10 Rewarding Tips to Enhance Your Next Exhibition and Trade Show Stand

Jul 18 • Event Decoration & Exhibition Stands • 1195 Views • No Comments on 10 Rewarding Tips to Enhance Your Next Exhibition and Trade Show Stand

At Invent Creative & Event Solutions; and while we work hard and seek hard to make your next event a success, we know very well that running a stand at some trade show or an exhibition is a real hard work. But it is the way things go all around when conducting commerce by business sectors, and making the best of it is the right choice! How?
Well, here are some helpful tips we have brought to you by an international speaker and workshop presenter to shed light on ideas that can help make anyone’s investment in trade shows and exhibitions; whether large and professionally organized, or just local and small, more productive and rewarding.

1. Never Go Alone!
Since running a stand is a full-time job while an exhibition is on, leaving the stand unattended even for some minutes means losses for your investment. So even if you are a sole trader, take a partner with you, a family member, a pal or even a foreign-language student , from a local college looking for some work experience, and who can engage warmly with strangers and can understand your products range.

2. All to be Dressed Comfortably but Appropriately
Exhibition venues can vary all the way from being maybe very conditioned to very hot (especially when the venue is busy and brightly lit — as you hope it will be); they can even suffer leaks not to mention rain and wind if outside! So dress comfortably, in the dialect of your trade by all means and make sure all staff are dressed appropriately. A fabulous product display can so easily be ruined by scruffy stand-staff.

3. Be Punctual
Definitely this is obvious, not just in terms of getting a good parking space and ensuring packing materials, cables and any personal items are all out of sight before your event opens.

But if you are wise, you will also want to have time to find out where you can get refreshments, and check your pitch is to your liking and properly signed and supplied. Then, be sure to make friends with the organizers, check-out who else is exhibiting, and maybe catch-up with old friends briefly who are also exhibiting, if only out of courtesy.

4. Check Your Checklist
What checklist? The one you have carefully prepared in advance for all such events! This should include a record-book or enquiry-sheets of whom you are going to meet, their contact details, their interest in your wares and action to follow; maybe invoices if you are selling goods from your stand; notepads, pens, sticky tape, cabling and power-point adapters; possibly a first-aid kit for minor emergencies?; product literature, point-of-sale material and price lists; a vast stack of visiting cards – and anything else you might need. It will be impossible to start looking for these once the event has opened and you get busy, so you better you be prepared.

5. Stand Display
Here are some thoughts that you should remember as they apply universally by way of minimum good professional practice:

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 — send them round the exhibition to report back to you with highlights, or to stand at the entrance with an engaging leaflet and direct interested visitors to your stand!)

Focus — on what you specialize in and what you offer. Thus; No distractions such as amusing conversation with a colleague, or fanciable next-door exhibitor, texting, or a great book!

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;

Eye-friendly and exceptionally well lit displays — don’t forget, you are after your visitors’ ‘eye-share’ first!

Something to taste, smell, listen to, watch or feel? Yep, you need to appeal to all your visitors’ senses, as relevantly as you can;

Well-labelled displays — don’t let visitors try to guess what your business is about;

Themed product displays, grouped intelligently so they might relate to each other — not just a mish-mash of odd assortments thrown together;

Something for good prospects and general enquirers to take away to remember you by? Why not!

6. Make Friends with Your Neighbors
They are going to be as busy as you are — but they may be your very best accomplices. This is not entirely a selfless act of friendship. You may well have a spare power cable to lend or a spare bit of adhesive tape, and so may they! Let them know also about what you do and find out what their business is. You will want other non-competing exhibitors to refer visitors to your stand when appropriate, just as you will want to refer others to theirs.

7. Don’t Pounce!
Perhaps the worst thing you can do, as any shop-keeper ought to know (but often doesn’t!), is to ask: “Can I help you?” The simple answer for many passers-by is to say “No” and to go away. You can do so much better than that!
Unless you and your trusty colleagues are all very busy, far more helpful to bring passing visitors in to your stand may be:

first, just engage in eye-contact with all you can and smile;

Then, for those who return your eye-contact, ask something general and neutral such as: “Have you come far?”; “That’s a fabulous scarf/tie/shirt you are wearing!“; or even “How are you?” or “What do you make of the exhibition so far?”. Remember, most people prefer to buy from people they like, and will run a mile from those they don’t, so the first task may well be only a gentle relationship-building exercise;

After that, try a more specific question (but NOT “Can I help you?”!), such as: “What drew you to this event today?”; “Are you in search of anything in particular?”; “I saw you looking at XYZ — can I ask what caught your attention?”

Where you have a very clear product range, at this stage you can then (and must!) also ask: “Do you buy LMN?”; “Do tell me what interests you most about LMN?”; “Did you know we also supply OPQ?”; “Have you seen this…?” and even: “Would you like me to tell you more about it?”

8. 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, 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. In a business-to-business transaction, this can be much easier. Just ask: “Can I just note which company you represent?”; “Would you mind telling me your job title?“; “Can I ask what that involves?“; “Does your organization use our type of products/services?”; “May I ask whom your organization uses at the moment to supply these?”; “Is there anything you know of that could be even better?” and then: “Could I have your card?”.

Selling to the general public is often much more difficult because ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ can be so much more ambiguous, but we may all still be consumers! As the secret of a successful show is to meet as many good prospects and clients as possible in the time available, however you might rate each visitor, you will need to develop an exit strategy for each one so you can move on politely to meet others as soon as it is appropriate. So consider grading your visitors into a) “Thank you for your interest; I do hope you enjoy the rest of your visit here” (Time waster? – goodbye); b) “Do take a leaflet/card/sample” (Weak prospect? — polite closure for the moment); c) “Let’s make a date to meet again to talk in more detail when things are less busy” (Good prospect? — agree a next action before they go, such as a future appointment or call); d) “Let’s go and have a cup of coffee/bite to eat so we won’t be disturbed by others” (Red hot prospect, not to be let go of, or near your competitors!) – which is another reason why you need at least two people on your stand.)

9. Keep a note

For most professional businesses, exhibitions and trade shows are far more about finding well-qualified prospects rather than 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.
This requires real discipline when your stand is busy, and you can help yourself by designing a pro-forma enquiry sheet to record every live enquirer, even if you then do no more than say you will be back in touch. But do take note of what you have promised to do, before you turn to meet and greet your next visitor!

10. 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 posts you have missed while you have been away!
Well, 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?, and do make time for all those valuable, top-priority follow-up calls?
Now… just a little bit more!

To thank you for reading this article, here is not just one ‘free’ extra tip for you – but two!

First, ALWAYS calculate the cost of your attendance at an exhibition or trade show, and keep a track on its pay-back for you. Don’t go ‘because you always go’ — go because it was worth your investment!

Second, learn from others! Ask your existing customers what they liked and what they didn’t from the event they first ever saw you at, and ask why they bought from you that first time. Ask similar suppliers who will tell you, what works best for them? Exhibition organizers’ interest will be in winning your business back again, so the least they can do is to tell you who attended and what their wider feedback was.

And we wish you all good fortune!
Source: Brought to you with reference to the international workshop presenter of business topics; Jeremy Thorn, the author of the tips booklet ‘115 Essential Tips on Pricing’.

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