They always tell you what to do at exhibitions. What about what not to?

Exhibitions are all about careful planning and hard work. And of course, there’s money involved. So, there’s a lot at stake. Not to worry though, if things go well, you can achieve a great ROI and then the exhibitions would be worth their salt. But what if they don’t? What if you commit a mistake or even worse, a blunder that costs you dearly? Would you still be successful at the exhibitions you participate in? Sadly no. Here’s what could go wrong:

You exhibit at the wrong show(s)

It’s not uncommon for a business to blindly follow the competitors or step into their shoes – so if they participate in an exhibition, you should too, right? No. Absolutely not. You should have your own reasons of booking a stand – your target audience, the media houses you have been trying hard to get to notice you, anything and everything, but not because somebody else did it. And it’s not just about competition, you just can’t be everywhere – you shouldn’t be. Do some homework, before you dive in with your chequebook.

You don’t solve the puzzle

People who attend exhibitions are interested in finding the possible solutions to their problems and the challenges they face at their own companies (B2B). If your stand is all about who you are and what you do, they won’t give two hoots – as simple as that. Coming up with a generic poster or pop-up stand, one that’s far from painting a clear picture, would be the final nail in the coffin. You need to be empathetic, or at least act like it. Show them you care and that your products and offerings are in complete sync with what they are looking for. Make it all about them; take the back seat.

You are too pushy about sales

Not being patient could be your biggest pitfall. Exhibitions are not about sales; those who succeed are out to there to capture leads, and not necessarily close the deal(s). You must do the same. On-site sales are good, agreed, but if they don’t come your way, don’t fret. Capture as many leads as possible and build a database. Shift your focus to getting a good lead retrieval system instead, but just don’t push. Nurture the leads first, and do the selling later.

Your marketing literature is a joke

The product content that you are proudly handing out to the visitors may pique your interest, but not theirs – they want a lot more – at least those who understand the dynamics do – they are on the lookout for case studies, testimonials and more importantly, the pricing information. With these missing from the table, your marketing material is dead as a doornail. Also, not having enough material is a sure shot way of warding off the visitors. As such you may not be able to talk to all of them and on top of that, if they have to walk away empty-handed, you are on your own.

You want them to make a detour

In-booth huddles may seem like a great source of motivation to you and your staff, but to the visitors, they make your stand look uninviting – they don’t feel like interfering. And if your staff is giving the restaurant or cafeteria a miss and rather eating right there, at the booth, the visitors would get the hint; you want them to come back later. They won’t.

Lack of promotion could also lower your chances of making it big at the exhibitions. Spread the word. And yes, once you have the leads with you, follow up, don’t watch them grow old. Learn from your mistakes, don’t keep on repeating them!

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