If you plan to exhibit your venture at a trade show it is important that you plan your exhibit to get the most out of the experience. By planning your time carefully and giving the customers what they want you will find the whole experience much more rewarding both in social and financial terms. It is true that you might see good results even without much planning, but we can guarantee that you will see even better results with a well performed planned exhibition.
Trade show attendance has declined in later years but this is not something that needs to affect your results from the trade show. The total number of visitors might have gone down, but the buyer to non-buyer ratio has gone up so it is now possible to use your time at a trade show more efficiently than ever before, with better results than ever before as a consequence.
You should keep in mind that most buyers have a busy schedule and you should therefore make you and your exhibit easily attainable. If you schedule an appointment with someone, never arrive even a minute too late. An important part in getting clients to like you, attracting business and luring the buyers in is to present the facts in an easy way and maintain knowledgeable personnel in the exhibition at all times. Drop the hype, that only takes time and causes confusion. If you have a good product you should stick with the facts as this helps buyers to quickly evaluate and make up their mind about your product. This does not mean that your pitch should not be promotional; it simply means that you should focus on the facts while putting your best foot forward.
Gather data of buyers and competitors
The first thing you should do when preparing and planning your exhibition is to try to gather as much data as possible. Which buyers will be there? Which potential competitors may be showcasing products similar to your products on the trade show? What are your unique selling points compared to those products and how can you highlight them to get buyers to choose your product?
If there is a certain retailer or chain store that you are trying to break into, and you know or suspect that they will have a representative present at the trade fair, make a plan for how you will get a chance to present your products to them. If possible, call them and set up a meeting at the show beforehand. That way you know that you will have their full attention and you can also plan the meeting and set aside sufficient time for it in your schedule. You should however never stare yourself blind on one specific buyer as this might cause you to lose other potentially lucrative buyers that you might not even have considered. There will always be another chance to bag the elephant.
Prepare and plan your exhibit
When you have gathered the necessary information you should start preparing the material for the show and start planning your exhibit. Make sure to print fliers and information well in advance as you do not want to risk standing there without them on the show day.
Do not forget to give your attention to both personnel and non-personnel related parts of the exhibit. None-personnel part of the exhibit includes the displays, the banners and the printed material. This should draw your buyers in, give them basic information and entice them to start talking with your staff to get more details. The personnel part is self-explanatory, this is the staff that works in your exhibit. It is very important that these individuals are approachable, knowledgeable about your product and have a professional appearance.
Bikini models might have been a part of exhibitions in the past, but nowadays buyers are looking for knowledgeable staff that can help them, not eye candy. It is very important that your staff give all visitors attention and is available if someone wants to talk. It is also important that they refrain from overly long pitches and from trying to sell the product in a pushy fashion as these are all things that are strongly disliked among buyers.
Technical demonstrations and interactive aids can be a very good way to improve your exhibit and make it easier for buyers to quickly find the information they are looking for.
Above all, keep your exhibit professional, none business-related shows and entertainment are a thing of the past. Today’s trade shows are all about business, unlike the more carnival-like shows of the past.