Best Exhibiting Practice
6 Quick Tips
- Choose the right show. Often there are a number of options. Choose the show with a good record of attracting your kind of buyers.
- Book your stand early. You will have a better choice of stands, lots of time for planning and may be eligible for an early booking discount
- Promote your participation leading up to the event. Send out letters/emails to all of your current and potential clients to let them know you will be at the show
- Design your stand so it looks professional and so your product is the most obvious feature. It is important that visitors know what you do.
- Search for qualified buyers at the show. Get your staff to be active in looking for the right people, qualifying their interest and recording their details
- Follow up straight after the show. The show is the first big step, but to get real results you need to contact all the buyers you met at the show.
The S.M.A.R.T Exhibitor
Reasons To Exhibit:
1. To make sales.
2. Interact with thousands of potential buyers and get quality leads.
3. Launch new products or offers.
4. Demonstrate your product.
5. Build relationships with your clients.
6. Conduct market research.
7. Position your brand.
8. Network with other exhibitors
You made a wise choice and decided to promote your business at an exhibition….. Now what?
Exhibitions are a great way for your company to directly interact with thousands of qualified potential customers.
So…. What’s your Plan?
Although interacting with people can be fun, an exhibition is potentially more than just a marketing opportunity. Ultimately it should generate business for you—SALES!
First things first, what do you want to achieve?
Before we go any further you need to set some goals for the event and not just “I want to have a good exhibition.”
Let’s be S.M.A.R.T.
To have the best possible result you must set clear goals and they must be:
- Specific: You must be very clear about the result you want. For example if you are selling a product then how many units do you want to sell and do you want to target a particular market segment?
- Measureable: How will you measure the specific goal you have set? Will this simply be by the units sold, revenue generated, leads collected, appointments made, information given out, etc?
- Achievable: Established exhibitions have a range of data available including past numbers, demographics and exhibitor feedback. They also have an experienced team, with whom you can “bounce” your objectives off. Taking this into consideration, are your goals still achievable?
- Realistic: Only you will know if your goals are realistic. Avoid setting goals you know can’t be achieved. They may put too much pressure on the staff working at the exhibition and have a negative impact on their attitude.
- Time frame: What is the time frame for your results to be achieved? Some companies set their time frame as the show dates as they only sell product from their stand. Others have a time frame of six months, because they need to make appointments or custom build, eg. Kitchens. The time frame that you allocate should be consistent with your standard sales time or sales cycle.
- Two common goals companies have are:
1. I want to get my brand out there.
2. I want to sell product(s) and make …. money.
Setting these as S.M.A.R.T. Goals could be:
- I want to promote product v by talking to x people and handing out y brochures and booking z appointments within t
days / weeks of the exhibition.
- I want to generate $a in sales net/ gross. To do this I will need to sell b units at/ within c days of the exhibition.
You’ve developed your goals so be aware of the message you’re sending to visitors. Be clear and don’t try to send too many messages. You only have a few seconds of their attention when they pass your stand. Make it easy for them to instantly know
what you do.
Allow enough room for customers to stand on your stand. If they’re in the aisle because you’ve jammed too much product in, or not allowed sufficient space, you may lose them. As a general rule, allow 50% of the stand for products, staff and furniture and 50% for visitors.
Once you’ve set your goals your staffing needs to be considered. Can you achieve your goals with promo staff or do you need to put your top sales people on the stand because they know your product best?
Make sure whatever you decide, you allocate enough staff to allow them to rotate through breaks or organise shifts. Doing this will allow your staff to be fresher and have a more positive attitude when talking to potential customers.
The better your stand looks the more people want to look at it! It’s no coincidence that the best looking and most innovative stands consistently get good results from exhibitions. Like everything
else we’ve covered, a little forward planning goes a long way.
Things To Do
- Know your stuff. Make sure that staff attending your stand know the product, what you’re offering and most importantly, your goals and objectives for exhibiting.
- Dress to impress. Make sure that your stand looks great with signs, product, visitor enticements and well presented staff.
- Read the Exhibitor Manual. Yes it’s boring but it’s there for you. The manual contains everything you need to know to avoid problems and keep your costs to a minimum. Booking services onsite usually incurs an extra cost and causes extra stress.
- Ask. If you need something that is not in the manual ask the organizer.
- Book Early. Exhibition’s can be 50 –80% booked for the following year within the first four weeks after they finish. The earlier you book, the greater chance you have of getting the stand you want (size and position really do count!)
- Book adequate space. Make sure that you book enough space for your product and visitors. Cramped stands are not enticing and the visitors won’t want to encroach.
- Show specials. These and competitions provide a good incentive for visitors to purchase or give their details on the spot. By doing both you get an extra opportunity.
- Advertise. Tell your customers you’ll be at the show and invite them to your stand. Many organizers provide discounted or free tickets just so you can do this. It’s a great value add for you and your customers.
Things To Avoid
- Eating or drinking on the stand. People will be less likely to come on your stand as they won’t want to interrupt your ‘private time.’
- Talking on your phone or reading the paper. Most people would consider this rude and simply keep moving.
- Staff grouping in clusters. This makes visitors less likely to approach staff as they may feel intimidated.
- Bad Posture & Grumpy faces. Staff with their hands in their pockets, folded arms or “leave me alone looks” are a sure way to scare potential buyers away.