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Episode 001 – Goal Setting for Trade Shows

Episode 001 – Goal Setting for Trade Shows

If you don’t have goals, you will never know if a show is a success or not. 

·       Everything you do to prepare and plan for a show – and that includes designing your booth, ordering giveaways, figuring out staffing, and everything else – is all to help you reach your goals. 

·       Think about a Fitbit when setting goals for your next show.

·  The main reason most people wear a Fitbit is to track number of steps they take. How important is knowing how many steps you take? Not very.  It all comes in context. You have to have a baseline.

·  Here are key benefits a Fitbit provides – to set a baseline to beat, for awareness, and for accountability. 

·  People want to get better themselves, keep improving. And thanks to Fitbit step challenges, they want to beat others. 

·  Approach your next show like you have a Fitbit challenge. 

·       First you need a trade show baseline

·  What did you do at the show last year? Or the last show you were at? How many leads, sales, new customers, etc. did you get? Whatever your key metric or measurement is, that needs to become your baseline.

·  If you don’t have the baseline, you will never know if your show was a success! You may get 20 leads thinking the show was a huge success. However if you had 30 last year then you really had a 33% decline.

·  You’ll never be able to set good goals until you have a baseline!


I recommend using the SMART Goals technique

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based 

·       SPECIFIC: The who, what, when, where and why. To determine what goals you should set, you need to figure out what success looks like. What exactly should you measure? It’s going to be different for different types of businesses. 

·  If you’re writing orders at the show, your goal might be number of orders or sales dollars.

·  If you’re a contractor or a consultant, it could be number of appointments booked.

·  If you have a software or a service business, it might be number of demos scheduled.

·  If you have a high-ticket item or something that involves a lengthy sales cycle, you may be looking to capture qualified leads.

·  Really think about your business. What should you be measuring? What metric can lead to success?

·  Key is to be SPECIFIC

·       MEASURABLE:  You have to be able to actually measure your goal so when you get back you know if you achieved success. Solid and measurable – for example…

·  Number of new qualified leads

·  Number or Dollar amount of orders

·  Scheduling or giving a number of demos

·  If they aren’t something that can be definitively measured or maybe have a number next to it, change your goal!

·  If you’ve never done a show before or if you never tracked your results before, then you’re going to have to make some good, educated guesses.

·  At the end of the day its all about ROI. You need to figure out what you need to do to at least break even for your show. Know every dollar you are investing and make sure your goals will meet or exceed that number.

·  Look – goal setting is not easy! But understand it is totally worth it!

·       ACHIEVABLE: Is your goal actually achievable? It’s great to set high goals but are you setting the bar so high that you can’t possibly reach it?  

·  If your goals are high, two things will happen. Either you will push yourself and your team to work harder to reach the goals, or you’ll give up part way through the show because you know you’ll never hit them. 

·  You goals need to motivate, not de-motivate! 

·  You also don’t want to set your goals too low just because you wanted to make sure to hit your goals. These can be de-motivating and actually hold you back from reaching your true potential.

·  So think about your business and your Specific, Measurable goals. What else do they require to be hit? Are they Achievable? Make sure they are!

·       Bonus A – ACCOUNTABLE: Do you want to make sure you hit your goals, tell people about them! Make sure your company leaders and your boss get a list of all the goals you are trying to achieve at the show. This will keep you LASER FOCUSED!

·  And if you’re the business owner, tell your employees. 

·  No matter who you are, tell the right people your goals to add that level of accountability you need to be sure to stay focused and to give yourself that extra push to reach the goals.

·       RELEVANT:  Are your goals Relevant? Do they make sense? Are they in line with your corporate goals. Also make sure they are not self-defeating.

·  Do they match your marketing strategy? 

·  Make sure the marketing messaging, displays and literature are leading people to your goal. 

·  Do the goals line up with overall company goals? 

·  Is your goal relevant to the people staffing your booth? For example, if you have a sales goal, make sure you have your top sales people in the booth and not your team of engineers. 

·       TIME-BASED: Your goals should have a time limit and also be timely. Your goals at the show have a built-in time limit of getting done right there at the show – like number of qualified leads. But for many others Time needs to be a major consideration.

·  Pre-Show goals:

·       If you’re going to do some pre-show marketing, make sure you have the timing right for maximum effectiveness. Understand timing for social media, advertising, direct mail and more – each of these tools has a different time table.

·  After the show Goals:

·       Following up is the main thing for most shows. Set goals and responsibilities for Who, When and How follow ups will happen.

·       When will you have your follow ups completed? Set a goal and stick to it! 

·       The magic behind setting goals is this – what gets measured gets accomplished!


·  To set good goals, you have to have a baseline. If this is your first show ever, or if you just don’t know, you’ll have to make an educated guess.

·  Attack your show goals like a Fitbit challenge! Be focused and go after them!

·  Set SMART Goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable (and also Accountable), Relevant and Time-Based

·       BONUS!! Go over to our website at, sign up for our email list, and I’ll send you our SMART Goals worksheet! It will take you step by step through setting your goals so you can achieve success and maximize your ROI!

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