HOW TO EXHIBIT
An exhibition is the only marketing medium that brings qualified buyers straight to your company for face-to-face interactions. It’s also the only medium to harness all five senses, letting you demonstrate products, answer questions, overcome objections and – most importantly – build relationships with your customers and prospects.
Improve your trade event by doing a few simple things before, during and after a show.
BEFORE THE EVENT
Planning will pay big dividends. Spend a little time and thought planning before an exhibition.
1. Set specific goals
The tighter the goals, the better your chances of achieving them. Do you want to generate sales leads, launch a new product, find new dealers, demonstrate your product to top buyers, make appointments, write orders from your stand?
2. Plan the stand to meet the goals
Your stand location, design and activities should reflect what you hope to achieve.
3. Tell people why they should visit you
The simplest and most obvious tactic of all is also, amazingly, the least practised: tell the world what you’re up to! Research has shown that 83% of the most successful companies at a range of exhibitions (in terms of business generated and leads collected) were the ones that took the trouble to mail to their prospects and customers before the show.
We have found a sales call and/or email to be an effective way of notifying exhibitor contacts that you are going to be at the Show. In an email you can include a See Us At Logo plus some details including:
- The Event name
- Dates and Times
- How to register as a trade visitor or buy tickets
- Your Stand number
- What you will be showing
- Offer to make an appointed time to meet them at your stand
4. Make the most of pre-show PR and advertising
You can mail your own lists or buy in a list. Participate in any PR or advertising opportunities offered by the event organiser.
The Ideal Interiors Expo team is always looking for interesting media stories from our exhibitors. We can promote these stories through our website, e-newsletters and our extensive network of industry media. If you have an interesting story, background or new product that you would like to share.
Run your own ads in industry publications leading up to the Show. Include a ‘See us on Stand 20’ flag on your advertisements which is an effective way notify the industry that you will be at the Show and tell them where they can find you.
5. Don’t forget sponsorship opportunities
Sponsorship can be an extremely cost-effective way to jump out of the pack at your next exhibition. But some of the best sponsorships are custom made programs designed by the organiser and exhibitor sitting down together and brainstorming. Talk to the organiser. Tell them your goals and your budget. The only limit is your imagination.
6. Train your show staff
The first rule of exhibitions is ‘The people make the stand’. Make sure yours are well trained for the job.
7. Use the web
All shows have websites to promote the event and register visitors. Use your website; it’s a great place to promote your presence at the show.
DURING THE EVENT
1. Brief your stand staff each day
The people on your stand make the difference between a good event and a great event. A highly motivated, well-informed team does more than any other factor to differentiate you from the other stands and make an impact on your market.
2. Spend the optimum amount of time with visitors
The key to success is to find the right people and spend the right amount of time with them. The optimum time per visitor will depend on your goals. Make sure you’ve planned a system that matches your needs.
3. Speak fluent body language
Smiles, eye contact, open questions…it may be common sense but it’s not so common in practice!
4. Focus on your key targets
Decide who your key targets are and brief your team to focus on them. Set your goals accordingly.
5. Collect lead information
High or low tech – collecting business cards from the pre-screened prospects is easy, but consider lead trackers for capturing even more data about your visitor, plus it’s quicker than data capturing business cards.
6. Leads: it’s all about quality!
The best exhibitors don’t just measure the number of leads generated, they measure lead quality as well.
7. Earn media coverage
Invite key journalists to visit your stand – or visit theirs. Keep a good supply of bright, well-presented literature available to the Media via the Organisers and ask the show organiser to steer the right journalists your way.
To discuss your media plan, ideas or possible opportunities we suggest contacting our Media Officer as they will be able to, where appropriate, co-ordinate your media story with other media surrounding the Show.
8. Keep it all business
Current customers might expect to monopolise your time. Unless they’re your main reason for attending, try to set aside specific times for customers. Networking and social contacts are part of the appeal of an exhibition, but you’ll want to keep it under control.
AFTER THE EVENT
Now is the time to follow through all of the new opportunities you’ve generated.
1. De-brief the team
When you get back to the office, sit down with the stand staff and key managers. Do an honest assessment of what worked and what didn’t. Your staff’s insights are a valuable asset, especially while their impressions are still fresh.
2. Measure your results
Remember your specific, measurable goals? Now is the time to measure your success against them. If you exceeded your goals, try to determine why, so you can replicate that success at the next show. If you fell short, figure out what you could do better.
3. Track the leads
Don’t just evaluate your results immediately after the event. Many companies do written lead-tracking reports three, six and even nine months after a major exhibition to track the new contacts right through to the bottom line.
4. Follow up all contacts
Every visitor to your stand should receive a timely follow-up. The degree of follow-up will depend on the classification of the contact, ranging from a simple thank-you letter to a sales visit, phone call or information pack.
5. Follow through on all press releases
Call all the editors you mailed your press releases to or who visited you on your stand. Ask if there’s any more information they might need. Tell them of your successes at the show.
6. Reserve a place for next year!
If you’ve met or exceeded your goals, now is the time to lock in a prime location at the next event. Visit the Expo Sales Office, or make sure you see a floorplan so you can reserve your stand early.
We can help you with this! If you would like to talk to the Ideal Interiors team about booking a stand for next year call 0202013511 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss any available options.
7. Write a final report
Summarise the results achieved against the goals you set. Share the report with key managers from sales, marketing and top management.