I've been to a lot of trade shows over the years and despite all the variables between them there are definitely areas to improve. Especially considering companies dish out anywhere from $3,500 to $50,000 for floor space. Here's a few tips to ensure people aren't walking by or running away from you.
DO NOT BRING DISTRACTIONS TO YOUR BOOTH - The last trade show was notorious for this and I think just based on the way society is going, it will only get worse. I would say more than 25% of the exhibitors I saw were more engaged with their cellphones or laptops than the actual people attending the shows. To the point where I would have to interrupt them to ask them about their product or service. Not cool, most people won't interrupt, they'll just walk by.
TAKE YOUR BREAKS AWAY FROM THE BOOTH - If you're sleepy, grouchy or hungry, take a break and take it away from your employer's logo, so people don't associate your mood with your company. The features and benefits of your product or service are not enhanced while explained in concert with finishing a bit of your convention centre sandwich.
USE THE GOLDEN RULE - Not everyone is going to be the contact to bring you that million dollar deal, and that person probably won't look the way you expect them to anyways. Your enthusiasm for sharing information about your company shouldn't die the second you realize someone won't be able to help you hit your monthly or yearly sales quota.
ENGAGE WITH THE INTENT TO LISTEN - I'm not joking when I say that it would be far more effective from a booth attraction standpoint to hire robots to repeat scripted material all day long. But if you aren't a robot and you're approaching me without the intent to genuinely listen, we're going to have problems. This is the equivalent of a telemarketing call or a humanized version of an internet pop-up.