Planning your business exhibition stand

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Having a stand at a business exhibition can generate is an important investment and worth planning. These 17 proven ideas on how to plan your business exhibition stand, so you’re successful, will help you.

Why a go to a business exhibition?

  1. 75% of visitors (on average) to a business exhibition are there to buy, or plan to buy, in the future.
  2. Exhibiting can be a very cost-effective way of getting your products and services in front of potential customers.
  3. Having a stand at a business exhibition is the best way you to interact with prospects, using all their five senses.

Related ‘expo’ articles

This article is all about running a successful stand at your business expo. There are some other important elements, as well as planning your stand.

Getting your business exhibition stand ready

build in as many of the 5 senses as you can

  • Objectives: Be clear on why you are exhibiting and what you want to achieve. Have some specific, measurable targets (e.g. get 200 qualified leads, or conduct 50 research interviews).
  • Design your stand to help deliver your objectives. It’s worth having somebody to help here! Design it so it has opportunities to be interactive with visitors, ensure you have plenty of colourful material, use as many of the 5 senses as you can. Your branding needs to be clear, to help remind visitors when you follow up. Having an interactive and interesting stand doesn’t mean just putting out more leaflets!
  • Organiser: Have one person in charge of getting everything ready (if that’s not you, so much the better). That person needs to understand your objectives, feel supported by you, and has the time to do the job properly.
  • Entertainment: Anything you can do which attracts people to your stand, or just to the front of it is good. I’m not thinking of a troupe of dancers, but something to slow down people passing by, so you can talk to them. For example, hire a local magician to grab people’s attention and hook them in. Then you can work your own magic.
  • Competitions: Some type of competition is important t as a way of gathering visitor data. A nice bottle of wine is one thing (may overdone and boring) but giving away your own products or services creates interest in your company.

Planning the day

  • Data capture: It’s important to capture details of interested parties, so you can follow up. You might get contact details in exchange for a free gift, or maybe just a as a result of your good discussion. But plan how you can do it, smoothly, so you can follow up quickly afterwards.
  • People: It’s tiring, you will be on your feet all day and you need to be fresh enough to greet every visitor like the first. Have you got a team, if so bring them in. If not, who could you use, even if just for break times (spouse, colleague from another business, networking contact)?
  • Plan your break periods, to stay fresh.
  • Training: You, and everybody else on the stand needs to know what to do. How are you going to train them and what will you want them doing for the few minutes when it’s quiet? 80% of expo success is down to the people on the stand!

80% of expo success is down to the people on the stand!

  • Have a rota: Everyone needs to know what they should be doing/ when.
  • Paying less for your stand. Who else might benefit from your captured data, or from having some PR on the stand? If you can get somebody else to take some of the costs, it can make a lot of difference. What non-competitive company owners do you know that would love to get hot sales leads without the effort of generating them.
  • Have a stand checklist: You spent ages thinking about everything you’ll be taking. Get it on a checklist, tick it off before leaving the office, and tick it off as you pack everything away at the end of the day.

Planning the follow up

Unless you follow up, there’s no point in having the stand.

  • Follow up: Plan your follow up before the event, you’ll be knackered afterwards. If you’re using an email(s), write them beforehand. Set time aside for phone calls, don’t just have a day full of clients and hope to fit in the follow ups. Knowing how you will classify your leads, will make follow up much easier.
  • Debrief: The next day have debrief with the team. Identify what went well and what didn’t.
  • Information: How will you use all the information you have gathered (feedback from visitors, potential client names, things that worked well/ didn’t, competitor information, etc.)

Your business exhibition checklist

Sometimes things don’t go as smoothly as you might hope, either you’re rushing to get ready or something goes wrong on the day. Arrive at your expo prepared! Here’s some ideas clients have found useful, what would you add?

Personal items:

  • Name Tags
  • Business Cards
  • Change of shoes
  • Spare clothes (coffee stains don’t look good)
  • Comfy clothing for afterwards
  • Plasters and paracetamol
  • Mints to keep your breath fresh
  • Small bottles of water (you’ll be talking a lot, and the water provided is often expensive)
  • Safety pins
  • Snacks

For your stand:

  • Giveaways / freebies
  • Signs and banners
  • Promotional paperwork
  • Table cloth (sometimes they’re not provided, or dirty)
  • Laptop (tablet) with presentations loaded
  • Container to collect business cards
  • Office Supplies: Pens, notepads, paper clips, tape, scissors
  • Phone charger, extension cables.
  • Blue tack (always seems to be useful)

A business exhibition can be tiring, profitable, and is a great team building method. Whatever you do, plan it first!

Written by Jon Baker. I work with small business owners who want to achieve sane success. You started your own business to be successful and improve your life, not stress it out due to pressure. I would love to discuss any of the matters in this article, feel free to email me.

 

 

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