Advice for Exhibition Organisers
Making a Show a Success
Angels can provide you with the most
attractive and professional promotion, hospitality, reception and
demonstration staff for your exhibition stand (booth to our American
friends!). However, to make
your show a success, it takes more than just building the stand or booth and
shipping in some of your staff or hiring a selection of outsiders.
The reality is that many exhibition stand
organisers and planners are not full time professional exhibition staff.
The job is often done part time as many companies only exhibit once or
twice a year. So naturally, not all of the benefits of attending an
exhibition necessarily accrue. Most of this happens because companies
fail to brief, train and prepare their staff accordingly - or they pick
people to staff the stand or booth from a convenience point of view rather than
choosing people that will get the best out of the investment being made.
So to help you, here are some do's and
don'ts. Nothing will substitute for proper exhibition training (which
Angels can provide), but we hope this section will help to set you on
the right path.
The Background - Why are you there at all?
Having the best exhibition stand
or booth you can
afford built on the space you have booked is a great starting place. But
it is surprising how often this investment and effort is wasted when it
comes to the actual show. Research has shown that up to 75% of the
success of an exhibition stand or booth is down to the staff on the day and not
the amount of money
invested. Remember - an exhibition is a live
people-to-people sales and marketing event. It is also likely to be the
largest single item in most company's marketing budgets.
implementation is often at odds with the objectives. For example, you
may want your stand or booth to generate as many qualified sales leads as
possible. If, however, you staff the stand or booth with people who are not
enthusiastic about being there, are there because they live the closest
to the venue, are there because they were the staff that could be spared
at the time or are there because they enjoy meeting their existing
customers and contacts, you are unlikely to have the success you have
envisaged. If your chosen staff do not really want to be there and they
feel they are there because they have to be, they are also not going to
create the right impression with your customers and prospects. It is a
sad fact in the exhibitions business that this happens more often than
It is said that exhibition stands
or booths fail
not because the exhibition did not work, but because the exhibition was
not worked! So if your staff are not working to full effect to a well
thought out brief, you will not be making good use of or maximising your
investment in attending the show.
How often have you heard "Well, the
number of leads were down this year, but the quality was better!".
Frankly that is often just an excuse for not having worked the show
properly and for not getting the benefits or results envisaged or
So the first thing to be really clear on
is what the objectives of the exhibition are (are you
targeting the right show?), what your objectives for your
stand are and what measurable results you expect to get. Once
you have this agreed, you can then decide what type and calibre of staff
you will need to ensure the objectives and measurable results are
achieved. Do not underestimate the power of having the right people
there! With them you can attract people to your stand, gain qualified
leads, achieve positive follow-ups and close sales.
Obviously, if you decide you need
professional, capable and attractive VIP hospitality or promotional staff to
assist in making your exhibition a success, Angels is here to help!
Angels can also provide stand or booth training and briefing for your staff prior
to the event ensuring all of your staff are up to speed with what is
expected of them and provide day-to-day assistance with stand
or booth organisation during the show.
Making it a Success
Here are some headlines to think about
when you are planning to take your company to an exhibition. (There is
much more than this to consider in the whole process from start to
finish. Angels can help you with all of the elements of planning and
executing a successful show).
Organise Your Stand
It may seem obvious, but when you are
planning the stand or booth try to keep the message that
you want to
get over really clear. Single strong themes work much better than
multiple mixed up themes. Conflicting exhibition stand or booth display signs do
not work well. Make sure that your company name and logo can be clearly
Do not build walls on your stand
or booth. Nothing
puts off potential clients more than having to overcome obstructions to
get onto your stand or booth. These can include display racks, plant pots,
furniture and the way that you arrange your demonstration areas. Make
your stand or booth as open and welcoming as you can. Make sure that your staff
do not become walls themselves!
Promote Your Stand Before the Show
It is surprising how many companies book
stand or booth space, plan and build a stand or booth and then have their staff turn
up on the opening morning of the exhibition. They completely omit to
promote their forthcoming attendance at the show to help ensure its
Companies that promote their upcoming
attendance at an exhibition to old and new customers and potential
customers alike, will reap greater rewards than those companies that
fail to do anything. If you pre-promote your exhibition attendance, you
will at least know that you will have a responsive audience when you get
There is nothing like a busy exhibition
stand or booth to attract even more attention and visitors. Pre-promotion ensures
a constant flow of traffic that has prior knowledge of your stand or
the purpose of your attendance. A mix of customers who know why they are
there because of their prior knowledge and new customers and visitors is
always a good mix to have. It promotes business.
You will find that most exhibition
organisers will have pre-event programmes/programs you can participate in. Check
them out and select the most appropriate. Make sure that you select your
targets for pre-promotion and aim your promotion directly at them -
focus your message. You can also use all sorts of media and include
internet and email. Best of all, make sure that your sales people
promote the exhibition and your stand or booth to existing customers. Don't rule
out using incentives to help get people there.
Choose Your Staff Wisely
not pick the obvious candidates - pick the best! The results will be
almost entirely dependent on your choice of staff. The most obvious
problem that occurs is the conflict between sales and marketing: the
marketing department really needs good sales people at the show to make
it work; the sales department regards exhibitions as a distraction and
does not want its sales people to be off the road.
