Trade shows are complicated if you are unsure about what you are doing and can often lead to overpaying if you are not organised with your planning. If you are looking at exhibition at trade shows, ones of the key factors to figure out on your end (being the exhibitor) is to define your core goals and what you’d like to achieve by attending a particular event. This is necessary so that once you reach out to your stand designer and stand builder, they will be able to effectively offer you solutions that will help you meet those goals. We will discuss the three main trade show skills which are important to understand in order to be successful at trade shows. If you are new to the exhibition industry, this is for you!
Trade show skills #1 – Event design includes layout, budgeting and styling and they are three important factors to figure out when it comes to the design and functionality of your booth. Layout involves the spatial arrangement of certain zones you want in your stand, some examples include storage room, meeting room, product display area, lounge area etc. Find out which areas are important to you and the way you’d like your booth to operate, and this will help define where different architectural elements can be used. Budgeting involves understanding whether you have to fit this project into a certain price range. This is important because without it you could be receiving either super mediocre designs which are not appealing at all or receive high end designs which are way out of your budget and are not worth discussing.
Once you advise your stand builder about how much you have available to spend, they can propose a build which meets the best of both worlds and will help get to the final design quicker so you can move on with other things with your valuable time. Styling is the overall theme of the booth; this will invoke a certain feeling you want visitors to feel when they see and arrive at your booth. Examples can be an outdoor setting in the forest, old school rustic retro or modern and clean aesthetic – based on what your core business is about, you could integrate a complimentary theme that could perhaps position your visitors in the actual environment of where they would utilise your products or services.
Trade show skills #2 – Project management involves the coordination of logistics, scheduling and staffing – if these are not on point then it could affect the completion time of your booth and will appear unprofessional by your customers and other exhibitors (while they are relaxing, you are stressing on when your delivery will arrive so you can complete your booth set up etc). Logistics includes the movement of your stand components, products you are displaying and marketing material – usually the stand builder will look after the stand component delivery but its important for the exhibitor to understand these timeframes so they can align it to give yourself enough time to set up your products.
For larger products, these will require transportation via larger trucks which means you will need to schedule a time in the loading dock so the marshals will allow the delivery truck to enter (if no booking you will be experience delays). Check out our list of common mistakes exhibitors make to stay on top of your event. Organising the appropriate staff and providing sufficient training is critical to get right because once the event starts, your staff will be the first point of contact and you’d want to make sure they are experienced and know what to say – first impressions are everything.
Trade show skills #3 – Exhibition marketing is about ensuring you have consistent branding, communication, and sales – these are the important components that will educate your customers and provide an experience for them to remember your business. Branding is super important to keep consistent and match your business branding guidelines, if customers start seeing colours that do not match it will appear out of place and will indicate to your customers that you could be cutting corners to get things done rather than getting done consistently the first time.
When speaking to customers ensure that you are not being too aggressive or too ambiguous, this means you should converse with them as you would in a normal situation because most of the time the customer just wants some clarity about your business and if you are unable to communicate this clearly with your client it will be difficult for them to pull the plug and choose to move forward with you. The latter would scare them away and you won’t get a chance to discuss any business with them, don’t stress because we cover this with our top communication tips to help you get through it.
The same goes for your sales team, it is critical to make sure they are fully trained and understand the details of your business and how you operate as they will be representing your business on your behalf and your clients must be comfortable after speaking with them to be able to commit to a purchase.
To summarise, exhibitions are actually quite simple once you get the hang of it, but until you get to that point we would highly suggest you speak to the experts and get a heads up of what to expect if it is your first time preparing for an event. Without prior knowledge, you could get stuck right from the start where you are trying to make the right decisions that will generate the attention that you are looking to achieve at your event. The team at UCON Exhibitions have been involved in the trade show industry for several years on a daily basis so they know what they are talking about and are motivated to help you succeed at your next event.