Your essential guide for exhibiting at a trade show.

Taking a stand in an expo, trade show, or another business event for the first time can be nerve-wracking.

Will you recoup the cost?

Will your business get the leads it needs?

Will you be able to present the professional image you’d like to show to potential customers?

Here’s what you need to do to


Choosing the right expo or show

The choice of show depends on your industry and your potential customers.

Ask yourself these questions:

Who are your customers? Are they small businesses, large corporations, members of the public, or in a specialised field? For example, a business offering web design to SMEs would do better from an event organised by the FSB or a business-to-business show than a business offering wedding photography. In that case, a wedding fair would be a far better option.

Where are they? If they are in one geographical area, look at the trade events scheduled for that area. If they are all over the UK, look further afield. Are the high value customers you’d like in more affluent areas or cities? Concentrate your efforts on events there.


The art of booking the right stand

It’s all about location, location, location…and the best location for you depends on your type of business.

Did you know that when people go into an expo, they invariably look first at the right side of the aisle?

If seminars are a key selling-point of the show, try to get a location along the main route to seminar rooms. You will find the highest footfall there.

Interestingly, stands too near food areas, bathrooms, exits, and entrances may suffer as people loiter in front of them – meaning genuine prospects may miss you.

Ends of rows and corner spaces are also highly sought-after areas. If you have a business where you can demonstrate products, corner areas are excellent places where people can linger for a few minutes.

Try to avoid being next to your major competitors and stands with loud PAs.

If you can’t get the plot you’d like, think about whether it’s worth exhibiting at all – could you go free there as a visitor?

It may also be worth investigating shows where you can lock out the competition.


What to put on your stand

The first thing visitors will see is your visual branding. Make sure it’s consistent and impactful – and appropriate to your brand.

Make sure it’s large enough to be seen, it’s lit well, and it must say what you do. Don’t confuse people!

Ensure your stand is tidy and uncluttered and focused on how your business is different – how it answers your customers’ problems.

You’ll need brochures or flyers for people to take away, and promotional items should be appropriate to your business. Think about how your leads would use them.

Group products intelligently in your display, batching items which are used together.

Appealing to the senses also makes you more memorable. Give them something to smell or taste.

How to get leads

Make sure all staff on the stall are dressed appropriately and are welcoming and friendly. There’s nothing more off-putting than a stand where people look bored!

Offer something like a competition or giveaway which will make people stop for a minute or two. Gathering business cards for entries is a great opportunity to have an informal chat.

Don’t pounce on people. Engage them in polite conversation about what they do. Ask questions about them. Then, ask a simple question: “Is there anything we can do to help you?”

As you chat, you’ll get a feeling for whether the person is a prospect or a window-shopper. Never forget, though, they might need what you’re selling in the future even if they don’t now. Don’t dismiss anyone.

If you need to move on, offer them some literature and wish them a good visit.

If you have a hot prospect, get cover and go for a coffee there and then. If that’s not possible, suggest a future meeting.


The follow-up – and why it’s so important…

Ensure you have standard contact messages prepared before the show. Email them out within 48 hours if possible.

Keep a note of your leads and who is assigned to deal with them. Use your CRM or whiteboard to track them. We know that it can take more than a dozen touch-points to make a sale so without the follow-through, your trade show will not give you the business you need.

We hope you have found this useful. If so, why not book in your FREE 30 minute discovery call worth £97 and start getting to where you want to be.