Many experienced sales and business people fail to achieve the full potential of the exhibitions they participate in because they think they know what to do.

Exhibiting is your normal business environment and if not take the time to learn how to manage the opportunity to best advantage you will not achieve the potential business which a successful event can offer.

Before the Event

Make sure you choose the right exhibition – check the visitor profile matches your customer profile.

Avoid the ‘me too’ reasons for attending a show (i.e. ‘My competitors are there so I had better go too’), better to make participation part of your overall marketing strategy.

Set objectives for your participation at the event be it sales, market research, demonstrations, account management, data capture etc. – you can have more than one !

Make sure your objectives are measurable, realistic and have a time frame. For example ‘Meet new sales leads’ is not a measurable objective, but ‘Meet a minimum of 50 new sales leads that result in orders of €XX being placed within three months of the show’ is an objective you can measure.

Design and staff your stand to meet the objectives you have set. If you are planning to close deals on the stand, then make sure you have the right quality of properly trained staff with the ability and authority to negotiate with buyers.

Make the most of pre-show PR and advertising. The show’s organiser can help you promote your business, provided you tell them what you are doing!

Be aware of sponsorship opportunities – again your show organiser can help you raise your profile through sponsorship opportunities

Arrange for the show website to be linked to yours and put your stand details on your website.

Let your existing customers and other visitors know you will be attending the show and tell them what you are exhibiting.

Train your stand staff so they know what is expected of them and monitor their performance.

During the show

Hold daily briefings with your stand staff so they are clear what the objectives of the day are

Spend the optimum time you can with visitors. Make appointments with the right ones and politely filter away the wrong people.

Speak ‘fluent’ body language – be welcoming, out-going and inviting.

Classify all leads at the time you take them. You need to record what the customer is interested in, what stage they are at in the project, is a quotation or site visit required?

It is important to have a number of leading question to ask visitors such as ‘What are you looking for at the show?’ Never ask ‘Can I help you?’ It may seem polite, but is guaranteed to end the conversation with ‘No thanks, I’m just looking.’

Run free entry competitions, make special offers and show discounts to encourage decisions on the day

Make sure it is immediately obvious what your stand is about and what products you offer. You won’t have long to capture your visitors’ attention – help them out, make it obvious!

Keep the stand business focused. Don’t use it as a means to meet your friends in the industry.

And afterwards…

De-brief the team – understand what did and did not work

Measure your immediate results against your objectives

Track your leads and results over time to understand the real value of the business gained – this may be done over weeks, months and sometimes years.

Follow up all contacts made at the show by sending emails or making calls – you would be amazed how many companies fail to do this!

If you have had a successful show because you have made the effort to get it right… book for next year!

Making Your Stand Work Watch Video

Tip for Successful Exhibiting Watch Video

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