Trade show attendance is already looking up for 2011, since this is an effective way to market your business and reach a much larger audience and networking community. However, do you really know what thoughts are running through the attendee s minds as they stop by your convention booth? Here are some of the unsaid things they may be thinking.

I m waiting for an employee to approach me - I ve seen it time and time again, someone who may be interested in the products displayed at the trade show exhibit spends several minutes just browsing, and then finally moves on to the next display system. What you may not realize is that most attendees are waiting for you to make the first move. If you and your staff wait to be approached, you may be losing countless sales and new business relationships. Even if you are in the middle of talking to one booth visitor, make it a point to acknowledge new people who enter your display system and let them know you will be with them as soon as possible. If they are in a hurry and don t have time to wait for you to finish your conversation with another potential buyer, have a fish bowl or box at the entrance of your trade show display for these attendees to leave their business card.

You could use a mint - Many hours are spent talking to leads and other business professionals on the trade show floor. They may cut the conversation with you off if your breath is less than favorable. Carry mints or breath spray with you for a quick way to freshen your breath. This doesn t seem like it would be a deal breaker, but an unpleasant experience like bad breath could effect their decision to do business with you, since this will be the last thing they remember of you.

Show me the free swag - Most attendees have an idea of what trade show booths they want to visit before the event even takes place. If you aren t on their list of must-visit convention displays, you can win their attention by offering trade show giveaways, such as tote bags, reusable water bottles, and coffee mugs. There are 2 important rules to having successful giveaways that will keep you remembered long after the event is over: 1) your logo and website or contact info are clearly displayed, and 2) they can be used daily. Another excellent way of drawing in a crowd on the show floor is through food and beverages. Some popular choices are popcorn, cookies, coffee, and tea. As long as attendees smell the aroma of goodies, they are sure to stop by.

They need to give me a call - Even with a well-designed trade show booth, knowledgeable and friendly staff, and excellent giveaway items, all of that effort may be lost if you don t follow up with your leads. The attendees spent time at numerous display systems, some of which were your competitors; they may not clearly remember speaking to you. Wait a week after the event before reaching out to these prospective new customers and then either give them a call or send a thank-you note. One study showed that 70 percent of exhibitors fail to follow up, resulting in not being as successful as they were hoping to be at the convention. When they are ready to buy, they will remember those who reached out to thank them for their time and answered any additional questions they may have.

You only have between 3 and 5 seconds to grab the attendee s attention as they walk by your booth displays, so stunning trade show displays that stand out among the rest are a must, such as pop up displays. Once they are intrigued by your convention booths, it is your staff that will turn them into new customers. Hopefully these tips will enlighten you as to what is going on in the minds of attendees and helps increase your trade show success!