At a trade show, you will typically find dozens of exhibitors all vying for attention. There are a number of different ways you can stand out from the rest, but one of the simplest - and most effective - is simply to offer some refreshments.
These don't have to be particularly elaborate; after all, most attendees will be able to get a proper meal from the venue's restaurant. But a few little snacks, sweets or drinks will be surprisingly welcome at most trade shows. You could use lollipops, bottles of water or small chocolate bars to achieve this effect.
The first result will have is that plenty of people will come over purely for a treat. This is fine, as at least they are coming over! Even if nine out of ten attendees only come to your stall to grab a free bottle of water, it is worth it for the one that stays and ends up making a purchase.
Furthermore, while people might intend to wander over just to get something to eat, if your sales pitch is strong enough they will end up staying to see what else you have to offer them. This is where the real value of this tactic comes into play, as people who might otherwise ignore your stand can be converted into sales.
Handing out refreshments, whether it's tea, coffee or hot chocolate, is also a great way to increase your brand exposure. If you are able to plan this far enough in advance, you can order sweet wrappers or water bottles that come printed with your company's logo. That way, as people are walking around other attendees will see your branding.
While it is an additional expenditure, providing refreshments usually pays off. Make sure to make an effort, however. There is no point buying a cheap tub of sweets, as this will make you look stingy and unprofessional. Go all-out and pay for something that will impress the attendees.