It’s Friday and that means it is time for another weekend challenge. Today, I am going to talk to you about trade shows, so grab your pen and your paper and let’s get started.
So take your time. We like to write this down, because writing engages the brain. It makes it sink in more. So I’m going to give you some thoughts, for whether to exhibit at a trade show.
Now a trade show can be a full blow exhibition at, I don’t know, Old Court Axel in the UK or something like that.
It could be a chamber of commerce one, it could be just be a little seminar or something like that. It could be absolutely anywhere. But they are quite often expensive.
They were a very traditional way to do business and get yourself out and about. They aren’t so much anymore. A lot of the exhibitions are getting less and less visitors and therefore becoming more expensive for the remaining few to spread the costs.
There are easier ways there online. But for some it can still work out.
So here’s some things to consider.
#1 Is Is Right For You?
Now what I mean by that, is this — is it right for you to exhibit specifically? So it may be a good exhibition, a good show, or something to go to. But is that one specifically going to work for you?
So for instance, who is visiting? Ask the people who organize for details. What kind of people are visiting? And if they say, ‘oh I don’t know, you know 4000 people came last year.’ So like what. What type of people? Do people pay to visit? How many are exhibiting again after last time?
So look back on their website, at last year’s website, find, try and find the details, if necessary go to the Wayback machine.
Just google Wayback machine you can as if they deleted it that takes a snapshot of their last year’s one. Get a list of the exhibitors, print it off, compare it to this years.
Then, why not contact some of them? Just phone them up. And say, they are not competitors, just phone them up. I hope you won’t just say ‘Hey, I’m thinking of exhibiting. Can you tell me, what did you think last year? And do you do it every year? Why? Is it just something you do?’
You know ask them. And then, ‘Where is your stand? Is there, are there any good pictures left?’ Because the smart ones, but why in advance, when they have done this one, they book next time and they get it like half price and they get the best positions.
Positions are where traffic joins. It might not necessarily be right by the entrance because people walk in and they walk past the first one. Then they quite often, they are not ready.
It depends on what it is, if it’s one of treks couple, it might be near the ladies loose for instance, where the husband stands around dauntlessly waiting, not knowing what to do.
It might be near the food, near the café. It might be on a junction where two places cross and so you get an intersection and you get more traffic. It might not be, it might be around the edge.
But find out and ask people again if they have exhibited or phone up a couple on things, say why did you pick that place? And they might say, ‘oh I’ve always found that it’s much better there.’ just, why wouldn’t people help you.
#2 Invite Guests To Meet You
Yes. Invite people. People you know. Even place a Facebook ad. Or send an email out to your list. Say we are exhibiting at… get people to come to the exhibition and meet you there.
Clients, suppliers, your bank manager, anybody. People, you are looking to impress people. Why don’t you think you would impress your suppliers or your bank manager?
Get them to come. The more people that are at your stand, talking to you, the more popular you look, the more other people wonder what is it all about.
But it’s also, just a fantastic place to get people in one go. If they’ll all come to you, you don’t have to go visiting them one at a time. Yeah. And if you got latest things, you can tell them.
#3 Have Clear Goals and Train Your Team
This may sound obvious, but I visit lots of trade shows and recently, I am talking about this because I’ve been to a couple lately.
I’ve been to National Fire Exhibition of Fire Trade, Fire Safety Trade Exhibition . And it also sides with health and safety and the security and a couple of others.
I’ve been there and honestly, just not, loads of money spent but ah, it just kills me. But I’ve also been to a local Chamber of Commerce one in Kent. Which is well organized.
But what happens is owners of businesses delegate a bunch of staff to, you know 3 or 4 people to go. They don’t give many, any instructions. Just assume, they’ll know what to do.
These people don’t know what to do. They haven’t organized, I want to go to the loo, make sure use these, stay there or if someone has to go off, the people in the stand next door, can you just look after and give out these when people come along.
Afterwards when do they follow up, what message are you giving to people? Don’t chat to somebody for an hour, and leave other people standing there.
If someone’s standing there, while you are talking to someone, just say, ‘Excuse me one second,’ and then say it to other person, ‘I’m just going to be another 5 minutes or so. You can either wait or if you want to come, come back.
Can I take your card if you want to come back, I’ll speak to you in a sec.’ so that you give them some attention. This is, you’ve paid good money. Help your staff know what to do. And what is the message.
