Tip #2 - Personal Invitations

“I hope there will be customers today”

You have probably thought this at least once or twice, if you have attended a trade show or event. You have planned everything down to the last detail. You are good to go. The trade show starts in 7 minutes and you’ve spent all your time – and more – for the past many, many weeks getting the set-up all done.

Now you are more than ready to talk to the guests and collect leads…. If only the guests now show up, you may think to yourself. So what now? 

Do you A) leave the results of your hard work up to faith or do you B) Personally invite potential customers to the trade fair and make sure they stop by your booth?

You chose answer B, right? Of course you did.

You probably know who your desired customers are. You know what they do and where they work. And you know they could really benefit from your product or service. Exactly the product/service you bring to the trade show or event. 

So reach out. Email, phone, letter, LinkedIn. They all work. 

Case: Attracting customers with an invitation

How a personal invitation transformed Anette's success

Anette works in a big, international pharmaceutical company. She is attending a trade show, where she hopes to network with the right key opinion leaders. This is her sole purpose for the event.

… Now we challenge Anette. We ask her if she can be specific and outline exactly how many key opinion leaders she wants to meet. 

It turns out that there are 3 key opinion leaders who are relevant to Anette’s company.

And she knows them all.

Now we have suddenly transformed her purpose into a concrete objective. The bonus? This is measurable. 

Anette adds a string of activities to her booth, making it almost irresistible not to come. She invites the 3 guests and 2 show up.

Success #1 

Anette made her objectives clear.
This makes for a precise and actionable plan

Success #2 

2 out of 3 invited showed up to the trade fair. This means she can follow up on both the two who came with a recap of what they talked about, and summarize what the last person missed. 

Invite 100. Follow up on 100

Anette’s case can easily be transferred to your company.

You invite 50 of your desired customers. 30 show up at the booth. Great! 

The 30 must be followed up on, connected with on LinkedIn, book meetings or calls. The sooner the better, but preferably within the first 24-48 hours.  

The last 20, the no-shows, they also have to receive an email with everything they missed. And an invitation to your showroom, a meeting or a call. 

No shows can be just as good leads as the ones that actually came. Read that again. It’s all about how you document and follow up on the different leads. 

Take control of your own success by inviting the customers you want to see

Why should they visit your booth?

Today, all the information we need about new products, prices, trends is available online 24/7. 

Your prospective customers can search the market in a fingersnap and move on with the purchase from the comfort of their office or home. This is why, you always have to give customers an experience they cannot get anywhere else.

Plan a special experience for them

It is your noblest task to choose a booth design and activities that provide your guests with an unforgettable experience. So they stop. Observe. And choose your product amongst competitors. It’s all about creating a sensory experience that they only can get through a face-to-face meeting at your booth: 


What is the mood at your booth? Is it casual, social? Do you have lights? Couch? Talking areas? You set the tone for the day, which may be different from event to event. 


You know your staff’s skills better than anyone. And why not use that to your advantage? Play to each person’s strengths by directing your customer to whomever excels at that subject.


Staff training is one of the most important elements for success. How do they greet your customers? What subjects do you talk about? Prepare. Rehearse. Repeat.


A trade show or event is a visual experience before anything else. What does your design say about you? Are there visual elements that the customer can interact with? Products that they can touch, feel or sense?


Can you introduce your customer to your products through technology, a game or interactive constellation? Is there a competition? Can they bring an e-book, brochure or other material home? 


Do you have any audio that they can listen to? Are you playing any background music that resides with your brand? What is your plan for your tone of voice – how do you engage with your guests?

We hope this has given you some food for thought for your next event or trade show. 

Look out for the third and last tip in your inbox – the 10 meter rule. 


Make it easy to keep your promises ...

With explicit goals and a well-defined target group, motivated staff, and systematic (and digital) collection of leads, the follow-up will be piece of cake. The only thing it requires is that you have complete control over these 5 areas: 

1. Hot leads

Which leads do you need to take home to achieve your goals – what characterizes a good, hot lead for you?  

2. Ask the right thing

What information do you need to collect about your guests/leads, in order to be able to follow up purposefully – what do you need to remember to get answers to and permission for?

3. Packed and ready

What will you follow up with and how will you send out the material? Have brochures, prices, pdfs, etc. ready before you leave.

4. Collect (digital) business cards

How do you collect leads to streamlining the following-up process – do you have the right (digital) tools available?

5. From lead to a sale

Who does what, when? How do you easily and quickly get your leads into your CRM so that they are part of the existing sales process?  

Easy and targeted follow-up starts before the fair. Mindset, ownership, internship, and time in the calendar must be aligned and fine-tuned so that your promises do not become unmanageable to keep when you return from the fair. 

And just to return to my friend from the Euro Shop – my path to becoming a customer with him, could have been much smoother if he had been completely focused on the above 5 areas – and had he kept what he promised … 

Get the Tools to Drive Traffic to Your Stand

Increase your Trade Show Traffic

Fill your Booth with [Potential] Customers

Discover techniques for increasing trade show booth traffic and learn how to attract your dream guest. Even if your booth is placed in the far corner of the trade show venue.

Related Articles

Dos and Don’ts on the Trade Show Floor

Find out how to increase your trade show performance

Give Your Guests a Reason to Visit Your Trade Show Booth!

Find out why you should prepare thoroughly before the fair.

5 Ways to Reduce Your Trade Show Marketing Costs

Worried about the escalating trade show expenses? This quick guide may help with just that.