Anything worthwhile in life usually takes effort to achieve.
Successful exhibiting is no different.
Attracting crowds can be difficult.
Attracting the people that you really want to meet can be even harder.
You have to put some thought into how you are going to make this happen.
Show organisers will get people through the doors, but, it’s up to you and your team to get visitors onto your stand.
So, how to go about doing that?
Show visitors are curious and have their own reasons for attending
The great thing about exhibitions whether trade or consumer shows is that they attract the curious and the interested.
So unless you build a wall around your stand (yes, that can happen), you will have visitors come onto your stand.
Your company exhibits at trade shows to build and make sales.
Visitors attend for their own reasons.
They may have a supply problem to solve.
They may be looking for alternatives or additions to add to their existing product range.
Most often they want to see what’s new. They want new ideas and inspiration – things that they can’t get easily back at the office.
Focusing on their mindset, helping them to get what they want can help you achieve what you want.
But focus on what they want first.
Thinking this way can make your stand more attractive.
Be clear: Be friendly: Get to the point
There you have a mantra that will work well not just at trade shows but in sales generally.
- If you are showing physical products, they will of course “say’ what you do to people who recognise what they are, so display them well. That means ensuring they can be seen. Make them the stars of your stand. Invest in their display cases or turntables, lighting …
- State clearly on your stand graphics or digital screens what it is your company does or offers especially if you are offering a service. In those few seconds a visitor uses to scan your part of the show floor they must be able to see what you do
- You are competing with many stands and sights when it comes to visitor attention in a show. See this article about graphics
- Provide a friendly and informative welcome to your stand. What does that mean?
- First and foremost do not ignore and then lose visitors who have come onto your stand.
- Ignoration (the word that describes this maddening habit) occurs when you have disinterested salespeople talking to each other; eating or drinking; talking on their phones and all of the other bad things you know about. Don’t let it happen
- Bring your best stand team. The most positive and friendly people. The most energetic people in your business
Get to the point
Trade show time is a valuable and limited commodity both for visitors and for you (as discussed here).
Show attendees don’t make all that effort to attend a trade show just for the fun of it.
Most will have at least one main reason for attending.
Many will have tasks they expect to complete by the end of their visit.
Find out as fast as you can what their reason for visiting is by asking something like;
Thank you for coming onto our stand, what are you looking for at the show today?
The value of stand attractions should not be underestimated
I recently helped a client on their stand at a very busy event.
My client’s stand and results were successful but I couldn’t help notice and admire the stand across the aisle.
This stand was less sophisticated than ours. It was smaller with no technology on it (we had digital screens).
What they did have was a “spin the wheel and win a prize” attraction right at the front of their stand. And it really worked.
It worked because the people on the stand used this device to stop people in the aisle. As visitors spun the wheel and waited to see if they won (or got to spin again), they asked one or two qualifying questions.
These questions determined whether or not the person stayed or moved on. The qualification worked for both parties and made the most of VST (you’ll need to read the other article to understand this abbreviation…).
A simple but highly effective attraction.
When preparing for an event, think about this side of exhibiting. The fun or showbiz side of events can help you stand out.
This article might help.
Try to create a feature of some kind on your stand that will attract attention and make visitors stop to see more. Read this for some ideas
The rewards for successful exhibiting are high
Yes, trade shows can be hard work but get your exhibiting right and the returns that can be achieved will make the effort and money invested pale into insignificance.
I know that trade shows can transform the fortunes of a small or medium-sized business. I’ve seen it happen many times.
In fact, it’s why I got involved in helping exhibitors to be more effective when they exhibit.
They are the most direct form of direct marketing.
You get to meet prospective customers face to face.
There is no distance or anonymity as experienced with email, visits to your website or advertising.
Visitors directly experience your brand, your products, and your people.
In many cases, the show will probably be their first exposure to your business.
Understand this principle of difference and plan accordingly.
If you do, you won’t underestimate what needs to be done to engineer success.
Success means delivering the best possible sales return on your company’s investment from event participation.
And that can only be a good thing for anyone’s career prospects. Yours and mine.
For a free guide to successful exhibiting go here