OR, how NOT to put them off approaching you!
There is more to attracting delegates to your exhibition stand than rolling out your roller banner stands and hanging a few balloons. The stand needs to inspire, intrigue and invite people in.
An enjoyable few days away from the office?
Exhibitions, trade shows and conferences are not always the most hotly anticipated activities on the business calendar, which seems odd given how expensive it can be to book a space, or how lucrative they can be in terms of business.
Staffing a stand means staying alert, looking interested and happily engaging with people for hours on end, but this can be difficult when it’s your third day in a row.
Attracting people to your stand and getting the most from the exhibition is not too difficult; with a few tweaks here and there, it can be a lot easier…and a lot more inviting too!
Don’t do it alone
Conferences and exhibitions can be lonely places, as well as more than a little nerve-jangling if you are staffing the entire stand on your own. Leaving your stand unattended can mean money lost, and so having a team of people helping out on the stand is somewhat essential.
Dress like a professional… or at least befitting to your business
Exhibition halls have a tendency to either be Baltic in temperature or far too hot. You need to be layered ready for every eventuality, as well as looking professional. Your stand could look simply fabulous, with well-designed posters and fabulous giveaways, but if you and your staff don’t look quite ‘right’, then the impression is spoiled.
Arrive in good time
You will notice in the event terms and conditions that there is a time by which everything must be set up, and the earliest time by which stands can be dismantled. This is for looks, as well as for health and safety purposes, but what can happen is that people leave it too late to get everything together, giving the impression of a half-dressed, chaotic stand. Always allow plenty of time.
Have a checklist
There is nothing worse than realising three hours from home that you have left the star product on the kitchen worktop. It pays to be super organised and making a checklist of what is needed, and where to find it, is essential. Add to this a list of who is doing what as this has been the cause of many arguments on an exhibition stand, with every team member blaming everyone else for forgetting the roller banners…
It needs to be bright, attractive and appropriate to your business. There are some major faux pas that many businesses still fall in to, such as;
- Half-drunk coffee cups on your stand is a no-no; it looks cluttered, sloppy and unprofessional
- Make sure there is space for the eye to rest on your displays; don’t assume that every inch of your posters, leaflets and stand has to be decorated
- Theme your display so that it looks ordered and appealing
Chat to your neighbours
In many cases, exhibition organisers will attempt not to place competitors directly next to each other so it pays to make friends with people around you. After all, they may have the sticky tape you forgot, or you may have an extension cable they could borrow… They could also refer people to your stand too.
Don’t pounce on passing delegates
It really makes people nervous when they are simply looking and someone from behind the display pounces on them in sheer desperation. Don’t start a conversation with ‘can I help you?’, rather ask opens question such as ‘what’s the weather like outside?’ etc. Don’t assume that every person a) wants to buy or b) wants to give you their phone number. Be prepared to say hello and have a conversation.
Check out your visitors
Newbies on the exhibition circuit can make the mistake of assuming that every delegate is in the market for their product and will spend a lot of time attempting to persuade them to buy when the person has absolutely no intention of doing so. This is known as ‘qualifying visitors’, in other words, working out if they are genuine potential buyers or just browsing.
A lot can happen in a day so have a notebook and pen to hand and jot down notes as you go along. It is also handy to collect people’s names and addresses ready for follow-up after the event…