How to Perfect Exhibiting

Attending an exhibition can bring many benefits to a business – you can gain qualified leads, increase awareness of your brand, network with others in your industry and maybe find new partners or suppliers. However, exhibiting does bring with it certain costs – booking the space and sourcing a stand plus the costs of hotels for staff can all add up. So how can you ensure that these don’t outweigh the benefits? Planning carefully will help make exhibiting a success. Here we cover some of the steps to take.

1. Make sure the show is right for you

With many exhibitions taking place throughout the year it can be tricky to know which one will be a good fit for your business. Partly it depends on your ambitions, a larger trade show will enable you to generate more leads but if your aim is to establish yourself within your industry, a smaller, more specialised event, might be more appropriate. It’s a good idea to investigate the audience an event attracts, are they your ideal customer? You may be able to get a list of exhibitors from a show organiser, if all your competitors are exhibiting then that’s a sign that you should be there too.

2. Set targets

It’s essential to define your goals for the exhibition in order to measure its success. Do you want to:

  • Generate leads – if so how many do you hope to get?

Increase brand awareness

  • Sell products – how many?
  • Make new contacts – maybe find new partners

Network

  • Seek resellers for your products
  • Gain knowledge from the presentations

Train your staff in sales techniques

Try to set out quantifiable goals so that you can establish whether it was worth the investment.

(Stand con staff) Aquafax

3. Start planning early

To secure the best space and source a good stand, you will need to be organised. Ideally start planning for an exhibition 6-9 months in advance. Keep an eye out for when booking opens and get a floorplan as soon as possible. Give your exhibition stand contractor plenty of time to design the best stand for you too, the process may take a few months. You will also need time to source promotional items, and it’s a good idea to get the event in your staffs’ diaries.

4. Select the best space

Where you are located in the exhibition hall can have a significant impact on the success of the show. You want to be in a busy area, but not too busy like right at the entrance where people want to move away from it. Areas where visitors gather are a good option, such as near restaurants or toilets. Or at an intersection where you are getting people from every direction. Find out, if possible, where the main players in the industry are located. They will attract the crowds which could benefit you. Visit the venue prior to the show to work out the good positions.

5. Market your attendance

Contact your database of customers and prospects to tell them about your attendance prior to the show. Use it as an opportunity to meet up with them, you can either show off your stand or meet up at a restaurant. Market your attendance on social media, you can link up with the organiser’s pages and use the same hashtag as them. Make sure you submit your entry to the show catalogue in time and, if your budget allows, advertise in the catalogue or on the show signage.

6. Consider your stand

Your exhibition stand design is what will draw the crowds so put a lot of thought into it. A memorable slogan and eye-catching graphics will help you to stand out. Ensure that your logo can be read from a distance and keep text to the top of the stand so that it isn’t obscured by furniture or people. Don’t include too much text, save that for your brochure. Being taller than your competitors can also work so look at having high-level branding.  Don’t rely on the hall lighting, use spotlights to highlight your stand. 

7. Go interactive

Interactive equipment on a stand can help draw attention from visitors. Having a TV running video presentations or iPads for people to use is a good idea. If you have the budget why not look into virtual reality games, these are being adopted by several exhibitors. 

Allow visitors to touch your products if possible, the more they can interact with something, the more likely they are to buy it. Demonstrate how your product works, this may attract attention.

8. Train your staff

One of the biggest mistakes exhibitors make is having bored looking staff, on their phones, chatting to each other or eating. This is really off-putting and gives a bad impression of the company. Ensure your staff use welcoming body language and can engage well with visitors. Ban mobile phones and food from the stand. Train them in sales techniques and make sure they know all about the products and company.

9. Have a giveaway

Exhibitions are renowned for the freebies you can gather. But they do draw people in and if you can provide something useful that will sit on their desk, rather than go in the bin, your brand name will remain in their memory. Think about sourcing memory sticks or reusable coffee cups which people are likely to use.

10. Run a competition

Hosting a competition on the stand can be a great way to get visitor details. They provide you with their information in exchange for the chance to win a prize. Make sure the prize is worth it though.

11. Qualify leads well

Take as much information down as you can about every person who shows an interest in your products, as you probably won’t remember after the show. Using lead capture software can help automate the process and avoid tedious data entry after the event. Classify leads into hot, warm and cold so that the salesperson knows which to follow up first. Avoid spending too much time with those just there to win a prize, your staff should be able to qualify leads quickly.

12. Follow up the leads

Hot leads should be contacted within a week of the show so you are still fresh in their minds. Warm leads should be emailed within a couple of weeks to thank them for stopping by ask if they’d like further information. Don’t disregard cold leads, you never know when they may turn into a hot lead. Keep them up to date with what you are doing by sending occasional emails or newsletters.

Summary

Exhibitions can bring many benefits. But perfecting exhibiting takes some planning, your show will only be a success if properly organised. Booking the best space and designing the best stand should be done well in advance. For help with your next exhibition stand contact us on 0800 019 2141 or email design@exhibition-stands.com

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