Exhibitions

Exhibiting lesson #2 - 3 essential ingredients for successful exhibiting

Here are 3 of the essential ingredients for a successful exhibition. You get lots more great advice from our ‘Guide to Successful Exhibiting.’

1 Attractive eye-catching stand with a clear message

Attract the visitor’s attention

The first essential job of an exhibition stand is to attract the visitor’s attention.

As I am sure you know from your own experience, exhibition visitors are busy people with a short amount of time to find the products and services that will be of benefit to them, amongst the sea of stands confronting them.

People are either scanning the aisles for products and services that might be useful, or looking for a Company they have identified beforehand as a potential supplier.

You have 3 seconds to get your message across

Yes, that’s pretty much it. As the visitor’s eyes turn towards your stand, you have about 3 seconds to convince them to take a closer look.

In those 3 seconds the stand design must convey:

  • Who you are

  • What you do

  • What is the benefit for the visitor

So your stand design should be attractive with simple and clear messages. Remember the stand is only one element of your exhibition presence. You don’t have to get everything across with the graphics. Think through how all the different elements work to draw the visitor onto the stand and then convince them of their need for your product or service.
If you get this right, the visitors who come on the stand should be warm prospects already because they have self selected your product/service as being of potential benefit to them.

A visitor attraction can help

Humans are naturally curious. Our eyes are always drawn to a crowd as we wonder what is going on to create that interest. So if you have an experience drawing a crowd you will naturally attract more people.

I believe a visitor attraction should:

  • Be engaging

  • Be part of the brand/product message

  • Involve multiple people simultaneously

  • Capture visitor details

Typical types of attractions:

  • Digital games

  • Wireless headphone seminars/presentations

  • Digital or live product demonstrations

2 Great stand team

Once the visitor’s eyes have been attracted to the stand, the responsibility of engagement shifts to the stand team. These guys will now be critical to engaging and identifying viable prospects, capturing their details, and priming them to engage in the follow-up after the show.

Choose a team with these desired characteristics

I know from experience that working an exhibition stand effectively can be an exhausting experience. There is generally no let up as you continually engage visitors one after the other.

A good stand team member should have the following characteristics:

  • Happy to proactively engage passing visitors

  • Stamina to continuously engage visitors

  • Have a happy, positive, welcoming personality

  • Are enthusiastic about the brand/Company/product

  • Can take rejection in their stride and move on

  • Will focus all their time on the exhibition objectives

Brief your stand team well

The effectiveness of the stand team on the day will depend heavily on how well they have been briefed on what is expected of them.

The team need to know well in advance who they are, so that they can plan their work schedule around the exhibition dates and sort out any logistics like travel and accommodation.

As you get closer to the exhibition, the stand team should be briefed more thoroughly on what is expected of them and what tools they have to deliver on those expectations.

Briefing checklist:

  • Who is setting up stand?

  • Who is going to be stand manager and on which days?

  • What is the stand rota so the stand is always manned, and people are fresh

  • What is expected of the team?

    • Proactively engage passing visitors?

    • Recognise VIPs

    • Identify their needs for your products and services?

    • Demonstrate relevant products?

    • Pass them to relevant stand expert?

    • Agree follow-up?

    • Capture details?

    • Be ready at all times?

    • Wear uniform or observe dress code so visitors know who to approach?

  • Tools to help the stand team

    • Example open questions to ask and break the ice

    • Product training

    • Accessible collateral

    • A stand experience

    • Lead capture mechanism

3 Follow-up

Last but certainly not least. It is absolutely critical to follow-up on those hard earned leads if you want to get the best return on investment on your exhibition campaign.

You can make things a lot easier by making sure you have a defined data capture, prioritisation, and follow-up procedure. You can save a lot of marketing time by automating a lot of the follow-up process digitally through the use of platforms such as Dotdigital. This will mean the sales guys can concentrate on directly engaging the priority leads while the automation nurtures the rest.

Timing is important but not an exact science. I would say it is best to try and catch people when they are back at their desk but still have you in the back of their mind. So within a few days of the exhibition but not an hour after they have visited and are on the train home, as often happens to me.

Make sure follow-up calls are made. They need to be assigned to an individual who is supplied with all the background information, to enable them to have an informed conversation.

For more detailed information you can download our ‘Guide to Successful Exhibiting’ which is packed full of actionable tips and insight to help you deliver a successful exhibition and get the best return on your investment.