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EXHIBITOR SINS

THE 7 COMMON SINS OF SHOW EXHIBITORS

 

Even the most experienced exhibitors can make rookie mistakes!  Don't sabotage your own efforts to make your exhibition stand a success - avoid these common errors.

1. NOT READING THE EXHIBITOR GUIDE

THE SCENARIO

You're ready to set up your site - and you find the carpet is a totally different colour than you expected.  Or there's not enough power points.  Or there's no Wi-Fi for your mobile eftpos machine.

Did you read your exhibitor guide?

HOW TO AVOID IT

  • Most common queries will be covered in the exhibitor guide - make sure you read and comprehend it.

  • Don't assume!  If you have any questions, ask the show organisers.

  • Even if you have attended the same show before, things often evolve as shows are developed and improved.  Check to see if there have been any changes.

2. HAVING NO GOALS

THE SCENARIO

After the show, you're reasonably happy that it was worth the time, effort and investment.  The problem is ... you're not really sure.  You had no real goals in place, so you can't tell if you did well or not.

If you go into a show without a goal, you'll achieve exactly what you planned - nothing!

HOW TO AVOID IT

  • Keep it simple - set one or two clear objectives.

  • Your expectations should be established before the show - begin with the end in mind and have a solid action plan.

  • Ensure your targets are measurable - 'market presence' is an admirable goal, but how are you going to know if you achieved it?

  • Set up your stand, promotions and marketing material based on what you want to achieve from them.

  • Train your staff in your objectives and expectations, so they share you ambitions.

3. UNAPPROACHABLE STAFF

THE SCENARIO

You've invested a lot into the perfect site setup, but your staff look bored and unhappy.  One sits behind a desk staring into the distance.  Another is checking his email on his phone.  Visitors are bypassing your stand without a second glance.

Your staff are just as much a part of your brand the pictures on the walls - distracted, unfriendly staff are a huge turnoff for potential clients.

HOW TO AVOID IT

  • Staff should appear approachable.  Don't expect people to come to you!  You should be standing (not sitting) near the walkway, smiling and greeting people.

  • Nobody wants to interrupt somebody who looks like they've got something better to do.  It's time to put away the mobile phone!  If you're filling in an important form, you still need to look up and greet people.

  • Don't eat at the stand.

  • Overenthusiasm can be just as off-putting.  Never initiate conversation with a long-winded explanation or pushy sales pitch.  Nothing will scare visitors off faster than an exhibitor that appears impatient for a sale, and you won't gain anything by forcing people to listen.

  • Ensure staff are easily identified through both their clothing and their name tags.

4. STAFF UNDER PRESSURE

This is the other end of the spectrum to the problem outlined above.

 

THE SCENARIO

The response to your stand is fantastic!  You're all busy, all the time.  The problem is, potential clients aren't waiting.  They see everyone is busy and they just move on.

And even though they're busy, your staff don't seem very happy.  When you come to discuss the next exhibition, they're just not keen - they say it was just too exhausting.

HOW TO AVOID IT

  • Anticipating how many staff you'll need is understandably difficult.  It's a balancing act based on the size of the show, the size of your stand, what you're offering and who you have available.  Keep an eye on your staffing levels and adjust to suit - it could be a learning curve and you'll know better for next time.

  • Staff are not robots - so make sure you have enough people to cover regular breaks for everybody.  Your staff will need some time to themselves to eat, drink, check their phones and rest their weary feet.  Give everybody the opportunity to 'turn off' for a while and have a break.

5. NO CONSIDERATION FOR OTHER STANDS

THE SCENARIO

This is great!  You're out in the aisles, handing out brochures, and you've gone out and tucked a few behind the wipers of cars in the parking lot.  You've got a fantastic loudspeaker so visitors from all around can hear you, and you even managed to grab an extra bit of space by building out into the aisle!

Why aren't your neighbouring exhibitors looking very pleased?

HOW TO AVOID IT

  • You're in a shared space, and consideration is important.

  • All business negotiations, including the distribution of promotional materials, should be confined to the allocated stand area.

  • Brochures tucked in windshield wipers is a big no-no - as well as making people uncomfortable and annoyed that you've been touching their vehicle, many councils consider this to be littering.

  • Your stand needs to stay inside the area allocated to you.  Don't build out into the aisles - this isn't fair on other exhibitors who have stuck to the guidelines.  A good way to get more space is to build up, not out - ask the show organisers if you can do this.

  • If you're planning on presenting using a loudspeaker or audiovisual equipment, inform the show organisers beforehand - they'll need to keep this in mind when booking the sites around you.  There is an acceptable level of sound that doesn't encroach on the others around you.

  • Keep your litter to yourself!  Confetti has a way of spreading, and helium balloons will quickly crowd the rafters if accidentally let go.

  • What's that smell?  Fumes from cooking, motors and machinery has a way of drifting around.  Even some products have a strong smell - which can be great if you're selling beautiful soaps, but not so much if you're in the compost business.  Unless it's in the context of the show - like cooking samples at a food show - try to anticipate if your odours will annoy anybody!

6. PACKING UP EARLY

THE SCENARIO

It's the last day of the show.  You're tired, and visitor numbers are petering out.  There's no harm in getting a jump on the rush and breaking down your stand an hour early, right?

The exhibition organisers come by and ask you to stop packing up.  Why would they do this?  It's nearly closing time anyway.

HOW TO AVOID IT

  • Your stand is open as long as the advertised show hours.  Resist the temptation to start packing up - you will find that this is most likely not permitted.

  • Early exits leave a bad impression.  It reflects badly on your business, and the show as a whole.

  • By breaking down your stand, you are creating a potential health and safety issue.

  • Just because they're the last visitors to the show, it doesn't make them the least important visitors.  You've invested a lot to be here, why not milk every opportunity?

  • Leaving a stack of brochures isn't the same as human presence in a show display.  If visitors just wanted to read advertising material, they wouldn't be at a show - they'd just visit your website.

7. NO FOLLOWUP OR FUTURE PLAN

THE SCENARIO

It was great seeing all those potential clients at the show.  Now that it's over, you can move on to the next project.

HOW TO AVOID IT

  • Follow up leads promptly and as promised.

  • Don't be too pushy - incessant phone calls and emails are incredibly off-putting.  Keep it simple and timely!

  • Promised to call the following Wednesday?  Do it.

  • Celebrate your wins on social media.  This is a great place to stay in the minds of people who have seen you, but may not necessarily be on your list to call or email.