6 Things You Wish You Had Known Before Trading at Your First Exhibition
You may extremely keen to exhibit your business at a trade show in the future, but the idea and the reality are two different things. Whether you’re planning on exhibiting your own business or have been asked to represent a company, it’s essential you’re in-the-know of what to expect and are well-equipped on how to deal with certain situations.
If you’re new to exhibiting, the below tips should come in extremely useful before you attend your very first trade show:
1. There’s more planning involved than you think
The idea of exhibiting at a trade show may seem easy in your mind, but it’s not as simple as you may have anticipated. Without relevant preparation, generating leads and sales is less likely to occur. While you may have an audience that’s ready and waiting for you, it’s essential you put in the groundwork beforehand to make the most of the platform. Therefore, hire and train the very best staff you can afford, stock up on supplies and ensure your marketing tactics are polished.
Make sure you give yourself enough time to get everything prepared. If you think it’s going to take two weeks to get everything sorted, give yourself four as a safety blanket. You need to expect a few minor complications along the way which could end up holding you back.
2. Buy quality displays
Your marketing promotion will only be as successful as your display. Once you’ve got an idea on the size of the booth you’ve been allocated, do your research on what you’re going to need. Your walling and banners are what’s going to be noticed instantly by passers-by, so make sure they’re of the highest quality and represent your company in the best light.
If you already own stands that have faded, wrinkled and looking a little worse for wear, it would be advised to purchase new ones. By investing in eye-catching and high-quality displays, you’re portraying the message that you’re professional and take pride in your company’s image.
Once you’ve got an idea on the measurements of the booth, consider how many display pieces you’re going to need to create an exhibit you’re proud of. You’ll need to find the balance between overcrowding your space looking too sparse, so professional advice may come in useful. If you’re in need of a helping hand, we’ll be happy to discuss your exhibition display requirements with you.
3. Speak to everyone that walks by
If you’re not used to speaking to members of the public, it can be difficult to pluck up the courage to chat with potential customers. However, you’re just one of a huge number at trade shows, so you need to be pushy in order to get noticed. A simple ‘hello’, or smile is often all that’s needed to gain attention.
One of the biggest mistakes that many exhibitors make is taking a passive approach to exhibiting and waiting for customers to approach them. Unfortunately, this is highly unlikely to work.
Despite this, it’s never a good idea to introduce yourself with a sales pitch. Although your goal is to generate profit, you shouldn’t be forcing potential customers to listen to what you have to say, or they’ll make any excuse to walk away. Keep the conversation relaxed and informal and they’re more likely acknowledge you.
4. Dress appropriately and comfortably
Trade shows can be extremely long days, so you need to be sure you’re dressed appropriately for the occasion. While you should be sticking to the dress codes of your company’s culture, you need to take into consideration the environment you’ll be in for the majority of the day. Exhibition halls are usually very warm or cold, so always take extra layers along with you.
5. Keep tabs on your leads
Regardless of whether you’re attending a small or large trade show, it’s impossible to remember every single person you’ve spoken to by name. If the individual is interested to find out more about your company, ask if you can make a note of their details or take a business card. This simple tactic means you have taken away an organised list of leads, which you can use to send those all-important follow-up emails as soon as you get back to the office.
6. Be realistic about your goals
It’s great to be enthusiastic about your upcoming trade show, but you also need to be realistic about the outcome. Not every conversation will generate a sale – and that’s perfectly normal. If certain aspects don’t work out the first time around, re-evaluate what you could do better next time, so you don’t make the same mistakes.
When meeting potential customers and clients, aim to spend time forming solid relationships with those who appear to have a general interest in what you’re offering, rather than those who are just browsing. It’s much better to leave the exhibition with 5 fruitful leads than 20 pointless ones.
We wish you lots of luck on your very first exhibition and hope that the above points will come in useful during the planning stage. If you want to find out more about exhibiting at trade shows, browse our blog for similar posts.