The ultimate pre-conference checklist all startups need to read

  • 3 min read

After a few conferences, and a few (too many) days of prepping in hotel rooms into the wee hours of the night, we know how scrappy events can be. Piecing some of our own advice with some intel from booth rockstars, we’ve put together the ultimate checklist on how to help your booth stand out amongst the crowds.

Here are some quick tips to help you maximize your impact at events as an exhibitor.

  1. Practice pitches in your sleep

    Practice, Practice Practice! Be confident when the first attendee approaches your team by memorizing pitches to specific products. You want your team to be able to be able to go on auto-pilot when they are exhausted and be able to talk about your products in their sleep.

  2. Teach everyone how to qualify a lead

    Make sure everyone managing the both is able to quickly and effectively qualify leads to pass them to the appropriate salesperson. Everyone should know what an ideal customer looks like and be able to identify a lead based on title, and company type, or industry.

  3. Develop a handoff strategy

    Since your team will be so good at qualifying leads, they should also have the right questions to ask to know when there’s a hot prospect to hand off to sales or technical questions to ask a product person. If you have floaters, make sure they have their phone on them so they’re easy to reach.

  4. Use social

    Use all free channels to let your enthusiasts and followers know you’ll be at the event (and maybe even handing out specific goodies) to boost booth attendance. Check the event twitter page to make sure you are correctly “hashtagging” the event name.

  5. Pre-event email campaign

    Have your sales reps do their homework. Make sure they reach out to potential leads prior to the event to set up time on their calendar, rather than roam around without direction.

  6. Use your booth design to let people qualify themselves

    Through trial and error we’ve come to realize that even if one design works great at one event, may be confusing and irrelevant at another. Update the messaging on your booth to mirror the audience that will be at the event.Concise and targeted booth messaging will tailor the audience that talks to you and your team so your sales team can surface quality leads with greater ease.

  7. People attract crowds: Invest in cool giveaways

    Swag is probably the easiest way to get crowds surrounding your booth, and a prime way to increase your company’s visibility at the conference. Giveaways increase your visibility and let the booth attendees do your marketing work for you.

    Some great examples that we’ve seen?

    – Brightly colored and branded umbrellas during rainy season.
    – Cheap sunglasses for Jazzfest, which always takes place post the Collision Conference.
    – Powerbanks when everyone is desperate to have their phones charged at day long events.

  8. Bring food

    Sometimes understaffed booths will have no time to wait in long lines for food. Be sure to bring snacks for your team — no one likes a hangry pitch. ?

  • Originally published April 26, 2017, updated April 26, 2023