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If you’re exhibiting at a trade show, your goal is simple: yield a worthwhile return on your investment. In order to accomplish these tasks, there’s a lot of things you need to get right. But it’s just as important — if not more important — to avoid doing certain things wrong. Whether these are behavioral, marketing, or hiring mistakes, they can all thwart the success of your booth and hurt your bottom line.

Not Asking The Experts

Especially if you’re a first time exhibitor, you can’t leap right into exhibiting without learning from an expert. If your team lacks trade show experience, make an effort to meet with a seasoned exhibitor — their experience and expertise will be invaluable and guide you in the right direction. And more importantly, their learned lessons will save you from making those same mistakes. By sitting down with an experienced exhibitor, you can more easily avoid the rest of the mistakes on this list.

Quantity Over Quality

Whether it’s the number of trade show appearances or the number of expected leads, it’s essential to focus on quality over quantity. If you’re new to exhibiting, don’t let your ego get in the way by registering for more shows than you’re prepared for. Similarly, don’t let your excitement compel you to set unrealistic goals for your booth staff. It’s important to be fired up about your exhibit, but be sure to remain level headed.

If you register at too many shows, your overall exhibit quality will be mediocre. If you’re trying to attract too many leads, you’ll end up chasing low quality prospects and be left empty handed. Take the time to decide which trade shows that are the best fit for your company, and maintain a screening process to find the highest quality leads.

Lacking Expert Staff

For the first-time exhibitor, it might be tempting to use your own employees to operate your booth. They know your company best, right? This rationale is a scathing blunder. Though your employees are certainly masters of your company, they lack the experience and the expertise that an effective brand ambassador requires. Because your employees are unfit to properly attract and interact with attendees, your impact at the trade show will fall flat.

Invest your money and hire experts. Your staff should be masters of social dynamics and understand how to keep the attendee intrigued and invested in the interaction. An accomplished brand ambassador is constantly screening leads for quality, and guiding each interaction toward your company’s end goal. If your staff lacks these skills, you’ll not only be unsuccessful at attracting attendees, you’ll fail to spot the high quality prospects and let them slip by.

Finding The Balance

It’s a mistake to be overly aggressive — it’s also a mistake to not be aggressive enough. Strive to find the sweet spot between belligerence and passivity when drawing attendees to your booth. You want your staff to be excited and purposeful, without feeling antagonistic or invasive.

If your staff appears needy for leads, people will avoid your booth at all costs. You must keep in mind that attendees pay to be at these shows — they want a pleasant experience.

Being too aggressive is a huge gaffe, but so is inaction. If you’re not taking the initiative and actively alluring attendees, they may not even notice your booth at all. Your exhibit space should be lively and intriguing while publicizing giveaways, contests, and product demonstrations. It’s also essential to refresh your booth staff on your behavioral expectations. Be proactive!

No Pitch

Your booth staff should be given a concise pitch that summarizes who your company is and what it is you do. Your pitch should quickly let prospects know how you can meet their needs. Trade show attendees don’t have a lot of time to waste. If they’re visiting your booth, give them the info they want right away so they can decide if your company fits their needs. A concise pitch not only saves the attendee time, but your booth staff as well. This allows your brand ambassadors to efficiently screen for the highest quality leads and create better relationships with customers.

Casting A Broad Net

Be direct about your brand and avoid ambiguity. If you cast too broad of a net in an attempt to attract the largest possible audience, you’ll likely end up with a hefty amount of low quality leads. In fact, you might even repel certain attendees by appearing overly vague, causing them hesitate to trust your image. By casting a too broad of a net, you’re likely to capture the wrong audience.

Be deliberate and showcase what your company believes in and what it can offer the world. Doing this might attract a more niche demographic, but these are the customers you really want to attract. They will be the highest quality leads available at the trade show — the ones who are passionate about your brand, your vision, and your products.