I looked at my calendar today and felt a sudden bit of dread. I have four trade shows to participate in over the next four months. That means reserving the booth, managing the sponsorships, setting up meetings, preparing presentations and the list goes on.

While often a tiresome process, trade shows can drive the right leads for your business, if managed in the right way. Today and tomorrow, Promotional Consultant Today shares these 10 trade-show must-do’s from Ken Krogue, president and founder of InsideSales.com.

1. Begin your trade-show conversations before you get there. Krogue suggests keeping every contact and lead from years past and reach out six weeks ahead of a trade show or an event and make appointments before the event even begins. He also suggests using social media tools like LinkedIn and Twitter to make these connections pre-show and begin the conversations. But don’t spam. Get to know people and meet them at your booth.

2. Look sharp, be sharp and be kind. Be assertive and talk to everyone, and have your entire staff do the same. Don’t sit down. Don’t leave drinks and food around the booth. Be kind. Says Krogue, “Never be a jerk like many of the old-timer sales types I see, who still believe that outdated model of disqualifying is as good as qualifying. They almost push you out of the way if they don’t think you are important.” And don’t say negative things. In today’s age of social media, one person’s disgruntled voice can carry far and wide in the wrong way.

3. Trade leads with every other vendor at the trade show. Have you ever thought about sharing leads with other vendors? Why? If you get 1,800 business cards, and they do also, now you have 3,600. While a small portion may overlap, you still end up with way more than you got on your own. And many of those vendors can also become prospects or great partners.

4. When you speak, don’t pitch your stuff. Grow your industry. If your content and research are really good, people will flock to you. If you pitch your services on stage, they flock away from you. If you help them provide answers to difficult questions, they turn to you to help them in their business. Have faith in your content and value.

Watch for tomorrow’s PCT to learn six more tips to make your trade-show participation effective and successful.

Source: Ken Krogue is president and co-founder of InsideSales.com, a leading sales automation platform for inside sales professionals. He speaks at industry events, researches industry topics and his blog ranks first on inside sales.