Tips on Exhibiting

Tips on Exhibiting

Exhibitions are unique because they bring the buyer to you.
Only exhibitions allow you to use all five senses to communicate your message.
Spending a little time and thought planning, prior to an exhibition, will pay big dividends when show time comes.
On average 80% of trade show visitors are personally involved in buying the products or services on show, and 29% never see a sales rep other than at an exhibition.

Are you really going to SELL?

There are many reason for attending an exhibition, think about what you want to achieve and prioritise.
New Business Leads
Build Profile
Change Perception
Product Launch
Product Testing
Media Exposure
Meet Serious Buyers
Market Research
Database Development
Key Account Development
"Fly the Flag"
Recruit Agents

So What Could Go Wrong?

No understanding of exhibitions
No understanding of visitors
Not having the right approach
Get side-tracked by "the fun of the fair"
Not working the event

Five Unbreakable Rules

Agree the budget - and stick to it!
One person has TOTAL AUTHORITY
Use project-planning techniques
Remember your reasons for exhibiting
Communicate to everyone involved

Some Brief Thoughts on Design

Exhibitions are about business

But they are also about "Industrial Theatre" and offering "experiences" to visitors.

Your Exhibition Stand

What does it say about
your company?
your values?
your people?

Your Stand Layout

How many people?
Corporate colours
What's on offer?
What limitations?
What storage?
What about services?
What do you want to do with visitors?
What about "experiences"?

Lots of comfy furniture encourages people to drop in and stay on your stand. Current customers may expect to monopolise your time. Unless this is your main reason for exhibiting, try to set aside specific times for customers in a hospitality area either on or off the stand.

Remember - You have just THREE Seconds to get your message across

Setting Real Objectives

Success = Objectives

"If you can't measure it, you can't manage it"

Our Investment and Our Targets

We need to know our investment...
... to set some targets...
... to recoup the expense...
... and make the exhibition pay...
... to do it again...

Set Specific Targets

The tighter the goals, the better your chances are of achieving them.
Exhibitions are incredibly versatile, however, you need to focus on your most important goals.
Establishing specific, measurable goals prior to every exhibition is probably the single most important thing you can do.

How do you generate over 200 sales leads?

e.g. A 12 square metre stand at a three day show
3 stand staff
7 hour day
4 qualified leads per hour
TARGET is 3 x 7 x 4 x 3
= 252 leads

Missed Opportunities

Invite key journalists to visit your stand, keeping a good supply of bright, well presented literature in the Media Centre. Make sure that your story is ready when they arrive.
The Marketing Expo
200 companies
40+ journalists
Only 20 sets of Media Packs.
Do your sums to make sure you have enough Media Packs to cover the event.

Remember - Only exhibitions bring the most mundane product or service to life.

Getting Visitors to Your Stand

Before the show opens

Make the visitors want to see you.
Tell the world what you are up to.
The most successful companies, in terms of business generated, and leads collected, were the ones that took the trouble to mail their prospects and customers before the show.

Direct Marketing Must Be Clever!

To make visitors want to come to the show 
and to make their bosses happy to let them go!

Not just a complimentary ticket!

Put yourself in the prospect's shoes
Part mailings, gimmicks
Set up appointments
E-mail, fax, call
Competitions (but remember the Data Protection Act)
Remember - Industrial Theatre!

Generate Maximum Business

Attract - Stop people in their tracks.
Use colour, motion, sound, bold graphics and benefit statements.
Reject - Politely filter out the wrong people.
Ask a few qualifying questions. "Do you purchase mowers for your club?"
If not, move on. "Then I won't waste your time. Have a great show."
Explain - Get straight to the benefits.
Run a short demonstration. Put your best case forward, and go for the close.
Appointment - Once they have agreed to meet, pass them onto someone who can set up the appointment so as not to waste the sales person's time
If you can't get the meeting, get their details for follow-up.

Processing Visitors Effectively

Time is NOT on your side

Pressure on your time
Pressure on your visitor's time
Targets to hit
Attractions and interruptions

Think about obtaining "leads"

Are these "leads" or "names"?
What will "follow-up" achieve?
Does this comply with existing and new legislation?
The consequences?

The Best Stand Crew?

The usual choice is the sales team. But they may be the worst option.
If you have knowledgeable, well-trained staff, you will be successful.
The people on your stand make the difference between a good show and a great show.
Selling at an exhibition is different from selling in a one-to-one sales call.
Your staff can make the difference between a return on investment or a disappointment.
The number of staff manning the stand and the mix of disciplines should also be goal driven.
Do you need technical staff to explain things in detail?
Do you need top managers to meet the blue-chip decision-makers?
Do you need energetic extroverts for maximum smiling and sampling?
Stand staff need to understand the goals of the stand and each member's specific role in achieving them.
Exhibiting successfully is a skill that needs to be learned. Even your best salesmen can improve immeasurably with a little training.

The Sales Ladder

Categorise the visitors to your stand, remembering that it is down to you to turn a suspect into a prospect. By nurturing the relationship you could end up having an advocate who will happily recommend you to other prospects.
Key Account

Body Language

We have all seen them, the crossed arms, frowns, newspaper readers, lunch eaters and staff so busy chatting that they ignore the people on their stand.
Words 7 %
Tone 38 %
Body Talk 55 %
What is yours saying?

Try dividing the total cost of your participation in the exhibition by the number of minutes it is open, then remind yourself and your staff how much every minute is worth.

Meeting and Greeting

How to talk to your prospects.


Use "open" questions
Demonstrate "active" listening
Confirm understanding
Check all details
"Information is power"

Avoid the "Literature Crutch"

Keep brochures to a minimum
Offer to send details on
Qualify exactly what the visitor wants
Use clipboards

Alternatives to Brochures

Exploit the latest technology - for your visitors' benefit and yours!

Leads Form - make sure you include:

Which exhibition
When are decisions made?
Who else is involved in making decisions?
Future actions

Classify all Leads

A - Large order ready to buy.
B - Small order ready to buy. Large order long time frame.
C - Small order long time frame.
D - Send literature or add name to database.
E - Other e.g. Press, salesmen.

Plan Now for the Future

Build in time - now - to see "hot prospects" as soon as possible after the show

Follow Up is Essential

Every visitor should receive a timely follow-up depending on classification.
By A B C priority
Starting within 48 hours
Letter and telephone
Full accountability
Top management support

To your prospects, the days and weeks following the exhibition make it clear who most wants their business and who may not be ready to handle it.

Contact Quickly

Capture leads on disk if possible
Fax leads forms back to office
Set up letter before the show
Use fax for on-stand quotes
E-mail from the Internet Cafe 
Phone to confirm appointments

Remember - "This is not the end, or even the beginning of the end. It is the end of the beginning"

Was it Worth it?


Do a de-brief with the team on your return to the office evaluating what worked and what didn't and eliciting suggestions for improving performance at future events. Your staffs' insights are a valuable asset, especially while their impressions are still fresh.
How did we do - honestly?
Sales leads
Public Relations
Customer Relationship Management
Sales - over an agreed period

Remember - exhibitions work when you do!

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