Guerrilla Trade Show Strategy

Trade shows can be productive sources of profitable revenue for you company.  The following strategy can help you avoid unnecessary expenses to find out.

Keep these two primary goals in mind to develop your booth strategy.

  1. Build your CRM database list of pre-qualified prospect contact information.
  2. Receive agreement from pre-qualified prospects to follow-up after the event.

Booth Layout

The least expensive solution for an 8×8 booth with a 6’ table and no electricity is to purchase a full-color 3’x6’ vinyl banner to hang in the back of the booth.  It should clearly show from 20’ away, your company name, icon, what you do, who you do it for and the benefit the buyer receives.  These banners typically cost $120.  Purchase a second banner to hang on the front of the 6’ table if desired.

On the table, get two plastic 8.5”x11” standing sheet holders.  One should hold something that helps you explain your solution to prospect buyers, the other could promote a raffle. Raffle sign-up sheet & pens.  Have business cards on the table and on your person (pen too). Also have a take-away sales flyer with the goal being to drive traffic to your website.

The Hook & Pre-Qualify

The Hook should be a disruptive interaction with passersby.  As visitors walk by the booth, engage them in conversation.  These visitors took the time to come to the show to learn more.  Start the conversation with rapport then begin pre-qualifying and agreeing on post-event follow-up. Spend 30 seconds – 5 minutes max.  You’re not selling at the show.  You are building your list of pre-qualified prospects that know and trust you.

The hook you use can snag your target market, for example:

  1. Do you use electricity – Everybody
  2. Have you considered using solar energy – Technophiles
  3. Do you own your home – Property Owners
  4. Do you pay more than $150/month for electricity – Could include Renters

Build Your List & Follow-up Strategy

After a basic pre-qualification, invite prospective buyers to take advantage of a free raffle.  Have a signup sheet for a free raffle that your target market will value.  While they are signing up, ask if they would like you to follow-up at a specific day/time. After they sign-up, add a follow-up code you can use after the show to prioritize.

Note: Multi-media presentations at shows probably aren’t worth the effort.  If the visitor lingers in front of your booth, you look dumb if you do not engage them.  Therefore, multi-media is merely a disrupter to get the passerby to stop so you can engage.  Trust me, the salesperson can do a better job disrupting with a Hook than any video blaring and annoying the floor.

After The Show

Add the raffle list and any business cards collected to your CRM database list.  Accuracy counts.

Follow-up as agreed upon.

Send an email to the new list with the results of the raffle and an invitation to meet about your services.  Use an email strategy that tells you who Opened the email and who clicked through to your website to learn more.  This information will help Sales target prospective buyers.

Consider a monthly drip campaign using email, direct mail and telemarketing to build trust and brand relationship with the prospective buyer.


Remember why you are at the show…to build your pre-qualified prospect list and schedule follow-up meetings.  Look professionally branded.  Disrupt passersby to pre-qualify, build trust and enroll on your list.

When just starting out, avoid spending money on window dressing that does not directly support your show goals.

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