#4 Your Back Drop and Display
The messages must be clear. I have walked through these things and I’ve stood there, staring at a stand.
And someone on the stand would come up and said, ‘Oh, hi. Hi. Looks like you’re, we caught your eye. How can I help?’ and I said to him, ‘No, I am actually just trying to figure out what you do.’ Because it isn’t obvious. I can’t read the writing, the type, the message is down below.
They’ve taken up the whole backdrop thing and the message is down the bottom. Put the message at the top. Don’t show off with your name.
People want to know what’s in it. Why, why should they talk to you? They don’t want tons of text. You can tell them that. Give them some bullet points. Grab their attention.
#5 Be Different
You’re at an exhibition with everyone. Where everyone has one of those fishbowls type things. Oh if you put your card in and there is a bottle of champagne.
Actually Cheapskate put a bottle of sparkle and wine next to it. Put your card in and get one of these. Yeah, what if you won all of them. You’ll be like an alcoholic. But it’s the same.
People nowadays are putting cupcakes but they’ve all got cupcakes and to be honest, they are all laid out in a way, so that every cupcake that gets taken, they put another one back.
And they are all at fancy little display. It looks like you are not allowed to have any. Looks like they are not for everyone. So lot of people don’t ask, can I have a cupcake, you’re going to have loads of cupcake left at the end.
But people don’t want to eat cupcakes while they are talking to you. How does that help? Be different. How about hiring a masseuse.
A message therapist to come along with one of those chairs and give people a quick head or neck massage while you’re talking to them. Yeah, you don’t think that will be popular. Oh, yes. It will.
And that person quid pro quo, because they give out cards for their massage service. Or we’ve got a friend, a client, a good friend, who has a show shine business. London Show shine.
He goes to exhibitions and he puts up a stand and he shines shoes. When they are having their shoes shined, who would not want their shoes shined for free? They sit down and they can’t go anywhere. You talk to them, while they are having their shoes shined.
Be different. Don’t tell me that won’t stand out. Don’t tell me that won’t get attention. So just be different.
How about a better bag, they go in, they give you a white polythene bag with the name of the exhibition. Other people give out a couple of things.
Why don’t you give someone a useful bag that they will re-use? One, that a bag for life. A sizeable one that they can use again. Or a super bright color.
It’s bright orange or something like that. And tell it, and slightly bigger than the others. And when anyone goes there, say can I exchange your bag? Exchange the bag, tell them. Yeah.
Get attention and everyone thinks, oh what’s that orange bag. Why have they got the orange one?
#6 Follow Up Fast and Accurately
Ah. And same with these 2. I’ve gone up to people. I’ve talked to them, I spent ages. I’ve been very interesting in services. I’ve given my card and I’ve said, ‘yes please get in touch with me. That’s of interest.’ And no they don’t.
Because they’ve thrown it in the fish bowl for a bottle of sparkling wine, I never win. They haven’t written any notes as to who I was and to what I asked for, they haven’t followed up and sometimes might follow up a month later.
But the most common one is a, Add me to a mailing list. No. that’s illegal. That’s spam. I didn’t sign up for your mailing list. And, or some have added me to some bit of software, that gives me something that is on a 3rd party service, that I get an email, and I think what on earth is that, it says click here to fill in your profile.
I’m not doing that. No, that’s how they steal your identities. Don’t you realize what this stuff means.
If I’ve asked you, phone me up or email me as soon as you get back or give it to a PA or someone. Say here’s the list of people that wanted to be messaged.
Send them a quick email, say, ‘Fantastic to see you on stand Jon. I have made a full note of everything we discussed and as you can appreciate, very very busy, just getting back to real life. I will be in touch with you over the next week or 2 to discuss in more detail.
If you need me before that, please ring me on…’ how long would that take to send it to all the people. How long? And would that not be impressive? It would impress me because no one else does it. Ah, you can tell, I get frustrated about these things.
So before you decide to exhibit, get your ducks in a row. If you can’t do all that, don’t waste your money, don’t mess about because people, you’re just running through the numbers. S
pend the money more wisely on something else. Or go and put it on a horse’s _____.
End of rant. That’s it. That is your weekend challenge. Exhibitions can be good, if they’re local, by the way, I don’t go to big ones.
Anyway. Have a lovely weekend. Remember you can get all those notes again. This is good to give out to your staff. Just jot them down in a short format.
Have a lovely weekend. It is going to be sunny. Enjoy what’s left of the football. I will speak to you next week.