Taking stands at trade shows and exhibitions can be a very effective way to promote your business but while many business owners make the big investment, they forget the little things that make the big difference. Here are my top tips to get the most from your next trade show or exhibition.
You’d be surprised how easy it is to have very busy show, with lots of people visiting the stand, lots of meetings and lots of good leads, but still end up with very little by way of results. It’s often down to a poor understanding of what’s to be achieved. Experienced exhibitors set specific goals and routinely check progress throughout the show to ensure the objectives are achieved. The objective at a retail show may be to achieve sales of €50,000; at a public exhibition, it may be to gather contact details for five hundred people interested in your product; while at a trade fair, it may be to meet with two distributors or agents for each target market. Of course, there may be more than one objective, but there is usually a primary one. Write it down, tell your team and focus all efforts on achieving it.
Promote Your Stand
Let your contacts know you will be exhibiting. Invite them to visit your stand. Send key contacts free passes for the event. Make appointments to meet the most important ones. Even if they are not planning to visit the event, the fact that you are exhibiting lets them know that you’re taking your business seriously.
Manage Your Time
It’s almost impossible to do a show on your own, unless it’s very quiet, in which case, why you are there! Depending on the size of the show you may need two or more staff to meet and greet, provide basic information, take contact details and make appointments. Your own time should only be spent on what only you can do to achieve your objectives for the show; providing detailed information, developing relationships, discussing terms or even closing sales.
Make New Friends
Often valuable contacts can be made outside the event. Generally, there are one or more hotels associated with the event. Take the trouble to book into one of them. They can be more expensive but the extra cost is more than made up for by the increased potential to make valuable contacts, not to say the reduced travel time between the event centre and the hotel.
And make the effort to talk to people in the lunch queue, the coffee queue or even on the bus or train to and from the show venue. I’ve heard of one client who first met a business partner in the airport departure lounge on the way to the event!
Follow Up Immediately
Keep the days immediately after the show free to follow up. Use the time to send out products, to prepare quotations, to post promised literature or to touch base with a phone call, email or card to say thanks. Prompt follow up creates a positive impression, it says that you are organised, professional and that you value the relationship whether they are client, prospect or business contact.
Stand Out from the Crowd
Many shows and exhibitions have hundreds, if not thousands, of stands. Visitors work their way up and down countless aisles that very quickly look the same. Your stand must stand out from the crowd. Use effective displays to attract attention and run demonstrations, either live or recorded, to generate interest. Encourage your team to be outgoing, friendly, courteous and helpful. If possible, create a space where you can meet visitors without interruption. Ensure that the overall stand creates a positive, professional, successful impression. If an exhibition is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. And if you can’t afford to do it well, attend as a visitor this year and use what you learn to prepare for an even better show next year.
Text source: www.mybusiness.ie
Photo: Fan Regan, The Printing Rooms at Showcase 2012