Top Tips For Exhibitions and Trade Shows
Running a stand at a trade show or exhibition is hard work and often exhausting.
There are probably not many people who actually ‘enjoy’ running an exhibition stand, at least not after the first half-day or so! Whether your event is a large, professionally-organised show, or just a local table-top exhibition at a village gala, you need to stay bright and alert for long hours.
Assuming you have done all your preparation and advance planning, here are some ideas to help make your investment in trade shows and exhibitions more productive, more profitable, and even more rewarding.
Never go alone!
You will probably already know very well that running a stand is a full-time job while an exhibition is on, and it should never be left unattended. Every 5 minutes that your stand is unattended, your investment in the event will not be making you money. But you must get some breaks in, over what will probably be a long day or more.
So even if you are a sole-trader, take a partner with you, a family member or hire an experienced exhibition person from a promotional company.
You will have your own ideas about what works best for you and what doesn’t. You can also learn much from other exhibitors, good and bad.
– NO clutter! (That includes NO half-drunk cups of coffee, a newspaper or half-eaten sandwich left on display! Or bored support-staff with nothing to do
– not too much on display — it can all become ‘meaningless noise’ if you aren’t careful;
– not too little either — it may look as if you aren’t really in business for real;
– something to taste, smell, listen to, watch or feel?
– well-labelled displays — don’t let visitors guess what your business is all about;
– themed product displays, grouped intelligently so they might relate to each other — not just a mish-mash of odd assortments thrown together;
Some visitors will know exactly what they are looking for, and if you don’t frighten them away, they will tell you in their own good time. Many more may not know what they were looking for, at least, not until you have told them what you have to offer! But even so, please don’t pounce on them?
Qualify your visitors
Some visitors may only be time-wasters, although you can never be too sure. You can’t know this until you engage with them and you most certainly can’t always judge by first appearances! Moreover, even if they may not be buying for themselves, they may still be buying for someone else. So however tired you are, however unengaged they may appear to be, let good manners and common courtesy always be your watchword.
But in the end, you need to focus your time on those who may be the most productive. The best way to do this is to ‘qualify’ them. You can do this by gentle but very direct questioning.
For most professional businesses, exhibitions and trade shows are far more about finding well-qualified prospects rather then necessarily finding buyers there and then. Your prime goal may then be to win repeat business – not just one-off sales. So capturing the details of those you meet, who show an interest of any sort, must be a prime goal to support your future marketing and promotion.
Prepare for the follow-up…
After all the hard work of attending your trade show or exhibition, it is so tempting to pack up and go home, take a hot bath and rest your weary feet, and then deal with all the emails and post you have missed while you have been away!
For most exhibitors, this is when the ‘real work’ starts, converting all those precious qualified leads into sales. So do prepare your standard follow-up contact-messages and literature in advance, set yourself a deadline to get these out — within the next week.