I was recently asked to provide some advice to a friend who was considering taking a stand at an event and potentially speaking at a seminar. Here is part two of my top tips on running an exhibition stand!
Multi-day events are hard work. You can arrange to meet people after the close of the formal event each evening, but you ought also to be following up leads, writing up conversations and always ensure you are well fed and rested for the next day. Food at these events is always highly overpriced for what you get and choice varies considerably so consider taking your own supplies – especially if it’s just you on the stand!
Explore the hall
Make time to walk around the event. You can meet people off your stand too. Again, don’t leave the stand empty, it looks very unprofessional and you will miss business. Some of the other stand holders may be possible customers but remember they are not there to be sold to, they want to sell. Introduce yourself, get a card and call them back later.
Always use hooks
If you speak, make it clear and include hooks to get them to come back for more. Remember, you are not selling your services, you are getting them to recognise that they want something from you and they need to get in touch to find out more (smaller step and means they are more likely to contact you and you will be more likely to convert them 1:1)
Plant a question or two
If you can plant someone to ask a “useful” question (or two) at the end of your talk, that would help to draw out points and make you appear more interesting!
Be proactive and chase your leads
After the event, follow up the leads you got – and do it in good time, while they might remember who you are! If you have gone to the trouble of having a stall at an event and speaking there, you need to capitalise on that and take it forward afterwards. Most attendees have several people they want to follow up – make sure you are the most proactive so that yours is the approach they deal with first as there may not be a budget for more than that!
Tell the world where you are
Whether you have spoken or not, make sure you let the world know you were at the event as this is a good subject for a blog and demonstrates you are reaching out to customers in a professional and varied way. Ideally, get those who attended your stand, especially past clients, to make a comment on their social media too.
Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But always be professional! Stand up straight, don’t slope off early to lunch and don’t pack up as volumes fall towards the end. Wait until the formal end has come as other stand holders will drop by on their way out. Even if people don’t want your business themselves, they might pass your name on if you give a good impression.
Review and learn
Finally, review the event afterwards from your point of view: what did you do right/wrong, was the event what it should have been/better, would you do it again next year/ go for an alternate? Build up this sort of data so that, over time, you will find the right events, the right approaches and the right customers with less cost and resource!
I hope you find these tips useful. If you missed part one of my event tips, you can find them here.
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