Exhibiting at a trade show can be a really effective way of gaining new clients and retaining existing ones. However, to ensure you make the most out of the opportunity and the financial investment you need to make every effort do it right!

Our colleagues at Customer Focus (formerly Trade Only) have organised numerous trade shows and events so consequently know a thing or two about ensuring exhibition success. In this blog we share some of their top tips.

MAKE A POSITIVE IMPRESSION.

Visitors will form their opinion of your company based on their first impressions of the staff just as much as the products you are offering and the design of your stand. It is vital that your team are friendly and enthusiastic throughout the event, however much their feet may be aching at the end of the day!

TELL EVERYONE YOU ARE EXHIBITING.

It’s up to you to let the world know that you are exhibiting at the event. Research has shown that 76% of visitors attending a show will turn up with a set agenda meaning they will plan which companies they wish to visit prior to the event. If a visitor doesn’t know you’re going to be at there, they are not going to come to see you so make sure you tell them you will be there and why they should come and visit your stand.

COLLABORATE WITH THE ORGANISER

The event organisers will market the show to the best of their ability to ensure as many visitors, of the right quality, attend the event. Your job is to get as many of these people to visit your stand and working with the organiser will help you achieve this objective.

Use the marketing collateral supplied by the organiser to promote your attendance. This may include stickers, leaflets, emails and banners to advertise the event. Ask what they have available and use it!

Consider sponsorship opportunities for the show. This will increase your profile before and during the event.

Tell all your customers and prospects about the show, write to them, phone them, email them. Make sure you tell them why they should be coming to your stand before seeing anyone else!

BIG NO-NO’S

These are all the things you should NOT be doing on the stand:

Drinking, eating, smoking, chewing gum, bad breath, yawning, standing with hands in your pockets, sitting with your feet up, reading newspapers, mobile phones ringing or being answered, rubbish left lying around, arriving to your stand late in a harassed state. Finally, ladies, it is best to lay off the high heels, as you will potentially be on your feet for eight hours.

3-5 SECONDS

This is the average time it takes for a visitor to walk past your stand and decide whether to stop and talk, so this is why first impressions are so important.

DESIGN STAND

You want to make your visitors feel welcome to your stand so ensure it as open as possible. Cabinets and furniture can create barriers, as can high platforms.

Remember everything your company stands for is being exhibited on the show floor!

ASK OPEN QUESTIONS

When you have a visitor to the stand ask them open questions to engage them in conversation. For example:

–       What were you hoping to find here today?

–       Where have you travelled?

–       When was the last time you had your website updated?

–       What tools to you use to market your business?

Make sure you get details of all your visitors, who they work for and their position in the company. You need to find out who is visiting your stand and why they are there. Exchange business cards and scan badges.

FOLLOW UP

Before you attend the show you must ensure you have a strategy in place to follow up all the contacts you made at the show.

Prepare a ‘thank-you for visiting’ email or card in advance so this can be sent out straight after the event. Ensure it tells prospects you will be back in touch shortly so they are expecting your follow up call.

And make sure you do get back in touch. It may take more than one call to get to speak to them. However the show presents that all-important opportunity to make face-to-face contact that helps immensely in relationship development.

ENJOY!

Exhibitions are hard work but they can be fun too. They enable you to meet a high volume of new and existing customers, something that in normal circumstances would take several months to achieve so use this window of opportunity well.

AND FINALLY…

Should you be planning an exhibition or event then let us take the hassle out of making your project a success. Why not contact the team at Raphael Design for a free consultation? You can give us a call on 01543 261220 or send us an email.

Source: Customer Focus January 2015.

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