All you need to know about attending your first trade show

Make sure everyone staffing your exhibit is dressed neatly and professionally.

Make sure everyone staffing your exhibit is dressed neatly and professionally.

Running a stand at an exhibition is hard work and can be exhausting, but it is worth the investment. After a successful trade show, chances are you will experience increased income and increased customers.

Being your first exhibition, it is normal to spend a lot of time planning on how to be the best exhibitor. To get the most from an exhibition you must have a clear strategy about what you wish to accomplish and how you will accomplish it.

Here are a few things that you need to do before, during and after the show.

Before the exhibition

Preparation is vital to having a successful exhibition. The first thing you should do is make a list of goals that you wish to achieve. Every decision you make will be to fulfill these goals. Choose a manager whose sole responsibility is to organize the stand and the staff. Set a budget that will include security, transportation, accommodation and how much it will cost you to follow up. Set aside 5% as a contingency for unforeseeable expenses. Book your site as early as possible to avoid last minute disappointments and mix-ups. The central location is always where most attendees will want to go, making it a strategic location. Do not forget small details such as the vehicle passes and the staff badges.

Have a progress calendar and aim to begin more than three months before the event. The progress calendar will keep you on your toes and help you plan in advance.

During the event

The individuals you choose to represent you at your stand may make or break your event. Attendees will automatically move on to the next booth if they get bored. Running the stand is exhausting and one staff member will not be enough. If the stand is left unattended, you will be losing your investment. Having at least two staff members to take turns will ensure the stand is never left unattended. On the other hand, do not put too many staff members on the stand because this might be intimidating for the visitors.

Your display stand says a lot about your company. No clutter should be on the stand, such as coffee cups and newspapers. Clutter sends a message of disorganization. Do not put too much on display as it can become meaningless noise. On the other hand, do not display too little as it will make people question your company. Have an eye-catching display that will attract people from across the floor making them come over to learn more about what you have to offer. One way to secure this is to purchase modular and flexible exhibition stands that offer highly impactful designs. It only takes an average of 3 seconds for the visitor to pass by your stand; your display must, therefore, say enough at a glance to make the attendee interested.

The staff at the stand should not pounce at the attendees as this tends to scare them away. They would rather you be engaging, make eye contact, and smile. Have a brief session where your employees are educated about the product or service.

After the event

The whole investment will be pointless if you are not prepared to spend time and effort on following up on potential leads that you collected from the exhibition. If you asked the visitors to sign up for your email list, you should make the first contact within the first week after the exhibition. The email should acknowledge your meeting and the subjects that were discussed. The potential client will feel valued and important to your company.

Once you have spiked the interest during the exhibition, it should keep working even after the show is over. Use social media to send photos and press releases of your stand of people and other customer stories at the exhibition.

So, if you want to have a successful trade show, start by setting a budget and formulating a feasible plan. Ensure the exhibition stand you set up doesn’t just blend into the crowd and stand out to the crowd full of customers. Good luck!

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