Exhibit Rentals for 2019: How to Assure Success

Are you gearing up for the new trade show season in 2019? CES in Las Vegas always kickstarts the season with a show opening that’s always within the first few days of the new year but if you reading this you’re probably thinking your first show.

Word of advice. If you plan on booking an Exhibit Rental for an upcoming show it will behoove you to get started as early as possible. It’s worth considering that the trade show companies doing the best work start getting busy during the latter half of November. It’s worth booking your space and getting on their calendar. Allow time to finalize graphic orders and other show details. By booking early you stack the odds in your favor and allow the wheels to start turning as far as the design team, the graphics department, your project manager and, finally, in the warehouse. All the hardware has to be pulled, packed and prepared to ship. A set up team has to, first of all, be available. For some shows, depending upon the venue, flights have to be scheduled and hotels booked. Last minute bookings open the door for mishaps somewhere in the process.

Book early and you’ll be a happier and more relaxed camper once the show starts.

Set-up for the U.S. Army in Washington D.C.

 

The Winning Trade Show Event Coordinator

Six important things you can do to improve success.

1. Follow Up on Show Leads

After you’ve spent considerable cash preparing and participating in a trade show be sure that when you get back to the office you follow up on show leads. You’d be surprised at how common it is for companies to neglect the leads they gathered at the show. Place proper value on the leads you’ve gone to so much effort to acquire. 

2. Do Your Daily Booth Preparation

It’s easy to get up for the first day of a show.  Remember that Day Two is just as important. Don’t ignore the smudges,  make sure the carpet is clean, and remove any stray candy wrappers. Every day is a new day in Exhibit-Land. Like Disneyworld, it’s gotta look perfect before the guests arrive.  If you have a Double Deck Exhibit, be sure and check the upstairs. It’s easy to overlook empty coffee cups but make sure that you don’t!

Next, create a checklist of things that your team can improve upon from day one.  A former baseball player recently stated that before he left the ballpark after a game he wanted to have talked to someone about his plan for the next game. It’s a good idea to sleep on your plan for the next day.

3. Partying and Socializing

It’s a trade show and it’s usually good to socialize and party during the off hours.  Just be smart about it and make an effort to make the time worthwhile. It seems like common sense but seek out after hour events where you can improve your relationship with clients, potential clients or suppliers. If none of that is available then by all means have some fun. Just don’t overdo it and remember that your first priority is to be fresh for the next day.

4. Packing and Unpacking

How you unpack or pack your booth will make your life much easier or much harder for the next show. The key to any successful trade show is planning and organization. Your exhibit is no exception.

Carefully unpacking the exhibit and organizing the packaging materials makes the assembly go faster and the repacking much easier.  You eliminate the head scratching that invariably occurs at the end of the show. When you take the time to repack the exhibit right, you ensure that the exhibit arrives at the next destination in good condition and ready for the next show.

5. Choose your shows carefully

This suggestion is more for companies on a budget and needing to make choices between shows. Sometimes you just have to throw your hat into the ring and so to a show to see if it works for your company. You can, however, do some homework before making the decision. Call up industry contacts you have and pick their brains. Ask questions like “What’s your opinion about this show”, “If you were in my shoes and had to pick, would you do this show”. Ask your suppliers or strategic partners what’s their take on the trade show and has it been beneficial? If possible, ask for specifics such as lead numbers, sales from the show, and promotional ideas. What works and what doesn’t work.

In the end, you have to decide based on your own experience. Sometimes the show would have been better if only you had done this or that. That’s fine. You’ll make the adjustment next year.

6. Walk the Show and Talk to Competitors, Suppliers, and Potential Partners

It’s tempting to just hang out in your booth. After all, it’s safe and comfortable. But trade shows are two way streets. Potential customers are there to learn and discover new products, services, and suppliers. You’re there to work with those customers . . . but you’re also there to learn and discover as well. Every show is an opportunity to improve your “game.” What are your competitors showing? What are they saying? Are there any new products or services which would benefit your company? Are there trends you’ve overlooked and need to study and implement?

No one is asking you to spy, but friendly conversation goes a long way with friends and foes alike. It’s all in your attitude and your approach. Don’t be afraid to say “Hello!” and ask how the show is going.

Tips for Converting Trade Show Visitors to Clients

Attending trade shows is a great way to network, gain more visibility and meet potential customers. Whether you’re a seasoned trade show vet or starting trade show marketing for the first time, you’re likely contemplating how to turn more of your visitors into paying customers. The following tips will help you learn how to effectively show off your business and attract visitors who are more likely to convert to long-lasting clients.

Show placement

Research has shown that people are more likely to remember the first and last words when trying to recall a group of names or items they’ve been given. Therefore, if your booth is positioned near the entrance or exit they may be more likely to remember your company after the dust from the show has settled. If you’re able to choose your location, this can give you an immediate leg up and help you make a great first (or last) impression.

Identify your ideal customers and invite them

If you have a contact list of potential clients, send them a professional email letting them know you’ll have a booth at an upcoming show and would love for them to stop by to see what you can offer them. An incentive for the first 10-50 visiting customers such as a promotional item or discount can be a great way to draw people in early, as well as help insure you receive some immediate business following the show.

Have a well-trained, friendly employees staffing your booth

No matter how great your product, the perception of your company can easily be ruined by a cold, inexperienced or unconfident employee. Make sure your staff is prepared, well rested, and ready to address any questions your prospective clients might have. People are much more likely to remember your company if they left your booth feeling like their time was valued and their questions answered. Don’t let a inexperienced staff ruin your image! Bring only the best to represent your company.

A Welcoming and Interactive Booth

Keep your decorations simple, informative and eye-catching. Clean surfaces, easy-to-read graphics, good lighting and a few plants can go a long way in creating an inviting space for your visitors. Choose colors that match the mood you’d like to convey. Appropriate sizing is another important factor to consider. You’ll need room to display product, have presentations, conduct meetings or all of the above while maintaining a comfortable flow within your space. Sometimes the best way to make a sale is to let your product speak for itself. Give your visitors time to explore the product while you supervise and answer their questions.

Follow up after the show

You can request email addresses during the trade show then send your visitors an email or two afterward to remind them about your product. You could create a survey requesting their feedback on their experience which could act both as a followup and a way for you to gain valuable information to use at future shows. Just make sure you don’t send them emails that could be mistaken for spam! If the show was small enough and the number of potential clients isn’t overwhelming, consider personalizing your emails a bit. There’s a reason that trade shows are still around in our increasingly digital world. People value human face-to-face interaction and personal connections. Make sure your prospective client knows that you still value them after the show is over!