Trade shows are one of the great inventions of modern marketing. Love them or hate them, they are necessary for most businesses. You get the opportunity to showcase your products live and in-person to a captive audience.

The key to being successful is that you have to understand the sales process that’s an intrinsic part of the trade show circuit. It’s not enough to simply throw your stuff up on a table and show up.

In fact, with the price of a table these days, it’s important that companies don’t just suffer through a show, but carefully select and send the right person to market them accurately.

In return for careful assessment of the right salesperson, trade shows can be a valuable source of leads, no matter what your product or service. Let’s break it down into some sales training tactics:

Send the right person.

Personality should come standard with the right trade show representative. Since all meetings are face to face, they don’t just need to know your product line; they have to know how to sell it, and be friendly and approachable.

Take this concept one step further. You want a person who will go out and meet people. They should purposefully step into the crowd, with a smile, and say hello. Someone who is just going to stand behind the table won?t do your company any good at all.

Invest in powerful graphics

Investing in professional trade show graphics helps your company get noticed in the crowd. You don’t need a big budget, either. Purchase a free-standing banner stand that rolls right up into its own base or ask your local sign company to develop mounted posters that you can place on easels.

Remember that people read from left to right, so displays need to be set up in a way that makes it easy for everyone to follow along with your product or services. Rack cards, if you have the budget, shouldn?t be thrown out, but specifically handed to people who have questions about your products or services.

Follow-up with connections.

When you attend a trade show geared at niche members of your profession, it’s important to make a personal connection. Assigning the salesperson to follow-up with a polite phone call can make all the difference between making an eventual sale and simply being forgotten.

Further, if the show was geared towards office professionals, try to bond with those people using the right cold calling tactics. Within a few outreaches, a good salesperson should be building rapport every time they pick up the phone.

Continue to nurture leads.

Once you have a lead?s contact information, you open the door to continue to market to them. Develop an engaging marketing campaign that will keep your company front of mind for the prospect.

This means focusing on what your company does, who you do it for, and why you do it better than anyone else. Send an interesting newsletter every month or shoot an email with a unique headline over to the people who you want to work with.

Remember that trade shows can be an excellent way to bring more leads into your company. However, it’s up to you to make the most of everyone you meet. Follow these simple rules to get started on the right track.