September 27, 2012

How to enhance your presence and results at exhibitions and business events

Business shows and events are great places to meet new businesses, suppliers,  potential clients and get to know more about your competitors’ products and services.  It is a positive mix of curious visitors and people wanting to do genuine business.

How can you ensure you make the most of your time and money at exhibitions?

Having been to many exhibitions and also organized and been an exhibitor, I have learnt a lot about what it takes to succeed and how easy it is to fall short of making the most of a great opportunity.

By using these easy to follow steps, exhibitors can be better planned, better prepared and better resourced and better able to pick up on opportunities on the day and after the show.

As an exhibitor you’ll need to go through the whole event planning process and post-event follow up. That takes the guesswork out.

I am sure you agree that it’s important that you give yourself every opportunity to ensure you get a good return on your investment of time, resources and staff. It may be that you could do with some additional assistance from a virtual assistant service like ours too.

Here is an overview about what to do:-

  1. Define your objectives and therefore focus your efforts – this will help you be clear and focused, saving you time.
  2. Define your primary reasons for exhibiting – which might include raising awareness of your business in a given geographic location or industry sector, collecting leads for follow up, or to generate a mailing list, or direct sales.
  3. By having clear objectives you can quantify the results you want, and that in turn gets you thinking about the budget you are prepared to spend – which means you spend efficiently and wisely.
  4. Make sure the practical tools are there on the day – so you are fully resourced.
  5. Create an intelligent database (don’t just collect business cards) – so that you can target mailings to specific needs. And therefore  think about the quality of lead – that increases the chance to close sales afterwards.
  6. Decide about the kind of presence you want. And it will be quite different depending on your objectives. The people staffing the stand should always be those best placed to handle enquiries; such as you PR team, or technicians depending on the audience. That will maximize your credibility, and your staff resourcing.
  7. Think through how you will follow up these leads.
  8. Make an impact, for example by designing a stand that attracts visitors to approach you.
  9. Think about producing literature with messages targeted to the visitors you expect, maybe even including special offers or deals exclusive to the exhibition. That way visitors are more likely to read, and are more likely to respond.

These steps will give you a return on your investment as an exhibitor.