I never used to enjoy attending exhibitions. As an exhibitor, I didn't like standing behind a table trying to hand out leaflets to people who weren't really interested. As a visitor, trying to avoid exhibitors who just wanted to sell me something was always a challenge. And then I learnt a different way of doing things.
In this issue of Scribbles I'll share with you some of the tips I've picked up, to help you get more from exhibiting your business.
To watch a video about an exhibition with a difference, click here.
How NOT to Do Exhibitions
Here are a few ideas for you, to help you get more from exhibitions.
Give a talk. Many events run seminars and workshops during the day. If you're confident about speaking in public, contact the organisers and offer your services as a speaker. You'll have to plan ahead, though, because many organisers book their speakers early. We're currently booking dates for 2014!
Check out your competition. Take some time during the day to visit the other stands. See what other people are offering and see what they are doing to attract visitors to their stands. What are they saying and doing? How are they representing their businesses visually? What ideas can you 'borrow' from them?
Get interactive. Handing out leaflets or running a scrolling PowerPoint presentation won't encourage visitors to interact with you. Think about how you can demonstrate your business in a different and innovative way. What will grab the attention of passing visitors?
Donít hide behind your table. Sitting or standing behind a table puts a barrier between you and potential clients. If you can, push your table back against the wall to give you space to stand in front of it.
Package your services. When you provide a service, rather than a product, it can be difficult to demonstrate what you do. Think about how you can package what you do, to create 'products'. They make it easier for people to buy from you and easier to sell what you do. Products are also easier to display visually than services. At Appletree we now have two books that we can show off and sell.
Make it visual. Pop up banners are a great way to add colour to your stand, but keep it simple. Trying to pack everything you do onto one banner will make it really hard for visitors to read. If the banner is going to put behind a table, put the really important information on the top half.
Don't use tricks. Many businesses ask you to enter a competition to win a prize. All they are really doing is trying to get your contact details. If you want to collect business cards, so that you build up your newsletter mailing list, tell people that's what you're going to do. Take printed copies of your newsletter to show visitors what they'll be getting and tell them the benefits of subscribing to it.
Make it fun. The next time we have a stand for Appletree, we might cover the table in apples. I've seen stands covered in soft toys and lego bricks. Why not have a game that visitors can try their hand at?
Invite people to attend. When you've booked your stand at an event, tell your prospective clients that you'll be there. Invite them to bring their issues to your stand for you to solve on the day, giving them a taste of what you can do for them.
If you've been put of exhibiting because you donít like handing out leaflets, then think about how you can get more interactive. Think of ways to show what you do and how you do it, that will really grab the attention of visitors and turn them into clients.
Click here to watch a video that's full of tips.