Top mistakes businesses make when exhibiting at a trade show

When thinking about strumming up leads and driving sales through your business a multitude of tactics should be deployed.

One of those tactics should invariably be to exhibit at trade shows. 

Often though, businesses make mistakes (especially if it’s their first time doing a show), here’s a look at some of the biggest mistakes businesses make so that you can avoid them. 

Avoid going to trade shows that are outside of your niche

This maybe a given to most, however, many businesses make the mistake that they feel there ‘maybe’ customers that would be interested in their product or service. Trade shows are expensive and usually resource intensive which means that huge amounts of research should be carried out prior to exhibiting at a particular trade show. Find out if the show will have your target audience attending – it’s always good to contact the shows organiser to find out more and ask questions

A Poorly Designed Stand or Display

Those that have visited a trade show or exhibition before will know that there is normally an extreme variety of different Pop-Up Stands, stalls and portable display counters– all set up in different ways all with a mission to attract prospect customers.

People who see your stand will unconsciously judge whether or not you’re going to be worth opening dialogue with or if they’d want to see what you have to offer. Ensuring you have a stand that is compelling, colourful and well-co-ordinated is absolutely paramount to a stalls success.

Marketing encompasses all of the senses, sight, taste, touch, hearing and smell and here the sight component is critical. Here’s some pointers on ensuring your display stands out:

  • Have clear marketing messages and display items available for prospect customers to touch an interact with
  • Use branded colouring
  • Everything must be co-ordinated to engage customers. Make sure you think about what the USP’s are of your business and ensure you pass that message through your displays on your stand

You should seek to invest heavily in your stand. Compromising on price could mean your competitors ‘out-shine’ you at exhibitions – and well, nobody wants that!

Avoid Pushy Sales Techniques

This one’s a biggie and the truth is, we’ve all encountered a salesman pressuring us at one point in time in our lives – and the feeling you got from that, is exactly how your prospect customers will feel. Be personable to people at your stands, open up with conversation, build a good rapport and find out how you can help them. If you’re talking more than the prospect customer, chances are, you’re being too pushy. Listen to a customer and then advise them on the best possible solution you have to offer.

Attending a poorly marketed trade show

Niche exhibitions

are normally more successful than ‘general’ exhibitions as specialisations help organisers advertise the show to people within a given niche. With this being said, many exhibitions fail to live up to expectations because of poor marketing techniques by the organisers or they simply haven’t invested enough in advertising the exhibition.

Look for a trade show within your niche that has history and feedback from past exhibitors. This information is absolutely invaluable to finding an exhibition that will provide a return on your investment.

Placing barriers between your stand and your prospective leads

When designing a stand many businesses make the mistake of having too much in the way of the personnel (stands, creative, tables etc) which makes it tough for prospect customers to engage. The most exciting thing about an exhibition is human interaction and as such, your stand should be designed in a way that makes you very, very easily accessible.

Prospect customers will want to easily be able to ask questions and by having an obstacle course in the way just to speak to you will normally prevent the prospect customer from asking at all – which means, sale lost.

Failing to follow up with the leads gained at a show

Unbelievably this is a pretty big one. You carry out a successful show at a niche exhibition that you invested heavily in, garnered a list of warm leads and then not used this data when returning to the office.

The whole point of an exhibition is to drive these leads and enquiries, so ensure you have a record of all your leads and when back in the office, plan your schedule to call these leads and follow up.