Tips for Building Relationships at Trade Shows

11 Essential Tips for Making Connections and Building Relationships at Vegas Trade Shows

Essential Tips for Making Connections & Building Relationships

Have you ever been on a date? You both are excited, nervous, and thrilled to start the conversation but don’t know where to start! It’s the same when you are exhibiting at a trade show and want to make great connections with the attendees and potential buyers.

According to Zig Ziglar,

“You don’t build a business. You build people, and then people build the business.”

And to build people, it’s important that you build great connections and relationships.

But how exactly do you make meaningful connections at trade shows? 

It’s not a magic or random thing that happens automatically but needs a strategic approach to build and sustain relationships made at trade shows.

This guide will help you with the nitty-gritty of building relationships and excel them like a pro! Go through the techniques we have shared below to master your connection game at the trade shows.

11 Tips for Building Relationships at Trade Shows

Closing deals at trade shows is all about the relationships you build! And to become innate at them, you need to have actionable strategies that you can apply to all your trade shows and beyond.

We have listed eleven tips below for building relationships at trade shows to help you make the most out of it!

1. Know Your Participants Beforehand

Know Your Participants Beforehand

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The first and most important thing you need for building relationships at trade shows in Las Vegas (or any location for that matter) is to do enough research on the attendees who will be visiting the trade show.

Knowing your participants beforehand helps you tailor your approach and maximize the effectiveness of your interactions.

You can learn more about your attendees by getting the list of exhibitors, speakers, and attendees from the trade show organizers. Once you have the data, you can look at their social media profiles, especially LinkedIn, to carry forward the research.

For example, if you offer AI solutions and want to target healthcare companies, you can check how many chief technology officers (CTOs) will be attending the trade show and prepare yourself accordingly.

PRO TIP: Research the top three potential clients you want to target and prepare a customized pitch for them based on their unique requirements to improve the chances of conversion!

2. Craft Your Elevator Pitch 

Know Your Participants Beforehand

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Once you have done enough research on trade show participants, the next step is to craft a compelling elevator pitch to break the wall between you and the participants.

To make an amazing elevator pitch, succinctly describe who you are, what your company does, and the value it provides to potential customers or clients. Ensure that your pitch is less than two minutes and highly engaging.

Here’s a quick and easy script you can use to craft your elevator pitch:

Hi, I’m <name> from <company name>, and we help businesses like yours to achieve <output>. We have helped our recent client get <results>. Would you like to have the same for your company? 

PRO TIP: A week before the trade show, you can start crafting one pitch a day, focusing on different USPs of your organization to have a set of pitches ready and present them alternatively to each participant.

3. Don’t Limit Yourself to “What Do You Do?”

Don’t Limit Yourself to “What Do You Do?”

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One of the most common mistakes most of the exhibitors make while breaking the ice with the participants is limiting themselves to “What do you do?”

When you brush up on some great icebreakers, you can initiate engaging conversations and create more memorable interactions.

You can prepare yourself by having a few interesting and open-ended questions that encourage deeper conversation and reveal common interests or experiences.

For example, for building relationships at trade shows, you can ask the other person about the current project they are working on, recent trends they are passionate about, their perspective on recent technology, and the latest innovation that excites them the most.


Here are some ideas you can leverage to start engaging in conversations with the attendees: 

Ideas to start conversations with the attendees

  • What emerging technology or trend in the <industry> excites you the most right now?
  • Have you come across any innovations that have transformed your workflow recently?
  • How do you see artificial intelligence impacting the future of <industry> infrastructure and operations?
  • Tell me about a challenging <industry> problem you've recently encountered and how you solved it.
  • What advancements in <industry> do you believe will have the biggest impact on <industry outcomes> in the next decade?
  • What latest technology are you leveraging to improve outcomes in your organization?

4. Stand Out From the Crowd with Appealing Booths

Stand Out From the Crowd with Appealing Booths

The next thing you should have in place for building relationships at trade shows is appealing booths that make you stand out from the crowd.

To get greater attention from attendees and start interesting conversions, it’s highly recommended to invest in booths with eye-catching visuals, cohesive branding elements, and interactive features that help you achieve your goal of drawing better engagement. 

Plus, you can also consider incorporating multimedia displays, product demonstrations, and immersive environments to leave a lasting impression.

For example, if you are a healthcare technology company, you can design a booth with sleek, modern graphics featuring vibrant colors and clear branding. Moreover, you can have a large LED screen that displays real-time demos of your latest solutions to capture the attention of passing attendees.

Lastly, you can have designated areas for consultations and networking to facilitate more comfortable and relaxed connection-building activities.

In a recent work we did for Bamboo Health, we helped them have all the necessary elements, like a clear design, brand colors, appealing lighting, engaging displays, and enough space for seating in place to drive more engagement to their booth! You can watch the video of the booth we designed for them for reference! 👇

5. Nail Your First Impression 

Nail Your First Impression 

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As the saying goes, the first impression is the best impression, and thus, it is important to nail it in the first go. A good, positive first impression is essential for establishing credibility, building rapport, and initiating meaningful conversations with potential connections at trade shows.

It’s highly recommended to focus on your confidence, professionalism, and approachability when attendees approach your booth. Plus, greet visitors warmly with a genuine smile, maintain eye contact, and offer a firm handshake while wearing proper trade show attire that reflects your company’s brand and industry standards.

PRO TIP: You can use your elevator pitch like a pro to seize the opportunity when attendees get drawn to you because of your professional and attention-grabbing trade show attire! 

6. Listen Actively to Others 

Listen Actively to Others

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Besides all the things mentioned above for building relationships at trade shows, it’s equally important to listen actively to others. It helps you understand the needs and interests of potential connections while reading between the lines!

