LEFT YOUR TRADE SHOW PLANNING TO THE LAST MINUTE? DON’T PANIC – FOLLOW THESE TIPS FOR A MORE EFFECTIVE SHOW

Here at Pro-Extra we’ve had a really busy week helping exhibitors and event organisers get ready for another full-on week in the exhibitions calendar. Tens of thousands of visitors will pour into Birmingham NEC, EXCEL London and Manchester Central for a whole variety of different events. So if you’re packing up your banners and leaflets with a heavy heart, thinking you’ve left it too late to really make an impact and drive the ROI from your show – don’t despair, here’s 3 things you could still do to make a huge impact on the results!

SET SMART OBJECTIVES 

Definitely one of the first things we’d recommend doing when you start planning your trade show as every decision you make afterwards will depend on what your objectives were. However, even on the morning of the event itself you can still nail down some specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely objectives that give yourself and your squad a definitive plan to work to. Whether you want to secure the contact details of 5 new high potential prospects, or meet 2 of the speakers on the schedule or agree a coffee meeting with 2 other exhibitors you might be able to do business with. Having defined targets that your squad feel accountable for and included in, will help motivate and influence their behaviour and make it some much easier to measure the return on your investment after the show closes.

BE PART OF THE CONVERSATION 

Social media is free, immediate and can even be done over a beer when you’ve finished setting up your fabulous stand! But don’t just sell your stand, be part of the conversation and the event – tweet photos of your stand squad so visitors recognise a friendly face when they approach, LinkIn with headline speakers on the conference schedule and invite them for a coffee, interact with other exhibitors, walk the floor and snap stands you really like before tweeting the exhibitors to congratulate them. Don’t just ask visitors to come to your stand, show them what they’ll be missing if they don’t!
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KNOW YOUR OPENING LINE 

At ProExTra we’re out and about at exhibitions regularly either on behalf of clients or just to learn from the people doing it really well! As we pass exhibitors we so often hear ‘Hi, how are you?’ or ‘Hi, How’s your day going?’ – to which the standard response is usually ‘Fine thanks’ as we walk on by. We know nothing more about the exhibitors service or product, they don’t know whether we’re a potential buyer. During our workshops this is quite often the lightbulb moment for many exhibitors, having spent all that time and effort on getting the stand ready, they haven’t given a seconds thought as to what to say to open a conversation with visitors – in the 5 seconds you have before they decide whether to stay or move on. So again, over that beer when the stand’s all set up, work out with your team what your opening question is going to be, relating back to your objectives, so that you can quickly establish whether this is a potential buyer of your product or service. Remember, you’re there to grow your business, you don’t have time to waste on visitors who won’t or can’t buy from you.

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FOLLOW UP & REMIND THEM WHO YOU ARE 

So our final tip was picked up from the fantastic Fleek Marketing (@Fleek_Marketing/ Fleek) at a Yorkshire Mafia event recently. The hard work really begins when the show closes but almost 90% of leads are never followed up from trade shows yet more than half of visitors buy from an exhibitor within 12 months – think how much potential business is lost?  One of the most crucial elements of planning is settng a robust process for following up on leads and putting time in the diary after the show to action it – otherwise it just gets lost in the day job once you’re back in the office. In addition to this, Fleek Marketing suggested taking a snap when your stand is at its busiest and sending this out as part of the email follow up to leads – not only will it remind visitors who you were, but a busy stand suggests lots of other visitors were interested in you too and we do like the confidence of crowds when making decisions.

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So, if your panicking that you’ve not done enough to really get your money’s worth, there’s still lots you can do to add value to your offer. More than anything enjoy it, be engaging and have some fun!

Have you got a story about your last minute panic and what you did to overcome it? Why not get in touch and we’ll share your success to help other frazzled exhibitors!

And next time, maybe start your planning a bit earlier, or give us a call to see whether we can help you!

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