Exhibitions and trade shows offer exciting sales and marketing opportunities for business.
Exhibitions and exhibiting are a niche sales and marketing environment that not many exhibitors properly understand. With many years experience I understand every aspect of B2B trade show exhibitions and exhibiting.
Exhibitions allow business owners and sales people to network, meet, greet and sell direct to customers. Exhibitions offer a wide range of unique sales and marketing opportunities above and beyond other forms of marketing activity but to ensure ROI on your exhibition investment you need to understand the marketing aspects.
Exhibitions offer exciting opportunities for business development for a number of valid reasons –
- Sell more products, services
- Launch new products, services
- Generate more customers, sales leads, contacts, members, referrals
- Raise brand profile, awareness
- Close demonstration of products, services
- Networking with customers, media
- Creation of new customer catchment areas
- Competitor analysis
- Competitors attendance
To fully understand exhibitions, trade shows and exhibiting your company and products here are my list of ?TOP-10 BASIC EXHIBITING TIPS for exhibition organisers and managers –
TIP-1 : ESCAPE THE ‘MARKET STALL’ APPROACH
This is where you book and prepare your exhibition stand, display your products and promotional posters/leaflets – then wait for exhibitions visitors to come on to your stand to do business – they won’t! At least very few exhibition visitors will come on to your stand and most of your potential business WILL past your stand by – FACT. Ask yourself.. if I was an exhibition visitor, why would I come on to my exhibition stand?
See Market Stalls
TIP-2 : PREPARATION IS EVERYTHING
You MUST do your homework BEFORE booking stand space and your attendance to ensure this is the right event – what type of potential business will it attract – what are your key objectives to attending – and other essential questions. Also what is the likelihood this event will attract the numbers of event visitors the organisers say they will, search online for previous reviews…
TIP-3 : STRATEGY
Few exhibitors realise the essential need for a pre-event (before you get there strategy); event (at the exhibition strategy); post event strategy (after the event strategy) to get the maximum ROI from your costly exhibiting investment. This is where you need a specialist marketer who REALLY understands how exhibitions work… I do.
?We generated more new business and sales leads in the four days at the exhibition than we have done in the past six months.? ?John Bottomley, MD, Hubbell Power Systems Europe (quoted at trade show CIRED (France) reflecting on my event and sales management)
TIP-4 : COMMUNICATION
Exhibition stand location and positioning will be key to success and how you exhibit at the event. Exhibition environments are highly competitive sales environments for show visitors to attend so your stand MUST communicate, connect, engage, influence and attract visitors to you. How this is achieved plays a major part in how your stand is built and displayed at the event… the marketing communication of the stand with visitors is therefore key to success.
TIP-5 : SALES
Let’s get things straight.. you are at the event to do business, generate sales, new customers. OK.. so you will need to create a ‘selling environment’.. not a ‘market stall’ (see above) with the stand design and layout. A strategically conceived exhibition stand must be designed to ‘process’ visitors that come on to the stand. There MUST be a sales strategy in place with the stand and also the stand team that allows efficient processing of stand visitors to ensure they get the information and attention they need and you need – then quickly off the stand so you are free to attend to other show visitors on to your stand.
?TIP-6 : LAYOUT
Your exhibition stand design and layout has to be open and inviting and not inhibiting and uninviting and this again requires strategic thinking according to position, size and location. How will your stand work when visitors pass and if they want to come on to it? What about access to sales literature, products, wall displays, samples, freebies…? Is there an area for in-depth discussion away from the busy stand? What do your stand visitors see on your stand? What impression will they leave with? … and much more.
TIP-7 : DEMOGRAPHICS
So you think you understand your customers? Exhibition visitors are a very different demographic profile to your customers outside of the event environment. How they think, their priorities, needs, perceptions, expectations, mindset.. and more. You will need to do your homework. The first rule of successful marketing is the understanding of your customers.. and in this case your customers are also exhibition visitors in a different sales environment.
TIP-8 : HUNTING
How you get sales and customers at exhibitions requires careful consideration and sales strategy. There are various approaches and sales techniques depending on the location of your exhibition stand and type of show and show visitor attending and passing your stand. Show visitors attending tend to not to want sales approaches.. but done in a subtle way they can feel important and immediately see the benefit.. not a waste of their time. Did you know that hunting for business and customers at exhibitions is not only confined to event visitors…
TIP-9 : STAFFING
I dislike the term ‘exhibition stand’ because an exhibition properly executed is a very busy sales environment with no time to ‘stand’ for anyone. The right exhibition team for the event is key. Effective sales people with the right attitude, sales skills, customer management skills and good business knowledge is essential. It’s about getting the balance right with exhibition staffing or a great deal of opportunity, cost and time can be wasted. Just having ‘eye candy’ on the stand won’ cut it with today’s sales savvy exhibition visitor.
TIP-10 : OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
There are many other aspects of exhibiting for consideration and management in the mix such as hospitality, merchandising, staff wear, press lounge PR, advertising, logistics,?sales literature and more. Get your exhibiting right and you can generate excellent marketing ROI and value.
If you have a forthcoming exhibition and would like to discuss maximising ROI then please complete the contact form below or call me –
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