Professional Speakers Guild




for Attendees and Exhibitors.

by: Richard Erschik  (

In 1954 the late Ethel Merman popularized the song lyrics "There’s No Business Like Show Business" as it pertained to the glitz N glamour of Hollywood shows.

Almost a half a century later those same words apply to the face-to-face marketing medium of today’s business to business, and consumer, industry trade shows.

If you are an attendee, and you are planning to invest your time and money to walk the miles-of-aisles of an upcoming trade show, what’s your objective? Why are you going?

The most common reason why attendees’ visit a trade show today is to see what’s new. But there are many other reasons to attend that are sometimes even obscure.

Following are 5 reasons attendees visit a trade show. (Exhibitors should pay attention here too.)

1) To find ways to improve production
2) To find products that they can sell
3) To find new selling agents
4) To network with industry professionals
5) To get free STUFF

Same question: If you are an exhibitor, and you are planning to invest your time and money to exhibit in an upcoming trade show, what’s your objective? Why are you going?

The most common reason to exhibit in a trade show is to generate sales leads, then sales. But there are many other reasons that are sometimes even obscure.

Following are 5 reasons to exhibit in a trade show.

1) To improve brand awareness
2) To close pending sales
3) To cross sell products
4) To recruit sellers
5) To build relationships

It is estimated that trade shows are a $93 billion dollar industry and rank 22nd in GNP.

There are more than 13,000 trade shows conducted in North America alone each year, and there are no college courses devoted to teaching the tactics of trade show exhibiting. So exhibiting in a trade show continues to be a matter of trial and error for most exhibitors.

This writer is dedicated to improving trade show exhibiting education and results, based on more than 3 decades of personal exhibiting experience. And from having talked to thousands of exhibitors, I can assure you that trade show success today is being measured by management inside of exhibiting companies based on results… not activity.

By that I mean… efficient lead contact and effective lead "conversion" after a trade show has taken precedence over simple lead "counts" as the barometer of exhibition success for both attendees and exhibitors, and the lack thereof reflects heavily on show organizers.

Today’s trade show attendees complain that there were "too many low level booth staffers" in the exhibitors’ booths and "87% of leads captured are never followed up." Source: And while exhibitors’ number one objective was to generate leads at the show, they admit that their biggest problem is lead follow-up after the show.

"As many as 70% of leads go un-contacted, while 43% of those (not-contacted) buy what they inquired about within 13-months." Source: RBI

Finger-pointing at the show organizer and the old blame-game between marketing and sales in exhibiting companies no longer works after a show.

Ref: (American Marketing Association) "The sales and marketing disconnect (after a trade show) has reached a day of reckoning. Executive management is demanding that sales forces become more effective and that marketing departments need to help them get there. No more blame game… No more finger pointing. We are all on the same team, with the same objective: Sell more stuff profitably."

Before they just go out and do the same thing, the same way, expecting different results, exhibitors should take note of these additional booth visitor complaints.

42% of booth-visitors are dissatisfied with the way exhibitors handled them before and after the show.

- too many low level staffers.
- over aggressive booth-staff.
- rude behavior.
- overhyped giveaways.

I empathize with exhibitor sellers today, after a show, as lead contact and follow-up is more difficult than it has ever been, especially if you consider today’s barriers of making contact with booth-visitors after the show.

• Telephone contact of leads generated at the show is more difficult due to answering machines and personal voice mail. Few people return calls today.

• FAX transmission to leads generated at the show has become unlawful since written permission from recipients is now required before exhibitors can transmit a fax.

• E-mail response to leads generated at the show is subject to deletion of un-recognized senders and subject line content.

If as many as 70% % of leads generated at the show go un-contacted by exhibitor sellers after the show… the strategy of getting more leads to sellers faster, so they can do nothing with them sooner, is certainly not the answer.

Education regarding the best trade show lead generation, response, and follow-up tactics is.

Click on this link from my website: for a schedule of webinars entitled "Get the MOST from PRE-DURING-POST trade show exhibiting."

Richard Erschik

Richard is a sought after speaker and exhibitor educator in the trade show industry. He has delivered more than 250 high-value seminars, webinars, workshops, and experiential on-line learning sessions in venues as far away as Brussels Belgium and Johannesburg, South Africa. He is a Toastmasters award winner and has been a featured speaker at the EXHIBITOR Show in Las Vegas for the past 18-years. He is listed in Trade Show Executive’s Who’s--Who in Specialty Service Contractors, in the specific area of Exhibitor Education, and he has authored numerous feature articles in marketing and sales publications. He has also served on the advisory boards of some significant exhibiting companies. Contact Richard at