1. Practice setting up your stand at home or work before the event. 

First off, find out how big your area at the show is going to be. At some events the area given may be a little vague and you may be able to spread a little, but at other shows, especially at events using a shell scheme, your space will be an exact measurement and you will be required to stay within the designated space.

This can catch people out, especially if you turn up at a shell scheme event and expect to spread out like you would at a table top event. They are not the same. If you have booked a 2 x 3 mtr space, you will get a 2mtr x 3mtr space and will need to stay within that area.

That’s one of the reasons it’s a great idea to mark out the exact area in your kitchen, living room or work space with some tape and set up your stand, this is also a great way to iron out any problems that you encounter before the event.

2. Give yourself plenty of time to set up 

Find out from the organiser what time you can get in to the venue and get there as early as possible, things go wrong, if something breaks or you need a bulb or something isn’t quite as you expected, if you give yourself time, you’ll be able to nip out and buy what you need. 

If you’ve practised setting up at home, you’ll have a good idea of the time it will take but you just don’t need the stress of having to rush because something went wrong and now you’re up against time. 

Set up the day before, if possible, smaller wedding fayres won’t allow this but many bigger events will not only allow this, but encourage it.  

3. Make sure it’s obvious what product or service it is you provide 

Just because you know what you do, or to you it seems obvious what you do, doesn’t mean a visitor to your stand will. Make it obvious to your visitors what it is you do or are offering. Remember you are competing for time from your visitors with everyone and if someone doesn’t understand instantly what you do, they will walk away.

4. Don’t just stand there giving out leaflets.

Classic mistake this, see it all the time. Exhibitors stand within their stand and simply give out a leaflet about their business. The bride or groom gives it a customary glance over before stuffing it into their bag with the other 99 leaflets they’ve been given. 

You may think it’s a great ice breaker, or a way to attract visitors to your stand, but it’s not. Yes, you will get some people to stop and ask you a question about your business, but there are so many better ways to do this. Your leaflet is a parting gift given to use as further information, to cover and remind your visitor about your business and the products and services you provide.

Giving a leaflet away at the start of a meeting diverts a person’s attention away from your stand and will more often than not encourage people to carry on walking past your stand thinking they have all the information they need in your leaflet.

5.   Process your visitors 

Try and have a game plan going into the show; I’ll go into more depth about how to do this in a future post but your goal should be to process and gather as many good solid leads as possible in the day. 

Establish quickly that they need or want your service or product, no point wasting time talking to someone who has already booked your service/ product. Then try and establish whether they are a good fit for your product, budget, geography, style etc… 

And if they are a good fit…

6.    Offer something of value in exchange for their contact details 

This should be your ultimate goal of any exhibition you do. Your stand attracts, you’ve found a great potential customer that you would like to work with, now all you need to do is turn them into a paying customer. 

Now, you could try and convert them at the show and continue the conversation in the small hours, but this often doesn’t work and in any case takes up far too much of your time.

No, instead offer your visitor something of value in exchange for their contact details. 

Ideally, offer to send them your full information pack which will tell them everything they need to know and will include a small gift.

Remember this is a much easier step for the person, a small commitment on their part and if a person is prepared to give you their Name and POSTAL address, he or she is very interested in what you have to offer. 

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