But some things are easier said than done, right? Keep these points in mind to practice better active listening: 

Be a active listener

  • Maintain eye contact throughout
  • Avoid interrupting while the speaker is speaking,
  • Give your full attention to the person you're speaking with, 
  • Nod or provide verbal affirmations to show you're engaged, 
  • Focus on truly understanding the speaker's perspective and concerns, 
  • Ask open-ended questions that encourage discussion about experiences, challenges, and goals.

7. Find Common Ground 

Find Common Ground 

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The next thing you need to do to build great relationships and make connections in trade shows is to find common ground with the participants you are talking to. It may seem very difficult at first, but if you practice it enough, it will become very smooth and natural for you.

You can find common ground by discovering shared interests, experiences, or industry challenges you and the other person may have. To take it forward, you can ask interesting and open-ended questions that lead to longer discussions than one-liner answers.

Here are some ways you can tap into to find common ground with the participants:

  • Exploring mutual connections together,
  • Discussing industry trends and challenges, 
  • Conversing about professional backgrounds, 
  • Talking about shared interests outside of work,
  • Planning to attend similar networking events together, 
  • Sharing social media profiles for long-term connections  

PRO TIP: The most powerful way to build human connections is through storytelling. Leverage it to deepen your connections. 

8. Stay Connected on Social Media

Connected on Social Media

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As shared in the previous section, sharing social media profiles is a great way to find common ground, and it’s also a good way to stay connected even after the trade show. It allows you to maintain relationships, continue conversations, and share valuable insights beyond the confines of the trade show floor.

You can get connected with trade show participants, attendees, and industry influencers on platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Once you have done that, engage with their posts and add relevant comments to stay on top of their mind. You can also use direct messaging to follow up with contacts, share resources, or schedule follow-up meetings after the trade show.

This ongoing interaction helps nurture the relationship and keeps you connected beyond the trade show environment.

PRO TIP: Reach out to at least one connection a day on social media to see the magic of the compounding! It helps you reach 365 new potential clients every year! 

9. Follow Up Strategically

Follow Up Strategically

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Going further, the next step to sustain built relationships at trade shows is to follow up with them strategically. It is one the most powerful tools to convert leads into closed deals.

The strategic follow-up approach demonstrates your commitment to providing value and building a mutually beneficial relationship with the prospect.

Here is the six-step process to follow up strategically after a trade show:

Process to follow up strategically after a trade show:

  • Segment Your Leads: Organize leads based on interest and potential, focusing on high-value prospects first.
  • Personalize Your Outreach: Craft tailored messages based on previous conversations to address individual needs and preferences.
  • Provide Value: Offer additional resources and insights that showcase your expertise and address their specific pain points.
  • Set Clear Next Steps: Clearly outline the next steps, making it easy for leads to progress in the sales process.
  • Follow-Up Promptly: Send a thank-you message within 24-48 hours to express gratitude and reiterate interest.
  • Utilize Multiple Channels: Leverage various communication channels to reach leads, adapting to their preferences. 

Did you know it takes five follow-ups to get higher closing rates?

Five follow-ups to get higher closing rates

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10. Go Beyond Business

Go Beyond Business

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If you have been in a business for a long time, you would know that partnerships are not just about the office things but the personal bond you share with each other!

Building relationships that go beyond business helps you have deeper connections that enhance the overall success of your networking efforts at trade shows.

One of the best ways to go beyond business is by showing genuine interest in the potential client’s hobbies, interests, or experiences outside of work.

For example, if you find that the other person is in love with hiking, you can discuss favorite trails, memorable experiences, and future hiking plans to establish a personal connection. The layered relationships you build can work as a bridge for continued collaboration and mutual support.

11. Evaluate, Improve, and Enjoy 

Evaluate, Improve, and Enjoy

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Lastly, evaluating and improving your networking efforts is super important, which allows you to enhance the effectiveness while maximizing the value of your interactions at trade shows.

Regularly assessing your networking strategies and identifying areas for improvement and opportunities for growth helps you grow the graph. Plus, soliciting feedback from colleagues, attendees, and industry peers allows you to gain valuable insights into your strengths and areas for development.

However, it is important to implement actionable changes based on feedback and observations to refine your approach and achieve better results.

PRO TIP: You can use lead tracking tools and CRMs like HubSpot that help you track your actions in real life and shape your strategies accordingly.

Rock Your Business Relationships at Vegas Trade Shows

We hope with all these tips for building relationships at trade shows; you will be able to get one step further in your journey. Each of these eleven tips is carefully curated to help you at every stage of connection-making. 

Get inspiration and follow the above-mentioned steps, and we are sure you will see the difference in the results.

Meanwhile, if you are looking for an exhibit rental builder, Pure Exhibits is at your fingertips! We have helped many businesses like yours to make their dream booth turn into a reality with our simple six-step strategies that make the process hassle-free for you.

Have a look at our portfolio and contact our team at info@purexhibits.com or +1 800-379-8451 to get started now! 

FAQs

1. How to ensure quality connections at a trade show? 

The best way to ensure the quality of connections at a trade show is by focusing on attendees' engagement and asking meaningful questions while prioritizing quality over quantity.

2. How do you make a trade show booth interactive for engagement purposes? 

To make your trade show booths interactive, it’s recommended to incorporate hands-on demonstrations, visually appealing displays, games, and other activities that encourage attendee participation and engagement.

3. How do you measure the impact of trade show connections and relationship building?

Some of the ways to measure the impact of trade show connections are by tracking metrics such as lead quality, conversion rates, post-event engagement, and qualitative feedback from attendees. 

4. How to make your trade show connections and relationships last longer? 

Replying promptly, providing ongoing value, staying in touch through various channels, and nurturing the relationship with personalized interactions and meaningful communication are the best ways to last trade show relationships longer.

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