Trade Show Exhibition: Best Practices

Prior to attending a trade show, you will no doubt have done much advanced planning and detailed preparation. But how do you maximise your appeal to potential clients on the day of the show?

Firstly, be well prepared and on time to set up your stand and acquaint yourself with the event organisers and the people on the stands next to you. Find out where all the amenities are, such as refreshments, toilets and exits. Take a checklist with you so you don’t forget those important practical items such as spare power leads, spare pens, invoices and enquiry forms. Give yourself plenty of time to organise yourself for the day ahead.

Don’t get to the trade show late. Those five minutes spent getting a quick coffee or snack could mean the loss of valuable sales or leads.

Get your strategy right for the show. What is your purpose for being there? Have a clear idea of what it is you expect to gain from the investment in a particular trade show. Be clear in yourself and communicate to your team what you hope to get out of a show. This may be to launch a new product range, generate sales leads or make appointments.

Communication is crucial. People don’t want to be pestered, but it is important to remember that they have paid to get into the venue and are there because they want ideas and products. Initially, establish eye contact, then follow this with a question or introduce yourself. If possible, ensure you then speak about your product or business. Have brochures and business cards for people to take away to browse after the show.

Selling at exhibitions and trade shows is very different to normal sales. Your staff need to be aware that one moment the show can be very quiet and the next busy and so they need to be prepared and focused. They shouldn’t look bored or be chatting amongst themselves. They should remain focused, alert, friendly and open. Some of your team will be excellent at making eye contact and generating leads, others will be good at following up on this and turning the lead into a sale. It is important that every team member knows their job and sticks to it. This prevents frustrations among staff due to role crossovers and helps to maintain an organised and friendly stand.

Your stand should be highly visible and stand out. Many stands are generic ones set up by the organisers and they share the same carpets, walls and lighting and have A boards to place your name on. Dress your stand to be unique and eye-catching. Make sure that your stand effectively shows your product with high-quality posters or A boards displaying flyers and be clear about what it is you’re selling.

It is useful to have something interesting on your stand. Free gifts or gimmicks are always a good way to entice customers to your stand. Choose something that might spark an interest and cause a queue of customers.

Finally, try to get a position within the hall where the traffic is high to maximise the visibility of your stand. It might be a good idea to place yourself next to a popular exhibitor or near to a coffee area.

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