- 08 Nov 0
Exhibitions and trade events can be a wonderful opportunity for you to showcase your business. But they’re also one of the toughest environments to shine in, as you’re in the same room as your direct competitors and you’re all going after the same customers. Get it right and your time at an exhibition could give your business a real boost. Get it wrong, and you could damage your reputation beyond repair. So what are the dos and don’ts of exhibiting?
First impressions count
Not only does your stand have to shine, but your people do too. Your image is vitally important because it’s going to be one of the primary factors in attracting visitors towards your pitch and away from your rivals. Because everyone is going to be promoting the same kind of services or products at a trade exhibition, you need something a little ‘extra’ to make sure it’s your stand that people head for, so put plenty of thought into that first impression.
Put yourself in the shoes of the visitor.
Consider what would attract you to visit a particular stand. Would you be drawn in by a well laid out and eye catching stand with smartly dressed staff and a sign that puts your message across, or is that sign you used a couple of years ago (that’s probably a bit tatty but still serviceable) okay? The answer is simple. First impressions count, so make sure the image you present to your customers is the right one.
Nothing puts visitors off more than pushy sales staff.
Being ‘mugged’ by an aggressive sales rep with a fine line in machine-gun fast sales patter and a killer look in their eyes will send your potential customers scuttling for the sanctuary of your competitor’s stands. Make your visitors feel welcome and never approach with the question, “Can I help you?” This encourages a negative response such as, “No thanks, just looking,” and you’ve killed any chance of drawing in their business before you’ve started. Always approach your potential customers with leading questions that will encourage them to engage with you beyond the usual, “No thanks…” response.
Bashing the competition
There’s a certain etiquette that needs to be adhered to at exhibitions, and bashing the competition is one of the worst business faux pas you can make. Nobody wants to do business with a company that sells from a point of attack, so even if your deadliest business rival is right next door to you in the hall, don’t be tempted to belittle them or try and damage their good name. All you’ll do is damage your own and possibly even be asked to leave by the organisers. Be utterly professional in all your dealings with both visitors and your business neighbours. It could result in more business than you expected, particularly if the business in the next stand shows an interest in your products or services.
You don’t need cheerleaders with pom-poms and loud music to get noticed at an exhibition. Something as simple as a beautifully designed sign that emphasises your brand identity and puts across a professional, businesslike image can be one of the most powerful weapons in your exhibition arsenal.
Be remembered for all the right reasons and you’ll find that the number of visitors converting into customers increases dramatically. Be remembered for all the wrong reasons and at best you’ll have wasted a day in an exhibition hall but at worst you could have damaged your business’s reputation with both your competitors and your customers. Make sure you don’t fall into that second category and plan your exhibition strategy carefully.
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