How To Start Preparing for Your Next Event



Attending a trade show or exhibition takes a lot of event planning, we recommend starting at least 6 months before the event in order to book the best space and organise an exhibition stand.  Here we have part 3 of our exhibition planning guide.  Last week we covered how to organise your exhibition stand, this week we look into how to prepare for your exhibition by covering the following points; setting goals, selecting and training your staff, promotional items and arranging meetings with existing customers. These are just some of the things you need to consider when planning an event.

Set your goals for the event

The first thing to consider is what you are trying to achieve at the event.  You should set a number of qualified leads that you want to generate, the people you want to target and network with, which competitors to look out for and meetings you want to arrange.  Having a proper event plan will help the exhibition be a success.


Selecting your staff

Selecting your staff is one of the hardest things to consider when planning your event.  Taking demotivated or unknowledgeable staff who sit around looking at their phones all day will ruin the exhibition for you.  Pick the right staff and you will gather hot leads, increasing your return on investment (ROI) which will result in a successful event.

Staff should be knowledgeable enough about your products to talk at length to visitors and be able to answer all their questions in depth. They should also be friendly, presentable and able to qualify leads and close deals.  The best booth staff have a lot of experience within the business, great people skills, easily approachable and have a positive attitude.

You need to have enough staff to man the stand and allow for breaks, so four or five will probably be enough depending on the size of your stand.  While other executives might plan to attend the show and visit the stand it’s important not to overcrowd it with staff members chatting amongst themselves as this will only put visitors off.

Arranging promotional items

Branded giveaways are a good way to attract visitors to your stand, everyone loves a freebie.  Try to come up with something more original than a pen!  It is a good idea to choose something that people will use, for instance, mouse mats, USB sticks or reusable coffee cups. 

Buying lots of branded merchandise can get expensive so make sure you shop around and look for bulk discounts.  If you go for a higher value item it might be a good idea to only give them out to serious leads.

Stand Activities

As well as promotional items it is a good idea to hold competitions on the stand.  People can provide you with their details for a chance to win a prize.  That prize could be related to your products or services, make sure it is worth it.  This is a good way to gather leads, they may not be hot leads that will immediately become customers but they can be nurtured for the future.

Arranging Meetings

Attending an industry-specific event is the perfect opportunity to arrange to meet up with customers or prospects.  This could either be on the stand or afterwards, in the evening.  Plan a few meetings around the event, business leaders will all be attending, but you’ll need to be quick as other businesses will be trying to do the same. 

Meeting existing customers is a good way to build and maintain your relationship.  You may even be able to sell them further products or services.  You have invested a lot into an eye-catching stand so why not show it off to your customers.


Training your staff

The staff you select should all be aware of your goals for the event.  Make it a competition to see who can gather the most leads.  There is nothing like a bit of healthy competition to motivate people.

You need to make sure they are all up to speed on your products and services to be able to talk convincingly to prospects.  Ensure they can demonstrate the products correctly if appropriate.  If you plan to have meetings on the stand make sure they know who it will be with and will recognise them.  If you are using lead gathering software, train them all to use it before the event.  Set rules such as no food or phones on the stand and tell them to hide personal items away.

An exhibition takes many hours of planning which is why we have broken it up into smaller segments.  This covers just a few aspects to successfully plan an event.  Next week we will cover venue arrangements.  For help arranging your next event call us on 0800 019 2141 or email


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