Exhibitions are a major selling
opportunity - get your best sales people there and brief them well! Also
employ professional and talented promotional staff if your show will
benefit from having them - call Angels or see our web site section
Angels in Action to see what Angels has done for others and
what Angels can do for you.
Make sure that you pick people that can
turn potential customers into your prospective customers and have no
trouble speaking to complete strangers. Afterall, you are not just there
to see and talk to your existing customers. You are there to get new
ones and generate incremental business for your company.
For more information and tips on stand
or booth management and stand or booth staff disciplines, see
Exhibition Staff: Making a Show a Success.
Make Sure Your Staff Know Why You Are There
It might sound obvious. But its not! It
will do no harm to be really clear with your staff about your objectives
and how much the company is investing in being at the show (including
staff time and travel and all the work it took to get there prior to the
show opening day). Then be
about what results the company is expecting and how those results will
be measured. Note that exhibition leads often convert to sales much more
easily and quickly than traditional cold call sales.
You can attend for many reasons
(hopefully not just because you did last year!). Be clear about the ones
that are most important to you, for example: generate qualified leads
(also decide what a qualified lead is! - just a business card or a
complete rundown on what the customer is looking to buy and when), make
direct sales, increase corporate visibility, support awareness campaigns
for the company or new products, meet existing customers as well as new
ones or perhaps launch and demonstrate new products.
Understand Why Visitors Are There
People who attend exhibitions are there
for a reason: to get information, to be informed, to be educated, to
choose products and a host of other reasons. You are basically there to
sell to them. Much like your company, they have invested time and effort
to be there.
You should make sure that you qualify
them when they appear on your stand or booth and understand why they are there.
Then have a well thought out plan on how to deal with the different
types of visitor you are going to get. They will not all be people you
can sell to - you will need to sort them out. They will be a mixture,
for example, of decision makes, recommenders and product or service
influencers. You should make it an objective to find out which they are
as soon as possible.
Something of a surprise to a lot of
companies is that many senior executives from the companies that they
sell to show up at exhibitions. You may have had a hard time getting to
them in their offices - now they are right in front of you! Another good
reason to have your best sales staff there.
Promote Your Stand at the Show
Even if you have made an excellent job of
pre-show promotion, you will need to think about how your stand or booth will be
promoted to people at the show that have no prior knowledge of your
can sponsor the exhibition itself if you have the budget. But obviously,
this is out of the league of most small to medium size companies.
However, other opportunities usually abound. Consider the exhibition
catalogue given to all visitors - entries and adverts will work for you
here. Or you may be able to get your company logo on the bags that are
generally given out to all visitors at the door or entrance to the show.
Other opportunities may need the
permission of the exhibition organisers. For example, you may use
promotional staff to hand out leaflets on your stand or booth, but if you want to
have them walk around the show floor and give them out, you may need to
clear this with the organisers.
Make Sure Your Company Stands Out
This is a major opportunity to be
eye-catching. Hence the need for single powerful messages and clear and
precise displays. Avoid reams of text stuck on the walls! A single well
thought out statement is worth a thousand words. A good graphic is worth
Be inventive! You should use any means at
your disposal to highlight your company and its products and make your
customer's (and your future customers) experience enjoyable and
memorable. Here is where Angels can help again. Our exhibition and
promotional staff can give your stand or booth an identity and solicit very
positive responses from your clients. We can also hire performers of
many types to help you attract visitors and get your message across. It
does not have to be Cirque du Soleil - a close-up magician can work
wonders when your company message and product highlights are woven into
the show! Attendees will stop and watch magic happen!
Qualify and Get Leads
Buyers at exhibitions are there for a
purpose - you should make sure that you give them the time they deserve.
However, bear in mind why your company is there. You want business and
sales leads. So qualification is absolutely key. You will naturally get
your fair share of timewasters - but you will never know who is a
timewaster and who could be your best customer ever unless you
them properly and qualify them properly.
If you qualify your visitor as a suspect
or a prospect, you will need to make sure that you get all of their
information recorded accurately so that the lead can be followed up. So
make sure that you have a system for capturing leads, that everyone on
the stand or booth knows what that system is and that everyone uses it in the
same way. Do not rely on sales peoples' memories or on scraps of paper!
It is always a good idea to have a target
for sales leads for each day of the exhibition. Even consider having a
competition amongst your sales people and stand or booth staff for the highest
number of qualified leads each day. There is nothing like an
incentive to help meet your objectives.
Follow Up Aggressively
The show is over - so what next?
Obviously you will want to make sure that you get something for all of
the money and time you have invested. It is still surprising how many
companies seem to "lose" the sales leads they have worked so hard for or
they simply do not follow up on them. Many companies will have no idea
what happened to all those "hot" leads that came back from the show. Did
you really get the business you expected from the show and was it
financially worth it?
Have a system for recording the leads,
have a system for following them up and have a system for measuring the
effectiveness of the follow up and the business that came from those
prospects. It will be much easier to justify the next exhibition if you
have good history on the Return on Investment (RoI) from the previous
Exhibitions can be hard work. They always
consume far more time in organisation that you expect. They can be real
business winners if done right. They can be fun!
Remember that Angels can help you make your
exhibition a success!
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Section of the Angels® web site is
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