaways and freebies are a great way to draw customers to your booth, but what you do with them when they get there is key. Consider using different items for different purposes.

  • Use high quality promotional pens, lip balm or keychain flashlights for all potential customers and attendees that stop by your booth – whether they stay to talk or not.
  • Give more expensive products such as flash drives or car USB chargers to attendees who sign up for your mailing list or fill out a questionnaire. Rewards are great incentive!
  • Save your highest quality gifts to thank pre-existing customers who stop by your booth for their loyalty and willingness to check out your newest products and services.

Remember, the quality of what you hand out is a reflection of you and your company. If you hand out junk, it will most likely end up in the trash where it won’t do you any good.

The Digital Age

Speaking of your customers’ hands, guess what’s already in them? If you guessed a smart phone, you’d be right on the money. To get your information quickly onto those screens, use a well-placed QR code with a little incentive to scan. Offer exclusive content, contest prize or freebies to people that scan the QR Code and watch as visits to your site skyrocket. Make sure your website is mobile friendly, or your hard work will be for nothing.

Standing out at a trade show doesn’t necessarily mean you need flashing lights and brightly colored banners. Sometimes all it takes is putting a free pen in the hand of a potential customer and asking them how their day is going. Personal connections coupled with contact information can make a huge difference in future sales.

boothstaff_smBooth staffers represent your company and manage your giveaways. Get your hands on the Booth Staffing Guidebook to make sure your giveaways don’t go to waste and that your company is represented by the best staffers it can be.  Click here to request your free copy.

About the Author

Gary Austin is the CEO of, a Tennessee based promotional pen company. For the last 25 years, Gary has been committed to offering top quality products with fantastic customer service.

3 responses to “How to Put Your Name in Clients’ Hands at a Trade Show

  1. Print is definitely not dead. Business cards are as effective as ever. Don’t be afraid to be creative with them. Size, shape, content can all be done in creative ways to create a memorable business card. You can even tie your trade show booth design into the card for better recognition.

  2. Great article. My only disagreement is with QR codes. What is the latest statistic on their use? We used to use them on signage, but never saw anyone actually capturing them with their phone. In my opinion, they’re ugly and a waste of space, but if there’s been growth in their success, I’d love to hear.

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