After many months of preparation, the day has finally arrived, and you are ready to step onto the exhibition stand at your trade show.
For some businesses, exhibiting at a trade event can be nerve-wracking and for others it’s an exciting way to engage with customers. However, you’re feeling on the big day, this type of event is the ideal way for you to place your products or services in front of your customers and really explain what it’s all about.
Hopefully you’re passionate about what you’re offering and your staff are well versed and share your vision for the company, if that’s the case then the clients that visit your stand will have a positive experience.
Here are our top tips to help you get more from your event investment.
Plan plan plan
In the months leading up to this point, you will have to plan, book, design, print and calculate. You’ll need the stand to look fabulous, do you need a stand designed and built? Do you have brochures and other collateral visitors can take away with them, why will they remember you after visiting all those other businesses?
It’s essential that you consider every little detail, from how you will be travelling to the show to who will be putting the stand together. Make sure that all logistics are taken care of well in advance, so that you can concentrate on promoting your company without any distractions.
Staffing your stand
Always ensure that you have enough people to deal with all anticipated visitors to your stand. Too many staff and it may seem that your area is overcrowded. There’s nothing worse than a stand full of staff but no customers!
Body language is really important here, no slouching over the desk or playing on your phone or laptop. Make sure to appear friendly and approachable at all times.
Dress to impress
Whilst it’s important that you are dressed to look smart, you need to remember that you’ll be spending a long time on your feet so comfort is also of the upmost importance. Flat shoes are a must!
Keep it clean
Your stand display should be well lit, attractive and eye catching. Having enough collateral on display to draw attention and to give to prospects is great and also gives the quieter visitors something to look over before deciding whether to engage. It’s important that your product or literature displays don’t appear overcrowded or cluttered, throw out those empty coffee cups, keep it clean!
Social media can be your best friend at an exhibition or trade show. Use live tweeting as a way to interact with customers at the show and raise awareness of your stand. You can also use twitter to engage customers into a stand competition or have a live stream of your tweets or the events hashtags to make your stand more interesting.
You're looking to win leads and attract new business, after all you’ve invested in the exhibition space, the stand design, all sorts of collateral, not to mention your time and that of your staff to prepare and participate. But wait, go gently! There’s nothing more unattractive than an over-zealous salesman jumping on an unsuspecting visitor. Use your friendly and welcoming approach to engage your visitors in interaction, ask them open questions about their business and whether they could use your products or services to draw them into natural communication.
Don’t forget to follow up
You can win some exciting leads at exhibitions but without follow up they may go nowhere. Ensure you have a way of storing information about your stand visitors. Not everyone carries business cards these days so you may just want a way to jot down their contact info and a bit about them.
I find it helpful to write a little about what we discussed if there’s anything pertinent but do this after they’ve gone so your attention is with them while they’re at the stand.
You can keep a list of visitor info, either on a tablet, laptop or just paper. However you choose to do it, you must ensure that all visitors to your stand are followed up in good time and with relevant information. These potential new customers are, after all, the very reason you exhibited in the first place.