by Kayleigh Herbertson, on behalf of Vufold
Exhibitions pose an excellent opportunity to get some face-to-face time with potential clients. Whatever your area of business includes, we guarantee that there is an exhibition for your niche and that those who purchase tickets to attend are far closer to a conversion, perhaps even with your product in mind. Of course, the downside is that attending an exhibition is expensive, buying the stand and furnishing it well enough to attract attention, as well as the cost of bringing your staff and employing them on what is likely to be a weekend. How can you be sure that you’ll get a return on that initial investment?
Here at Vufold, we’ve been attending exhibitions for years and we attend around ten exhibits each year. Through this time we’ve gained some amazing experience and hope that some of our tips can help get you those all important conversions:
Vufold make external doors, so we had to come up with some inventive ways to present our products. One of our recent exhibits showed the doors as the main way to ‘enter’ our exhibit, with another entryway to the side in case the door was being demonstrated. Our product was one of the first things the visitor is greeted with and they can even watch it in motion.
Whatever your product is, you have to consider your presentation of the product or service first and foremost. We see some brands talking about the history of their company and their team, which is great for extra info but a customer is going to be most interested in what you’re selling. If you can, find a way to demonstrate its strengths and encourage visitors to get hands on and personal. If you offer a service rather than a product then present your past projects and offer demonstrations wherever possible.
Make Your Exhibit an Active Learning Experience.
Those who attend your exhibit have already announce their prior interest so it’s likely you’ll have a crowd of curious and possibly industry savvy individuals. Exhibitions are a fantastic place to learn about presenting yourself, so make sure you’re listening to what visitors have to say about you.
During a recent exhibition we were given many compliments at our stand for the way that our brochure listed all our prices, making us more transparent than some other vendors. Building these relationships with customers is more important in some cases than getting a fast sale on the day, especially if your product requires a larger investment. What are people particularly enjoying about your stand? Where could improvements be made?
Of course, during the show you’re likely to be running yourself ragged so when will you have time to take notes? We’d advise trying to jot down as much as possible in your hotel room after the show and having a team discussion at the end of the exhibition. Take notes and then you’ll be ready to make your next exhibition even better once you’ve regrouped and recovered.
Consider Your Team.
If you’ve never attended an exhibit before then you’re likely to be amazed at how hard your team will have to work. Many businesses have their own exhibition stories that involve no time for breaks and attendees standing on their feet for the entire day. Our team consumed 10 gallons of water at one recent event and also gave out 3500 brochures over the course of a weekend. We ended up gratefully taking advantage of the Hobnobs that one staff member had brought and depending on large breakfasts to get us through the day.
A successful exhibit is (more often than not) dependent on great staff rather than the stand itself. Your team will introduce visitors to your products, inform them about great deals you might have and help them get to know your brand. This is the most important link in the chain and, as we mentioned previously, it’s also likely that these attendees will have a higher level of knowledge than your team might be used to. They might have already compared you to your competitors, so make sure all your staff are knowledgeable about your product range. They’ll also need a great deal of enthusiasm to carry them through the exhibit to keep those conversions coming.
Your business is likely to have lessons to learn regarding exhibiting, many of them might even be unique to your business. The first exhibit is not going to be your best but there are few opportunities that will give you such an eager audience. So, if you’ve got the team and the time then we’d really recommend exhibits to promote your business.
Kayleigh Herbertson is a copywriter and blogger situated in the United Kingdom with an enthusiasm for brand PR. She writes on a variety of topics, from novelty mugs through to Isotope-ratio mass spectrometry and her work can be found on her personal website kayleigh-herbertson.com.