Exhibitions are a big investment for most businesses, but exhibiting can also provide many benefits that provide a return on that investment. The main benefit that businesses focus on when exhibiting is turning the leads they have generated into loyal customers.
At events and exhibitions businesses generally don’t sell their product or service at the venue, instead they provide information about what they do, talk about new products they are launching or show off prototypes that will be available in the future. Through this they generate interest in their product which may not pay off straight away, but can generate sales, days, weeks, months or even years after the event has finished.
Exhibiting is one of the only mediums which allows you to interact with your potential customers in person, giving you a significant advantage over other promotional methods such as TV advertising or cold calling.
We’ve come up with 5 top tips to help you make the most of your upcoming exhibition and make a return on your investment:
- Set SMART Exhibition Objectives
Why are you exhibiting, and what do you want to achieve from this exhibition? These are questions you should be asking yourself before you attend the event. Setting proper objectives for your event is one of the first steps to success.
The objectives you set should follow the SMART acronym, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based. Doing this will assist in tracking and completing your objectives, therefore improving your return on investment for the event.
An example of a SMART exhibition objective could be: “To generate 50 new leads over the duration of this event by creating a memorable exhibition experience for our visitors”
When you set objectives in this manner you will be able to measure your success, and adjust the objectives accordingly for your next exhibition. For example, if your target is to generate 50 new leads, but you only generate 30, you can look at why this occurred and what you can do to improve on that for next time.
When setting objectives it is also important to think about the different benefits that an exhibition can provide. For example, you can set objectives to enhance brand awareness, generate press/publicity, identify and recruit new staff and many more.
- Create an Impressive Exhibition Stand
Your exhibition stand is likely to be an exhibition attendee’s first point of contact with your business. Visitors will see your stand before they see you, which means you need an impressive and inviting exhibition stand to draw in visitors.
The design of your stand needs to be attractive, but informative at the same time – there’s no point in having a display that is visually appealing but doesn’t tell anyone who you are or what you do. The best stand artwork provides the best of both worlds. Graphics should be visually appealing whilst representing your brand, and any text should be bold, easy to read and concise. People aren’t going to stop to read paragraphs of text printed on your exhibition stand.
High level branding, such as our Formulate hanging structures, allow your business to be seen across the exhibition hall and puts your brand at a level that everyone can see. This helps attendee’s to easily find where you are located, drawing in more potential customers.
The interior of your exhibition stand should be kept presentable and professional at all times. Including accessories on your exhibition stand, such as iPad displays and a monitor stand, is another great way to draw in visitors.
At XL Displays we offer a professional, in-house graphic design service, one of our graphic designers will work with you to create artwork for your stand that meets your brief perfectly.
- Choose the Right Event Staff
Choosing the right team for your exhibition is an important part of exhibition success and shouldn’t be overlooked. After an attendee choses to visit your stand, your staff members will have to effectively engage the visitor and get them interested in the product or service you are providing.
When choosing your team, ensure the people you are choosing actually want to attend and work the event. Picking someone who doesn’t want to be there means they aren’t going to be putting all of their effort into the event. Team members should also have an enthusiastic, outgoing attitude.
It is also important to think about how big your event team will be. Not enough staff members and the team can become stressed and unable to take any breaks, but too many and your exhibition stand can become crowded with staff that have nothing to do.
It can be a good idea to hold a training session before the event, ensuring the whole team know the ins and outs of the product/service they are promoting as well as some good techniques for talking to prospects. Some things to remember are that you should listen to the prospect and sell the benefits not the features of your product. It’s also important they make eye contact with the visitor and smile.
- Classify the Leads you Generate
It should be your team’s priority to take the information of the prospects they meet at the exhibition. This can be done in a variety of ways including writing down information in a notepad, adding their information to an excel spreadsheet, or making use of lead capture technology and apps.
No matter what method you use, it is beneficial to categorise the leads generated in terms of how likely they are to want to purchase from you. The most common method of categorising leads is by ‘temperature’, each lead can be classified as one of four temperatures – hot, warm, cool and cold. A ‘hot lead’ is one that is most likely to become a customer, so the sales person dealing with leads will want to contact them before any other leads.
Classifying the leads generated in this fashion will greatly help to improve sales conversions and gives the sales team a better idea of who is most likely to want to make a purchase.
After categorising your leads, you should start following up on them almost immediately, don’t assume that the prospects you meet at the event will contact you. If you don’t receive a response the first time you follow up, don’t give up. Be persistent and continue to try and contact the prospect.
You should also take into account what day of the week it is and what time you are trying to contact the prospect. For example, if you send a follow up email on a Sunday morning it is likely to be missed or ignored. Research suggests that the best days to send B2B emails are Tuesdays and Wednesday between 9am and 12am. You should do your own testing to find out what day and time works best for you, and stick to that.
- Debrief Your Exhibition Team
Debriefing your team is an important part of the exhibition process – this is the point where you can identify what went well with the event, what didn’t and how you can improve for next time.
When conducting your debrief, start it off with an informal chat, let everyone know that they are free to share their honest thoughts and feelings about how the event went. Honest feedback is always the most helpful!
After this you should review the objectives you set. Take a list of your exhibition objectives into the debrief and go through them one by one, discussing with the team if they feel the objectives were achieved or not. For sales based objectives you may not be able to provide a full conclusion, as they can take time after the event to achieve.
Finally, at the end of the meeting give a quick recap of the overall performance of the event and ask your team what they think can be improved for next time, you can gather some valuable ideas this way. At this point you can also give out the after-event tasks such as following up on leads etc.
We hope these tips help you to improve your event sales at your next exhibition.
At XL Displays we are experts in exhibition stand design and offer a wide range of display equipment, from portable display stands to bespoke exhibition stands.
For more information on our product range or graphic design service, please contact us or call us on 01733 511030.