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It’s Show Time: Top Tips for Exhibition Sales

BY Rebecca | 2 May, 2015 | no comments

Image by: United Aluminium

With thousands upon thousands of businesses advertising themselves at exhibitions every year, it is a crowded world out there – but also a lucrative one for those who get it right.  An exhibition should be treated as a unique chance not just to make sales on the spot, but to build relationships with those who could become customers years down the line.

With that in mind, it is key that you make the most of your exhibition with the right preparation, techniques, and goals for turning visitors into leads.

Message

  • Is your product something that everybody would absolutely want to buy? If not, you need to ask yourself who your target audience is, what they would be looking for as soon as they enter the exhibition hall, and what you want to get across to them.

  • With your message in mind, you need to figure out how to deliver it, and whether you want to get it to a very wide group of potential customers or a more narrowly selected one. Obviously, your exhibition stand is a very important factor, but outreach through social media and other means will raise awareness of what you have to offer long before the show begins. And remember that even those not physically present at the show may take an interest, so uploading videos of your stand and presentations can pay off.

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Delivery

  • You’ve had a long time to prepare, but you may now only have a few seconds to sell. Some studies have shown that exhibition visitors spend as little as 3 or 4 seconds making up their minds about a stall before they move on, meaning your hard work could be in vain if you can’t grab people’s attention fast enough, and deliver your message simply and clearly. Now, you obviously can’t have unicorns dancing in the aisle at all times, but creative and professional, design and staging can be a major eye-catcher as can the ever-present giveaways. And if you go with gimmicks, it is always a good idea to make them as relevant as possible.

  • Once you’ve caught people’s attention, you’re going to have to engage with them to get a lead instead of relying on them to drop their business card in a bucket or write their email address on a list. You need to make sure it is the right kind of engagement. The people working your stand will need to know enough about your product to give some convincing answers to the why, whens, wheres, and hows of buying – and know when to hand somebody over to a senior member of the staff if need be. Don’t forget to spread your time around. Instead of investing lots of time in a handful of customers to make a few sales, it can be a more effective strategy to use the time to generate as many leads as possible.

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Follow-up

  • With all the hard work that goes into preparing for and carrying out an exhibition, it is easy to forget that a lot of the real work can just be beginning when the convention centre closes its doors. Instead of waiting for people to contact you after an exhibition, the smart seller has a joined-up strategy of making sure that anybody who has shown an interest is contacted, and has a reason to remember you. Don’t forget about them either. Frequent exhibitors say it is routine for exhibition contacts to get in touch as late as 18 months after the event.  At many shows, the actual purchasing agents are a small minority among assorted executives, guests, and other window-shoppers, making the art of exhibition sales just as much about building your brand and raising people’s awareness as it is about immediate sales.

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