Being able to demonstrate your product or service to the public and/or business community is a unique and effective tool and even thought the visitor may not buy immediately, surveys of exhibition attendees show that a large proportion of visitors had their decision to trade with a particular company influenced by that company’s display at an exhibition.
The key to a successful exhibition experience is to be prepared, maximise the time and space available to you at the exhibition and review the performance of the exhibition afterwards.
Choosing an Event
The first step in preparing for an exhibition or trade show is to choose an event most appropriate to your needs. There are a wide range of events held throughout the year and it is imperative to choose the show which matches your target audience and your budget. Event managers will be able to supply you with all of the information you will need to make an informed choice. With the information at hand think of the following points when making your decision
Is the event well established and well promoted?
A well known and well advertised event is more likely to attract visitors and offer more chances for you to promote your goods and services. Check the attendance of previous events to get an idea of the number of visitors and use this to compare different events.
it is important that you choose an event that attracts people and companies that match your target audience. Check the other companies that are advertising, check the sponsors of the event and look at which trade bodies will be in attendance. Do they operate within your marketplace?
Press and media exposure goes hand in hand with the above point concerning promotion of an event. Make sure than the event is covered by the right media agencies. Ask the event management for a overview of media coverage. Be wary of events where you do not recognise the companies reporting on the event.
Once you have decided on the event to attend, the next step is prepare all arrangements for the day including setting objectives and goals for the exhibition, booking exhibition space, designing the display area, creating and purchasing promotional and informative materials and arranging food, transporattion and accommodation if necessary.
It is best to appoint a show manager to oversee all arrangements. It will be the show manager’s responsibility to coordinate and instruct staff who will work at the exhibition as well as setting goals and planning advertising and presentations.
Objectives for the event vary from company to company and depend on the product or service being promoted. If a particular product or service is being promoted, success might be measured by the number of sales leads made. An exhibition can also be used to raise a company’s profile either in an existing market or a new one. In which case, the number of contacts made can be used to measure success.
It is important to agree a budget with company directors and then stick to that budget for the entire cost of the event. This will include not only the cost of the exhibition space and transport, food and accommodation as mentioned above, but also security, insurance, and cost of all post-event work.
Always book your exhibition space as far in advance as possible. The earlier you book, the better spot you will get. Generally speaking, the best spots are either one of the central stands – visitors will gravitate to these spots – or an entrance or exit position where you will be the first or last exhibitor a visitor sees.
The show manager and his staff should produce a a progress calendar to keep track of all arrangements and important dates for the event. Begin planning the event as early as possible and no less than three months in advance and use an exhibition company Australia
While the idea of what is needed for the design of the stand can be discussed by the company as a whole, the actual design work for the stand should be carried out by a professional designer to ensure that the final quality is of high quality. If you are not experienced in design work, while your ideas may seem good to you, to the public they may look amateurish and reduce the impact of your stand and effectiveness of the exhibition experience.
Event stands usually come in one of two shapes – an enclosed area where you are back to back with other exhibitors and an open area where visitors can see your stand from all directions. Be sure to choose the stand appropriate to your needs. There is no point paying extra for a large, central, open stand if you can not afford to fill it or your service does not warrant such extravagance.
Do check the dimensions of the stand with event management staff so that there are no nasty surprises come exhibition day.
Prepare informative materials and promotional items well in advance. Leaving these until the last minute can lead to problems as printers and manufacturers may not be able to turnaround your job in time for the event.
The advertisement booklets, contact cards, pricing information are a must. Again, be sure to get a professional to design these.
Promotional items are open to the imagination. A wide variety of items are available from promotional pens, to notepads, to sweets, to toys. Try to think of what would be the most eye-catching and what would be guaranteed to keep your company’s name in a visitors mind.
At the Event
Set up early at the event to ensure you have ample time to resolve any issues such as design problems, lack of particular materials, etc.
If the exhibition is in another country, do make sure you check customs formalities beforehand as a delay at customs can be costly to the smooth running of your event.
When setting up the stand make sure it is well light and employ extra lighting if needed. A dark, shadowed stand will have a negative effect on visitors.
When choosing staff to work the stand, it is important to remember that the people you choose will make or break the event. Choose the most charismatic yet compelling individuals your have in your company.
Brief all staff on the day regarding goals, conversation tactics and personal responsibilities. The more organised the staff are, the more fun the event will be!
As far as pitching your company services and goods goes, it is vital that a visitor knows who you are, what you do and a good reason for using you within the first three seconds of conversation.
Make sure staff ask open ended questions of visitors. Questions that allow visitors to answer just “yes” or “no” will not lend well to keeping the conversation going. make sure your body language is correct for what your are doing – be assertive, polite, cheery and maintain eye contact at all times.
A staff rota for rests and walkabouts is essential. Your staff will be standing all day and conversing with the public. Nothing will be more off-putting than if your staff appear tired and fatigued – their pitch will be less enthusiastic and less compelling. Rota shifts to be no more than 2 hours at a time. Also, allow your staff time to walk around the event and attend seminars. This will allow them to observe other exhibitors and pick up tips on pitching to visitors.