Attending an exhibition or trade show is exciting with a sense of anticipation of how your attendance will help grow your business. However, exhibitions can be an expensive business in both time and money so you need to make sure your make the most out of your investment.
At XL Displays we are experts in custom built exhibition stands and portable display equipment and we have some top dos and don’ts for when attending exhibitions.
- Choose the right show – take time to research and choose the exhibition which best meets your business needs. Attending the wrong event will be a waste of time and money. Read our article on choosing the right exhibition for some tips.
- Set clear objectives – it’s so important to know why you are attending an exhibition and what you want to achieve from going. Set clear, SMART objectives for the event to keep you focussed on success.
- Plan, plan and plan some more – if you don’t put the effort into planning every aspect of your stand then it will show and your business will come across as unprofessional. Plan your objectives, budget and everything to do with your attendance before, during and after the event.
- Have a welcoming stand – think about your stand design and make sure it is welcoming and open to visitors. If people have to navigate a barrier to get onto your stand they are less likely to visit. Make sure your staff know what they are doing and are welcoming, friendly and helpful, without be overbearing.
- Think of ways to attract visitors to your stand – this could be with a competition or giveaway. Make sure whatever your choose is relevant to your brand and will result in some kind of engagement with visitors. We have some great competition and giveaway ideas.
- Consider your people’s needs – exhibitions are long, tiring days and are hard work for your staff attending. Make sure you provide regular breaks for people so they can recharge their batteries. If the event is far away or more than one day consider overnight accommodation and meals for your team. Also, remember to thank them afterwards for their hard work and recognise if they have been away from family or other commitments to attend.
- Log sales leads – make sure you have a reliable system for logging sales leads. Record as much information as possible at the time as you will not necessarily remember who was who or what your scribbled notes mean in the days following the event.
- Follow up as soon as possible – it is so crucial to have a plan for following up sales leads as soon as possible after the show. Make sure you know who will be following up leads and in what time scale – this should be part of your exhibition plan.
- Review your performance – once the exhibition is over revisit your objectives and measure how you performed against them. Ask for feedback from your stand staff and use all this information to improve your attendance at the next exhibition.
- Make your business proud – when at an exhibition you, your staff and your stand are the face of your business so make sure you do yourselves proud.
- Assume – as the saying goes, “the devil is in the detail” so make sure you know and plan for all the details. Don’t assume anything about an exhibition, especially what is supplied. Always check, even the seemingly obvious things such as, is there WiFi available and is it free? Can you park near the venue to unload and pack up? What entry or security passes do you need to get into the venue? Is there a power supply to your stand space? If you deal with the detail beforehand your exhibition is much more likely to run smoothly.
- Choose the wrong team – make sure you have the most suitable people on your stand. They should be friendly, approachable and knowledgeable about your products or services. It is crucial to brief anyone who is representing you on the stand on your exhibition objectives and what you expect from them during the event.
- Be unapproachable – there is nothing worse than seeing someone on a trade show stand eating, drinking, on their phone, on a laptop, reading or sitting down looking bored. Make sure your staff are on their feet and look professional and approachable, ready to engage with passing visitors.
- Wing it – when it comes to setting up your stand and equipment don’t leave it until the event. Have a dry run beforehand so that you know exactly how the equipment is set up and make sure you have all the tools you need to set it up. This will also give you an idea of how the stand looks and works so you can adjust the layout if you need to. You can also time this practice run so you know how long it takes to set up the stand.
- Turn up late – if you arrive to set up your stand when the exhibition is due to begin or has already started you are wasting time and possibly missing valuable prospects by setting up late. Give yourself plenty of time to set up your stand so you are ready to go as soon as visitors start coming through the doors. If you have practised setting up your stand beforehand then you will know how much time you need.
- Leave stand unmanned – an exhibition stand without a host will not attract visitors and will not result in sales leads. Make sure you have enough staff to ensure the stand is manned at all times.
- Be obscure – make sure the design of your stand gives a clear message of who you are and what you do. It’s all very well having cutting edge artwork but if visitors don’t understand the design or realise who you are they will not be inclined to enter your stand. See our article on graphic design tips for some inspiration.
- Blow your budget – you set an exhibition budget for a reason and should have a plan of how to spend it and how to get the highest return on investment. If you blow your budget then your financial benefit of the exhibition will not be as high.
- Bad mouth the competition – it’s unprofessional and doesn’t give a good impression. Focus on your company’s strengths, unique selling points and what differentiates you from the competition. This will give a much better impression of your business.
For help and advice on exhibition stands or to find out about any of our portable display products, please contact us or call us on 01733 511030.