Pest Control Marketing – How To Get The Most From A Trade Show

Pest control marketing via trade shows and expos can be a great way to get new customers.

I just attended the 6th Annual Greater North Fulton Business Expo in Alpharetta, Ga.  As always, it was a great event with well over a hundred businesses with display booths and a couple thousand attendees, most of which were small business people who were there to network and build relationships.

I made it a point to observe how people worked their booths. I asked lots of questions and made lots of mental notes.

As is usually the case, many of them were simply not capitalizing on this great opportunity nearly as much as they could have been.  They were standing at their booth, smiling, shaking a few hands and doing a lot of socializing.   But they had no specific plan of action that would directly lead to more new customers.  They were scoring well on the social side, but very poorly on the equally important scientific side.

When I asked the question, “What are you doing to capture contact information?”, many of them sheepishly admitted that they had no specific  plan to do that.

To cash in on the potential benefits of a trade show, you need a working plan of action and a definite, focused result in mind.

Listed below are some things you might consider that will increase the ROI for your efforts at trade shows and expos:


  • Make sure your booth  grabs people’s ATTENTION
  • Make sure your banner tells people exactly WHAT YOU DO, not just the name of your business
  • Make sure your banner makes a BOLD PROMISE AND/OR STATEMENT OF BENEFIT. Your banner should actually tell people exactly why they should do business with you.
  • Make sure your banner includes all of your CONTACT INFORMATION.
  • Make sure the person or persons manning your booth are attractive, clean, neat and happy
  • Provide ENTERTAINMENT at your booth (People seldom pass up the opportunity to be entertained. Back when I had my pest control business, I would always have a live snake around my neck at these events, and I kept a crowd around me at all times.  And they remembered me!)
  • ASK for business cards (It is much more important to come away with lots of other people’s business cards than to give out lots of your cards…assuming you are going to follow up with them).
  • Some really effective way to CAPTURE PEOPLE’S CONTACT INFORMATION. ( Here again,  so you can follow up later, after the event, and begin the relationship-building process)
  • Offer some VALUABLE INCENTIVE for people to purchase your product/service at the event
  • OFFER TO BUY BACK your trinket products for cash money (Example: If you give away ball-point pens, tell the patron that you will buy the pen back from them for $50.00CASH if/when they sign an annual contract with you!  I would suggest that you have the cash buy-back printed on your trinket items)
  • Ask people specific questions and identify how you might be able to help them, even by referring them to someone else.
  • Offer FREE INSPECTIONS/EVALUATIONS and have a sign-up form so you can get a commitment from them right then.  They are much more likely to say yes.
  • Ask questions that may uncover a NEED that you can help fulfill for them.
  • Have a FISHBOWL DRAWING for a valuable prize (another way of collecting cards and contact information.
  • ASK PERMISSION to call them later and schedule a meeting.
  • After the show, FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP!

Bottom line: If you want to get the most mileage from your expo/trade show, you must do more than just show up, smile and drink coffee.  You must have a plan, a focus, and a crystal clear perceived outcome…which is…more new customers and more new business!

You must be able to clearly and unmistakably answer these  two questions:

  • “Why would someone want to spend time at my booth?”
  • “Why would they want to do business with ME?”

I hope this is helpful to you.


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