Exhibitions, trade fairs and industry events provide excellent opportunities to raise your company’s profile within your industry and generate new business by exposing your products and services to a captive audience of target customers. As with anything else, the more experience you have of exhibiting, the more you’ll learn about what works for you and the more successful you’ll be.
At Aspect Exhibitions we’ve been providing professional exhibition services to new and seasoned exhibitors for more than twenty six years, helping our clients to make the most of the events they attend. Nobody becomes an expert in exhibiting overnight, so to help get you started on the best footing we’ve put together 10 tips for increasing your exhibition success, based on our own experience.
1. Have realistic expectations
As a first- or second-time exhibitor it’s possible that you might not achieve the results you were expecting from your event. Don’t give up; every exhibition gives you the chance to learn from mistakes, refine your strategy and increase your success the next time.
2. Track your budget
Setting the right budget for exhibiting is something that comes with experience, so it’s a good idea to track your expenditure right from the word go. After the first couple of exhibitions you’ll be able to shape your budget better, cutting out unnecessary cost and getting the best financial return from each event.
3. Build a reliable ‘events team’
Exhibiting is all about face-to-face networking with potential customers, so if possible it’s a good idea to build a team of experienced, outgoing and customer-focused salespeople who become your ‘go-to’ representatives for every trade show or event.
4. Take notes
Exhibitions are an invaluable source of customer insight. Chat to your visitors to find out, for example, the challenges their businesses face, the problems they need to resolve, the types of product and service they’re looking for, what attracted them to your stand and so on. Jot down everything you feel is useful; these notes may help you to be more customer focused, improve your exhibiting strategy or even give you ideas for new products and services.
5. Invite existing customers and follow up every lead
Before every exhibition you have an excellent excuse to get in touch with and ‘warm up’ existing customers to let them know that you’ll be at the event. A major key to exhibition success, though, is following up every single prospect afterwards; a simple courtesy call or email to say “thank you or visiting our stand” or “it was great to meet you, is there anything we can help you with?” shows that you care and can be a great way to build your customer base.
6. Check out the competition
As you are almost certainly going to be surrounded by your competitors, there’s no better time to see what they’re up to with new products, packaging and how they have presented themselves at the show. Time spent visiting your competitors is a good way to see latest trends and ideas and, more importantly, network within your industry and marketplace.
7. Go along to discussions, presentations and demonstrations
At many events there’s other activities going on besides the exhibition. You’ll often find industry experts giving talks or hosting discussion panels on subjects that are relevant to your market. Sitting in on these can be invaluable in keeping up with and discovering the latest developments within your chosen field.
8. Stay current and stand out!
Making the right impact at exhibitions is vital to success. A well-designed, custom built or smart modular exhibition stand will go a long way to ensuring that you stand out from the crowd, using a good exhibition stand builder, such as Aspect Exhibitions, will ensure you get the maximum from your investment and will elevate you above the lower echelons of your fellow exhibitors.
9. Build upon each exhibition experience
Exhibiting for the first time can be a bit of an eye opener. Fairly soon, you’ll learn what works well for your business, what can be improved and what can be forgotten. With each exhibition you should be able to learn a little more about what makes a show successful and profitable. Track your progress, refine as you go and before long you’ll be exhibiting like a pro and reaping the business rewards.
10. Work, rest and play
Exhibition success requires commitment and hard work, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time to relax and enjoy an event too. Make sure to take regular breaks, chat with colleagues and friends and take the occasional stroll around the show; if you’re tired or not having a good time yourself, it may affect your interactions with prospective customers.