Top Tips for Trade Show Management
Whether it’s your first time exhibiting at a trade show, or your 100th time, it never fails to be prepared and put a strategy in place in order to get the most value out of the experience. At Priority Exhibitions, we have been helping clients to exhibit since 1989, and we know all too well the time and effort that goes into a successful exhibition. This is why we’ve put together a few helpful hints and tips to get you through the day:
Preparation is Key
On a day like this, there is so much going on in your head that you have to remember that it isn’t such a bad idea to make a good old-fashioned checklist. In fact, it’s a brilliant idea so that you don’t forget anything before it’s too late. Make a list of everything you need to take with you, who you expect to meet and talk to once you’re there etc, but don’t do it alone. This is not a one-man band kind of gig! Running an exhibition stand is a demanding job and there are points that you might have to leave your stand because, after all, you can’t be expected to go all day without breaks. Leaving your stand unattended, however, is never recommended as every second is a loss of valuable investment time.
The Early Bird gets the Worm
If you are fully prepared for the day, there is no reason you can’t arrive in plenty of time so that you can begin to set up without the stress and panic of having to rush around. While this may seem an obvious piece of advice, there are certain aspects of the day that you might overlook but that you can make the most of with this added time you squeeze in before the event opens. If there’s a problem with your pitch, you have time to address it with event organisers. You can take a moment to locate the nearest toilets and refreshments. Stake out the competition, perhaps, and have a brief chat with some old friends? Time is valuable so use it wisely.
Look the Part
This goes for display presentation (which Priority Exhibitions will always take care of) as well as personal appearance. When it comes to exhibition venues, it can be one of numerous extremes. With big open spaces, you can often feel the cold, but depending on the lighting and the foot traffic, it can be a totally opposite story. You need to be prepared for this, while dressing appropriately within the realms of your industry, looking presentable and approachable to the passing delegates. In terms of your stand, what works best for your company might not work for someone else. You should have an idea of this and you can always learn from your competitors, both what to do and what not to do. Though, in general, some basic guidelines to follow include…
Decluttering – ensure your display isn’t overly busy, but enough that you look professional and as though you mean business. Clutter applies to everything from half-eaten lunches to dawdling staff. If someone has nothing to do, find them something to do.
Sense Appeal – you need to appeal to passers-by through an engaging display that is easy on the eye, well-lit and efficiently labelled. Depending on your business, are you offering something for your clients to touch, taste, smell, watch, hear? Or something to take away with them?
Display Intelligence – don’t just throw your stand together; be strategic about placement and orientation. Group sections together into themes that flow nicely into one another for an easy, natural experience. Of course, if you are using an exhibition stand contractor such as Priority Exhibitions, you will have nothing to worry about in terms of display.
It’s Nice to be Nice
This is something to take with you in general life as well as in business because being nice really does have a pay off. Get to know the other exhibitors, because they’ll be the ones you have to turn to when you need to borrow something. If you’re really lucky you might even gain some referrals from non-competitors. Extend this friendly attitude to your customers alike, as nothing is won by force. It’s easy to jump right in and try to secure a sale when you notice interest, but this can be rather off-putting for many people. Instead, maintain composure, hold back a little and try a softer approach. Start by making eye contact and exchanging a smile before breaking the ice with a friendly question such as simply “How are you?” or “Are you enjoying the day?” This will then lead to more direct and purposeful questions so that you can gain an understanding of where each person is coming from and what they are looking for.
Get In, Get Out
Leading on from our last point, you need to get to the bottom of the intentions of each customer as this is valuable time that you can’t afford to waste on someone that isn’t interested. That said, it’s important not to judge a book by its cover as it’s hard to know who might just be wasting your time at first glance. Once you’ve established conversation you can start to delve deeper into why they’re at the event and what they’re looking for. If you feel as though you’re getting nowhere, always maintain politeness and perhaps try to direct them in the right direction. It’s about being productive and focusing your attention where it’s needed. With valuable clients ensure you take notes such as contact details, points of interest and next steps in turns of actions and promises you’ve made. This can be made a lot easier by designing helpful enquiry forms that will also exude professionalism.
It’s all well and good exhibiting at events such as this, drumming up interest and gaining potential client information, but without a proper plan of action in place afterwards it will have all been for nothing. Implement standard follow-up procedures within a week of the exhibition so that you can contact all of your potential leads, especially the high-profile, valuable contacts that you’ve gained. While you may still be exhausted from the event, this is where the real work begins and the sales start to come in.