Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Orchestrating a Successful Exhibition – The Art of Conducting It Right (Part 2)

Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance

After having answered the fundamental questions about your reasons for the exhibition (Purpose for participation), and having conducted the necessary Pre-exhibition preparations, both discussed in part 1 of this series of blog posts, we will now move to the next phase of planning a successful exhibition.

How to attract visitors and attention to your stand
An eye-catching and impressive booth attracts attention and visitors quickly. Similar to visiting a website, you have only seconds to impress and attract passersby, therefore, it is very crucial that you think creatively about how to garner the much needed attention. Setting up a display of various products and materials, having a demonstration of video clips or how your products works, or employing a clean and clear design best tailored for your audience, you can be sure that these are all critical factors that can bring you well-earned attention.

credit: www.digitalmarketingphilippines.com
Listed below are some methods that will enable you to achieve that:
•  Decide on a suitable stand construction (open space versus shell scheme)
•  Customize the design and branding of your booth (as opposed to using roll up posters and pop ups) and use stand illuminations
•  Provide a unique demonstration of exactly how your product works
•  Make use of (free) advertisement in the exhibition catalog/newspaper, event website, event guide
•  Offer branded giveaways suitable for your target audience and for the different level of visitors
•  Offer visitors warm and cold drinks and make arrangements for daily Happy Hour
•  Organize a raffle or competition (great opportunity to collect business cards)
•  Invite industry experts or branch specialists to your booth as guest speakers
•  Hand out invitations to your booth among your prospects
•  Wear branded and unified clothing

•  Ensure that while designing your booth, you take into consideration important factors like meeting space and proper seating arrangements 
•  Keep an adequate supply of well-presented collateral, promotional materials and business cards in your stand and in the show press office
•  Keep the booth clean at all times (without dust, fingerprints and used coffee cups)

Exhibition Stand Staff Training
80% of the success rate of an exhibition is largely dependent on the performance of the stand staff during the exhibition as they are the company ambassadors, and are a key ingredient to having a successful show.

credit: www.peacemakers.org.uk
You only have one shot to make an impression on your prospects. After engagement with your staff you want them to walk away from the booth completely impressed by your professional team, with a strong conviction that you can deliver what they need, and that you possess the right team to support them. Consequently, you need to invest time in the training and development of your staff’s skills so as to empower them for the task ahead.

Sales people do not necessarily need to be your stand staff, as an exhibition offers a unique environment in which the visitors tend and should to do most of the talking as opposed to the typical selling experience which sales people are accustomed to. Ensure that you choose your stand staff wisely.

Whatever staff you decide to recruit for the exhibition, inform them of your reasons for the exhibition at the event, your objectives, their duties and responsibilities, and how they are expected to function. 

In order to avoid valuable time wastage on irrelevant or unimportant prospects for your business on the part of your stand staff, teach them to ask influential questions that enable them to engage, qualify, present and close within a predetermined length of time.

A motivated, well-trained team goes the extra mile to distinguish your company. At those booth stands where unprepared and non-enthused staff is  present, they will sit down at their stands, work on their laptops or phones, and talk to each other - it looks unprofessional and unappealing.

Ensure that your stand staff realizes that at all times they are viewed and heard everywhere. They need to comprehend that their behavior and conduct are "on display", similar to your products or services.

•  Involve only essential people at the early stage of planning your exhibition in order to set measurable goals, clear messaging and lead generation tactics
•  Conduct several pre-show planning and follow-on-progress meetings to be followed by a final briefing (including booth work schedule)
•  Organize a specific stand staff training session

Coming up next :
- During the event
- After the event

Want to learn more about successful exhibition planning? Contact me for more information at arielleadler@yahoo.comarielleadler@yahoo.com

Friday, April 17, 2015

Orchestrating a Successful Exhibition – The Art of Conducting It Right

Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance

Performing exhibitions at industry events can be a lucrative and respectable way of raising your profile, launching a new offer and generating sales leads, IF done right.

The act of conducting and managing a successful participation in exhibitions is a state-of-the-art business; standing out from the crowd, differentiating your company from competitors, deriving the expected quantity of quality leads, dealing with budget constraints and demands for demonstrable returns on investment are features which require unwavering preparations but are often disparaged.

It should be noted that these are however, an incomplete list of the tasks an exhibition planner needs to deal with.
In this series of blog posts, I will guide you through the basics of planning ahead for a successful and ROI measurable exhibition.
credit: www.business2community.com/

Purpose for participation
Exhibitions create value to stakeholders through the inducement of the behavioral patterns of the participants. If you do not expect the participants to take some kind of action after having socialized with your stand staff, then there is no value in your exhibit.
As a result of this, prior to tackling the actual planning of the exhibition, you need to ask yourself some rudimentary and essential questions:
•    Is there an actual need for an exhibiting, how necessary is it?
•    How much staff is required to engage the target audience?
•    What size of exhibition space is required to attract the target audience, display the products and hold meetings?

Once you have answered these questions and have decided to become exhibitor, the next step would be the preparatory step.  Whether you are participating in small or large exhibitions, with a small or large booth, they all involve the same basic planning, and there are no shortcuts!

•    If you are doubtful and unsure about your need to exhibit, do a careful observation of other exhibitors. If you are still uncertain, attend the exhibition venue as a visitor to learn about the event, your competitors, the market, industry trends and make new contacts

Pre-exhibition preparation
As this is a costly investment in terms of expenditure (e.g. exhibition space rental and all such related expenses as well as labor costs), it is imperative that you should be very clear and focused on what you want to achieve, and also have precise and measurable goals in mind. 

credit: www.pixshark.com

While preparing for an exhibition, special attention should be paid to:
•  The decision on the stand type and its location (taking into consideration the booth location of your competitors, and companies you would like to be in close proximity to or even be associated with)
•  Liaising with booth designers, production companies, graphic designers and printing houses
•  Opting for a prime speaking slot for your presentation, as companies utilize and recognize the power of communicating messages and expertise in a particular field via this channel
•  Planning your online and offline advertising campaign towards the event such as PRs, mailers, promotion on social media e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, as well as blog posts
•  Arranging meetings ahead of time with prospects (the decision makers), customers, journalists and analysts
•  Planning  lead generation mechanisms
•  Advancing clear messaging; in collateral, booth design and overall approach
•  Arranging hotel accommodation for participants
•  Arranging transportation of goods to venue (and back to your company)
•  Start planning well ahead of time in order not to miss deadlines, and also so you can make the most out of the event
•  Keep track of the planned budget versus actual budget expenditure on an excel sheet

Coming up next :
- How to attract visitors and attention to your stand
- Exhibition Stand Staff Training
- During the event
- After the event

Want to learn more about successful exhibition planning? Contact me for more information at arielleadler@yahoo.com